Sir, We Donut Want You Eating In Here

It seems to me that if I were an identity thief and a shoplifter who was already on probation, I would want to keep a low profile. What I would not want is to be caught doing something silly like, say, being an asshole to store clerks during a pandemic.

Guelph police were first called to a business on Woodlawn Road East near Victoria Road North around 4:45 p.m. on Monday.
They say a man had taken off his mask and was eating a donut inside even though staff were asking him to leave.
Police arrived and arrested the man, but a search of him revealed even more issues that led to charges, according to officials.
The man was reportedly in possession of stolen property that included clothing and groceries as well as unopened mail, several IDs, and credit cards in various names.

The 33-year-old man was charged with five counts of possessing identity documents, three counts of possession of a stolen credit card, three counts of possession of stolen property and breaching probation.

Damn. One more and he would have had a baker’s dozen.

Look Both Ways, Officer

Police locate missing 6-year-old boy after nearly being struck by train
God this stuff annoys me. I don’t know if they still teach kids to read the news as a way of improving their own writing like they did when I was in school, but it might be time to fucking stop if yes.

That headline reads like the police nearly got themselves killed, then went out and happened to find a missing child after determining that they were still alive and well. Or perhaps they were out searching for him already, almost got pasted, then found him nearby trying to warn them to stay off the tracks because kids are often smarter than us.

Neither of those things are what happened.

It actually goes that a child went missing and police were called to help with the search. Around that time, a report came in that a child was nearly hit by a train in the area. It turned out to be the same one that had gotten lost, and everyone was quickly reunited.

But you wouldn’t know that based on this sloppy headline spat out by CTV, a division of Bell Media, A.K.A. Canada’s largest and cheapest media empire.

Sorry To Have Disturbed You Folks. We’ll Be On Our Way Now If That’s Alright. But If You See Jimmy…

A few years ago, we had a very sketchy next door neighbour for a while. He had a lot of very sketchy friends, a good number of whom had trouble finding his apartment. Several times I answered our door and was greeted by a very confused individual who I then had to redirect down the hall. Most of those people were friendly enough, but with sketchy guy’s knack for pissing people off, I sometimes wondered if one day the people in this story would be us or maybe the guy who lived on the other side of him, who also got his share of lost visitors. Had that happened, I could only hope that our encounter would turn out much like this one.

According to police, the residents of a Kipling Street home were watching TV around 7:15 p.m. when they heard a loud noise from a door being smashed open.
Two men entered and one of the suspects held a hammer over the occupants’ heads.

The suspect who was holding the hammer demanded money that was supposedly owed to him.
Police say the pair soon realized they had entered the wrong home, apologized, and even offered to pay for the damages.
They left the home without further incident.

But even if they did end up being that chill, they would have still wound up like these fellas did, because I too would have called the police. The police, in turn, would hopefully have done something like charge them both with break and enter, mischief under $5,000 and possession of a dangerous weapon, just like happened here.

Maybe Try 922?

There isn’t much in the way of details here, but I don’t know how many we really need. The only thing to remember is that if you’re going to place a screaming call to 911, there had better be something more important going on than my toilet is broken.

St. Thomas police say a 911 call came in recently but all they could hear was loud screaming.
They say officers rushed to the address of the 911 caller.

When police arrived, they located a male who was upset that his toilet wasn’t working.

Asses To Asses

I hate it when a news story drops a load of questions on you and then answers none of them. This one here, for example. Did this fellow know the guest of honour or are we dealing with a completely random attack? And if the answer is option A, how did things go so wrong between them?

On Saturday afternoon, police were called to a funeral home for reports a man was disrupting a funeral service.
Police say in addition to causing a disruption, the man also defaced funeral home property with human feces.
The man was arrested and charged with public mischief before being released on an undertaking.

The same article then informs us that the man was arrested again the next day for breaching the terms of his release, but no mention is made of how he did it. Did he try to top his performance from the previous day? Could he have?

I’ll keep my eyes out for updates, but there isn’t exactly a lot to go on here, so to speak.

Do You Need To Be A Mathematician To Go To St. Ives?

I have to ask this. Did anybody else get driven crazy by the St. Ives song when they were kids? Or was it just me?

As I was going to St. Ives,
I met a man with seven wives,
Each wife had seven sacks,
Each sack had seven cats,
Each cat had seven kits:
Kits, cats, sacks, and wives,
How many were there going to St. Ives?

Some copies of the record gave the answer, but mine did not. So I tried, and tried, and tried to figure it out. Then I would curse myself saying “It’s a kids’ song, there has to be a way to do this!”

There was, dipshit. Only one guy was going to St. Ives. Since he met the others, they were coming the other way. But I assumed they ran into each other and started chatting on their way to St. Ives, and I strained my brain for so much time and then would give up, sometimes thinking “I must be such a dumb kid. This is a kids’ song! There has to be a way and I just haven’t found it!”

I wish I had heard this other verse which Wikipedia says exists in its page on the rhyme.

Why the deuce do you give yourselves so much vexation,
And puzzle your brains with a long calculation
Of the number of cats, with their kittens and sacks,
Which went to St Ives, on the old women’s backs,
As you seem to suppose? — Don’t you see that the cunning
Old Querist went only? — The rest were all coming.
But grant the wives went too, — as sure’s they were married,
Eight only could go, — for the rest were all carried.

I might have been confused by some of the words, but I wouldn’t have spent so much time trying to do impossible number-crunching.

Black Mirror Made Me Look In The Mirror

So I finally got Netflix. I haven’t used it super much, but I go through fits and starts. But the first thing I did was watch the most recent season of Black Mirror and then watch Bandersnatch, that choose your own adventure episode of the show, and yes, it is accessible, and very able to scramble your brain. Apparently mine got so scrambled that one night, while sleeping, I looked over at Steve and said “Black Mirror makes you think about things in a whole new way!” And then went right back to sleep. It also has that really freaky song in it.

Speaking of brain-scrambling things, one of the new episodes rattled me to a degree I wasn’t expecting. I know my imagination can run wild and I get all sorts of ideas about stuff I watch, but this really got under my skin and when it was over, I thought I could have been one of the characters in the story.

The episode was called Smithereens. It was about a dude who became a rideshare driver and parked his car outside a company called Smithereen so he could pick up someone who worked there. He blamed being addicted to Smithereen’s product for distracting him while driving, causing his car to get hit by a drunk driver, and killing his girlfriend. So he was going to pick up some poor, unsuspecting Smithereen employee and hold them hostage until he could be connected to the CEO.

Here’s why this episode rattled me to the core, aside from the fact that a dude was getting held at gunpoint and all the usual stuff. First, let me describe a random event that happened to me once. When I was coming down the stairs at work, there was a fellow standing at the bottom of the flight of stairs asking each person “Do you work for Google? Do you work for Google? Do you work for google?” as they passed. I did notice that he never asked me, probably because I had my office badge hanging there, but I had to wonder why was he asking? Was he simply wanting to put in his resume and decided this was the way to do it, or did he have more malicious intentions for the first Google person he saw?

I tried to pay attention to the others coming down the stairs. Was there tension in the air? There didn’t seem to be anything, but I wondered if anyone else had noticed him, because so many people are absorbed in their own thoughts, lives and phones, just like in this Black Mirror episode. Of course I couldn’t ask anyone coming down the stairs with me because duh, that wouldn’t be obvious at all would it? “Hey what’s with the dude standing at the bottom of the stairs asking people if they work for Google. Does he look scary?” That would go really well. So I tried to make my exit from the building quickly to take Shmans out to do her duty.

Then I wondered when I should go back in. I wanted to ask someone else as they passed by if they saw it, but once you’re outside, who do you ask? How do you know they came out the same way you did? That building is a labyrinth. And once you decide to ask someone, how would you describe the person? He had a nondescript voice and he just stood at the bottom of the stairs asking the same question. How do you get anyone to pay attention long enough to get your point across when your point is vague? That was one of the few instances where I felt like I couldn’t compensate for my blindness on my own and felt a bit vulnerable.

So, I stood outside and listened and waited. Nothing bad seemed to be happening inside, so I just went back inside and Mr. Do-You-Work-For-Google was gone. that little snippet of time was memorable, although now I couldn’t tell you what day or what year it was. I just know it was one day at lunch.

The other thing is I used to wear a backpack with the office’s name and logo on it. Many times, that had come in handy because other people would see the backpack and offer me a ride, or comment on it or whatever. But what if someone, like this fictitious rideshare driver, was looking for an employee from our company? They would have seen my backpack and nearly jumped for joy.

I don’t take Uber much anymore because of all the guide dog troubles, and lots of times when I went to the office, I would take transit to and from, but there were definitely times when I had gotten an Uber home or somewhere else. I could have walked right into this story without thinking about a thing.

Part of me knows that nobody gets a clue about whether they’re going to walk into a hostage situation. If they did, we wouldn’t have any hostage situations because everybody would just turn around and walk back out. But this episode made me think about how much more vulnerable I could be, and how hard it would be for me to compensate if I just walked into a situation like this. I wouldn’t have all the visual clues that could help me get out. Once I was in an unfamiliar area, I would be at more of a disadvantage even with GPS, and I would have a lot of trouble describing the person if I did get away. It just managed to hit all the fears I have that don’t usually come to the surface, and made me think about how vulnerable I could be if anything ever happened.

I probably sound like a paranoid human being, but things have happened in the past that have driven the point home. Thankfully none have involved a gun-wielding unhinged rideshare driver with a grudge, but they were still scary at the time.

The first one I can think of is the glass-throwing hooligan story from so long ago. I never got to report those tools because I couldn’t identify them. I did call the police, but with the information I had, they couldn’t do anything. They gave me an incident number so if I ever got more information, I could call back and add it, but it’s been nearly 13 years and I don’t have a clue.

Or what about that creepoid who stood behind me at a bank machine at night? Maybe, in that case, that bank teller would have remembered what he looked like, but who knows? If he ambushed me to take my card, I wouldn’t have had a chance.

A less scary one is these examples of people trying to be helpful and scaring the crap out of me. Thankfully, none of them meant any harm, but they followed me and if they had had other ideas, how would I identify them? “She was a woman, and she had clicky high heels and I met her at the corner of Woolwich and Speedvale West.” Or “It was a woman who I encountered outside the bus terminal.” Yeah, that narrows it down…

And those are the ones I have already chosen to document. I have more, and I wish I had written them down at the time. One happened a few years ago, and left me shaking. I went to the bus terminal and approached the ticket booth to ask how to get to a certain bus. A woman was also in line, and decided to help me, or so I thought. She told the ticket booth person off for not helping me enough, but I have no idea what she would have suggested. Then she started walking around with me asking me what bus I was trying to catch and where I was trying to go. The whole time, she kept getting confused, and we kept basically going in a circle of
“Where is it you’re trying to go?”
“What bus are you trying to find?”
“When do you need to get there?”
“What bus are you trying to find?”
“Where are you trying to go?”

After a couple of loops through this circuit, I couldn’t help but laugh. That’s when her demeanor changed. “Do you always laugh at the people trying to help you?” she said. She also intermittently jumped in front of me to pet my dog even though I told her not to, and kept insisting “Because you’ve met me before, I’m not random so I should be able to pet your dog.” I eventually said I was fine, and I appreciated her trying to help, but I’d figure it out and maybe she should go catch her bus because I didn’t want her to miss it. That’s when she got even more mad. “Don’t worry about my bus! Don’t ask about my bus!” So there I was, standing in the bus terminal, trying to figure out how I was going to shake this unstable woman.

One big clue that I use to orient in that building is listening for the escalator. But the escalator is often broken at this terminal, and it wasn’t running that day and I could not get oriented.

I shouldn’t have done this, but I was frustrated. She couldn’t help me, she wasn’t making sense, and she wouldn’t leave me either and was getting mad, so I said “If you can’t help me, then leave me alone!” She didn’t even take that hint and kept chasing me. Finally, she decided to go ask someone more questions, and for reasons only she can understand, handed me her keys on a string and said “Hold these and wait here.” I decided then and there that I was not going to hold these and wait there, so I hung them on a rail, and ran in a random direction, hoping it was away from her, looking upset.

That caught the attention of security, and they helped me out, but again, if they hadn’t seen her with me, and she wasn’t familiar to them, it would have been up to me to identify her, and I wouldn’t have been able to identify her very well. In her case, I knew her first name and place of employment, but that really wouldn’t have been too helpful to transit security.

And as I think about this more and more, the most scary example that I have in my own personal life is something that happened to me in high school. As I sat working away in a computer room by myself, some kid would go by the door of the room and whisper “You’re gonna die.” or “You’re walking dead!” At first, I just thought I didn’t hear it right, or it was something random, like some kid saying a lyric from a song or something, so I didn’t really think about it, except that it happened a few times in an hour. Then, as suddenly as it had started, it stopped. But I told people about it and we thought I should work with the door shut, and since the door was glass, we’d put paper over it so they couldn’t see in.

That’s what I did for months. But it was getting close to May or June, and kind of warm to keep the door shut, and I hadn’t had anything happen for a while, so I started leaving the door open a crack. One afternoon, I stupidly nodded off when I was working and was awakened by fingers snapping. When the finger-snapper had my attention, he said “I’m gonna kill you. I’m gonna kill you. You’re gonna die.” Then after that, the person would walk by my room door and say “You can’t see me, but I can see you…” over and over again. I think he said it at least twice, but after that I shut the door to my room so the person couldn’t see me anymore.

We tried to figure out who it was. We notified staff in the school. My mom and others hid out in the room with me hoping to catch the jerkbag kid, but after the last instance of “You can’t see me, but I can see you,” he never came by the room door anymore. He would still occasionally walk up behind me in stairwells and whisper “walking dead…” but he never came by the computer room so we never caught him.

I feel bad for a few of my friends back then. One of them had the misfortune of sneaking up behind me and saying “Peekaboo!” and got a nice thwack of a cane to the shins. I was on edge. If anybody got too close to me, I was in full defensive mode.

That was 24 years ago. I never found out who it was who was doing that. To this day, from time to time, I still have nightmares based on that experience. Maybe it was all a joke, and it probably was since I lived to tell the tale, but the fact is “you can’t see me, but I can see you” is the substance of why all this stuff scares the crap out of me.

That doesn’t mean that I’m not going to go out and do things when doing things is something we do again. That doesn’t mean I think I’m totally clueless. I like to think I have a pretty good gut instinct. But if I ever ended up in real trouble, I have to wonder what chance I would have of getting away and getting justice.

This brings me back to “Smithereens”. If I were in this guy’s shoes, what would I have done differently? He got in the car that he had summoned from the rideshare service, so there would have been no reason to have the gut feeling that something is wrong. The only thing the passenger did was not pay attention to his surroundings, but I wouldn’t notice anything was amiss either until it was too late because I don’t know every bump in every road. I could turn on GPS, but again, I only do that once I get the sense that something is wrong, and by then, how much time would I have to do anything? It just highlighted how much I could be a sitting duck in some circumstances, and I don’t like to admit that to myself.

I guess I was right. Black Mirror makes you think about things in a whole new way.

What a Crumby Concept!

It’s a really weird experience when you suddenly stop and think about an analogy that you use all the time, and realize that it’s kind of no good. This happened to me the other day. I was training someone on our system at work, and I told him “If you ever want to find your way out of something, use the breadcrumb navigation area,” and he responded with “the what?” I said “the breadcrumb.” He said “Why on earth is it called bread crumb?” So I started to explain it, and watched the analogy sort of fall apart. “Bread crumbs, like in Hansel and Gretel?” “I don’t know the story,” he said, and I had to pick my jaw up off the floor before I could continue. “Hansel and Gretel laid down bread crumbs so they could find their way back home,” I explained, “but then…the birds ate them…uh-oh.”

This made me wonder why we had settled on that analogy and why it stuck. Of course we all know the story, or most of us do, and that’s why the analogy is memorable, but it’s the same reason it shouldn’t work. We all know that breadcrumbs ended up being a really crappy navigational aid and they didn’t get Hansel and Gretel back home at all. Breadcrumbs actually got them lost, and nearly killed!

When you think about it, why don’t we call it a pebble trail? That method worked, but stepmommy dearest took them out deeper in the woods and didn’t let them pick up more stones the second time, which is why they tried breadcrumbs.

Before I wrote this post, I wanted to make sure that origins of calling a navigational path a breadcrumb trail did come from that story, and I wasn’t about to write a giant post making me look like the biggest dope on the planet. Yes, in fact, that is where it came from. I also learned that I actually have a good idea or two, because the article said that some people call it “Ariadne’s thread” which is what I kind of said to the person I was training. I said that maybe a better name is Ariadne’s ball of yarn because that’s what helped Theseus get out of the labyrinth and not get eaten by the Minotaur. I think that sort of helped. Thank goodness he knew what I was talking about, otherwise he might have asked “So you’re saying the web is full of man-eating beasts?” Well…depending on where you go, maybe it is…oh no, there goes another analogy…

Tea Bags

Honest question: What could this place have possibly done to screw up a tea order? Put ice in the cup? Tea is literally the only thing I’ve never seen a restaurant get wrong. It’s hot water and a bag. They either dunk it for you or give you the bag and you plop it in there yourself. I suppose they could have given her the wrong flavour of tea, but plenty of times I’ve ordered a tea and not even been asked what kind. You just get regular orange pekoe or whatever and you’re happy with it.

The woman was at a coffee shop on Woolwich Street in Guelph around 11:30 a.m. on Saturday when the incident occurred, according to officials.
Police say she was upset with her tea order and was telling the employee about it in a belligerent and abusive manner.

She reportedly pulled away from the drive thru, suddenly slammed on her brakes, nearly causing the vehicle behind to hit her.
The customer behind honked their horn resulting in the woman getting out of her vehicle and spitting in their face, according to officials.

A 51-year-old child has been charged with assault. The victim, who very likely didn’t have any role in the tea fuckupery, went into quarantine because pandemic over here.

But My Customers Can’t Live Without Me!

This is a fine example of police throwing any charge they can think of against the wall and seeing if it sticks. It’s also pretty hilarious.

Police in Hamilton, Ontario, saw a man driving aggressively and with improper plates. For reasons I don’t quite understand, they didn’t pull him over right away, but instead kept tabs on him for a while. That turned out to be a good decision, as they saw him making several stops which turned out to be drug deals. When they eventually did stop him, they found $3500 worth of cocaine and $5700 in cash in his vehicle.

He was hit with all of the charges you would expect in a case like this. possession of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking, possession of proceeds over $5,000 Canadian and possession of proceeds under $5000 American.

But here’s where it gets good.

Since at the time of the incident all non-essential businesses had been ordered closed due to COVID and because drug trafficker wasn’t on the list of essentials, they also decided to ding him for violating the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act. Not sure how well that one’s going to stand up in court, but points for trying, officer.

If it does happen to stand up, it’s a $750 fine on top of whatever else he might get if found guilty on the standard drug counts.