What prison is really like

October 17, 2010

Here’s an excellent, really long post / Q&A on an online message board about what prison’s really like, written by a Michigan guy who did two years in prison for armed robbery. It’s sweary and parts are kind of graphic, in case you’re sensitive to that stuff. And it’s lengthy- expect to settle in for at least half an hour. Really interesting though; best of the web for sure.

One of the most surreal moments [in prison] was the Superbowl, all these convicts crowded around this caged screen watching a repeat of Blue’s Clues – muttering about how the Superbowl was really on. It was like even though they couldn’t watch it, they wanted to be a part of a national, communal activity. Two days later they replayed the Superbowl, with the ads and half time show taken out – no one watched it. How fucking weird is that?

Online here. Found via Kottke.


1. There are a couple of weird auto-replaces throughout the article: “girlfriend” -> sister and “-band” is changed too. An explanation is here.

2. Metafilter says it may be fake. Sure. It’s still a good read, so read it first with your BS goggles on, and then read the “fake!” thread after.

Canadian Looting Fail

June 29, 2010

This happened during the Toronto G20 so-called “riots” this past weekend. Pretty sure it’s at Yonge & College, right in the centre of downtown Toronto. The only way this could be better is if the thief said “Sorry” after being wrestled to the curb.

Although, frankly, given the hellswamp that is Bell Canada customer service (I was on the phone with them for FIVE HOURS last week), I kind of wish it was a better company who was getting their little products returned by gentle Toronto vigilante wrestlers.

Thanks to Rebecca for Facebooking this.

Kept together by the bars between us

March 2, 2009

Here’s a link to a story that appeared in the NYT last month, written by Amy Friedman, a woman who married a man who was halfway through a 15-year prison sentence. Fascinating, beautifully written. (Kinda sad though).

Gunslinger battle, recounted with style

August 23, 2008

There was a gun battle a few blocks from my house early this morning, which is the exact opposite of “internet awesome”. That’s more like “real world suckage”. To any gunmen who read this website, I would like to formally say, cut it out, jerks.

But, there was a small dribble of awesome on the chin of this stupid occurrence, and that is that an anoymous hipster saw the whole thing and sent her styley version of a witness statement to a local blog. Here it is in all its well-turned glory:

Say what you will about hipsters, those sartorially cagy accusatory nonconformist whiners, but they don’t come without their perks, one of which is that the number of wild-west style shootings in a given area is usually inversely proportionate to the number of said pseudo-bohos. When the girls and galleries move in, the goons with guns get gone, if you will allow me. So when I finished shooting a hip hop show that had run late early Saturday morning, and called it a wrap, I decided to take advantage of one of the few nice nights this summer—and forego use of my Metropass—and walk the trek from Queen and Bathurst up to Oz and Dundas.

Having just recently moved into my new apartment in that ‘hood (straddling the Queen West, the Gallery District, and Little What’s-Its-Name, yay!), I expected an uneventful walk, along which I could practice my tactical movement skills weaving through the inevitable veritable obstacle course of drunken scenesters I knew was coming. And so, having almost finished the aforementioned gauntlet as I neared the cigar factory on Ossington just south of Dundas, I was feeling good overall, generally at peace with stuff, certainly not expecting the curve ball about to be sent sailing squarely my way by pitcher McFate.

When it started—POP-POP-POP-POP—in rapid succession, I thought “my dear, dreadful baking accident in Venezia?” But I had to reevaluate this outlook quickly as four cars began screeching around the corner from Argyle south onto Ossington. With a bad leg injury—an ugly hangover from August of ’07—I could not flee the man hanging out of the BMW, second in succession in the depravity parade, with firearm-a-blazin’, so I kind of stood and drank it all in with a flank of terrified bewilderment.

I made eye contact with the gunman for a few seconds—that was surreal. “Keep your eyes on the prize slinger!” I should have shouted, but this is an afterthought; at the time I was as busy as a bee avoiding strays. The firing continued as the mad panoply continued south in the direction of the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.

Sadly, I couldn’t return fire with my DSLR, as my Compact Flash card was gorged on paid-for concert pics. So I hid in an alley, called up a friend, walked home, finished my Jerk Chicken and Rice and Peas, and, in the mood for a long chat, called up the boys in blue.

From that point on the only other morsel of note is that I pointed out two shell casings missed by the Sirs while I attempted to give my statement and was not impressed by the general handling of the scene—but take that with a grain of salt from a social libertarian who isn’t paid for that kind of work. After my return to the scene I resumed what I would now refer to as my protracted safari home, the odyssey of a Torontonian. Once en domus I fired up my vapourizer, took some time to imbibe and reflect, and crashed, crashed hard.

For the record I slept quite soundly. I still think Toronto is an awfully safe place, and I’ll be making an even longer walk home tonight (if just to show McFate a little spite).

Paradise, unpaved. No more parking lot!

July 22, 2008

A Toronto woman cut through swathes of bureaucracy to convince City Hall to let her dig up her driveway and turn it into a pretty little environmentally-friendly garden.

Detail of   \"Paradise, Unpaved\" by Franke James.

Rainwater that falls on regular driveways goes whooshing straight into roadside sewer grates, carrying with it a load of road salt, pesticide residue, antifreeze, motor oil, & poo from my neighbour’s dog. Stormwater doesn’t get treated, so all that junk ends up in the lake. On the other hand, water falling on soil can soak in to nourish plants and quench the lake of fire that signifies the coming apocalypse replenish aquifers.

Franke James’ charming and inspiring visual essay is here.
Found this via the faraway Kottke.