Yay, I just did my final English exam. It was pretty easy, just like a test, not really that long. And my class mark going into the presentation and exam is 86%. I've done pretty well on some of the test, scoring near perfect on some of them. Time to celebrate, I'm having a beer as I blog. Plus, it's my birthday today, I just turned 32. I asked my older sis if we can get a cake and she's like, "If you want." Lets hope it's ice-cream cake.
And yesterday, we just did our final show of the season with my choir, Univox Choir. It went pretty well, but not a lot of people showed up however. But it was a pretty hard piece that we performed, Bruckner's Mass No. 2 in E minor. I had a few mistakes while singing, but I also noticed our best tenor voice also made a few minor mistakes. I was counting on him to be perfect so if I screwed up I can rely on getting back to the right part with him standing next to me. But while we were singing, I was off and he was off sometimes too. But seriously, that Bruckner mass is really hard.
On a more disappointing note, I had a run-in with a Toronto cop yesterday on my way to the church. I was riding my bike eastbound on Bloor crossing at the intersection of Ossington. I had my headphones blasting the Bruckner mass and I didn't hear that an ambulance was on it's way to the intersection heading north. As I got to the green light, I saw that there was an ambulance coming up the street and as my breaks on my bike aren't that great, I decided to go for it instead of stopping, as trying to stop at the speed that I was going at would have made me stop at the intersection and block the ambulance's way. There was no chance of stopping safely without blocking the ambulance, so I went for it. Minutes later, just a block away, I got pulled over by this police car. I tried to plead with the officer that I was sorry, that I didn't hear the sirens and was in a rush but he would have none of it. He started berating me and yelling at me at the top of his lungs. He took my health card as ID as I don't have a drivers license, went back into the police car and did the usual things. Then he came out with 2 tickets and explained to me that he has a personal vendetta against cyclists, that he hates cyclists, and then handed me the tickets. I was shocked to find the fine for each ticket was $495. I couldn't believe that. He told me I deserved every penny of those tickets, and if I was going to fight the charges, he would be submitting video evidence. And then he drove off.
Luckily for me, a pedestrian witnessed how the cop pulled me over and the whole exchange. This dude by the name of Leo came up to me and asked me if I was ok. I told him I got 2 traffic tickets worth almost $500 each. Then Leo said to me that he had witnessed the cop pull me over and that the cop car almost ran me over and ran me off the road. Then Leo told me to take down his email and that if I needed him to help fight the charges, that he would be my witness to the incident. I took down his email and thanked him for that. In our exchange he was like that's unbelievable, I shouldn't even have been given such severe tickets, a warning would have suffice. So now, I have to go down to Edward St. within the next 15 days to resolve this issue. I'm gonna fight these charges as they are so bogus. One ticket is for failing to stop for an emergency vehicle and the other is careless driving. In any case, I was on my bicycle. I'm not operating a motor vehicle so there really shouldn't be that big of a penalty. But that cop was the biggest prick ever. So, just another headache to deal with.
But seriously, there's bigger problems in the world right now. Recently, I've been following the news out of the US about the NSA's spying programme called Prism which has backdoors connected to some of the top tech companies in America like Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Apple just to name a few. There wasn't any avoiding this news since Twitter blew up Thursday night when the story broke that same morning in The Guardian newspaper with Glenn Greenwald breaking the story. I've had feelings about people being spied on in social media ever since the summer of 2010 when the G20 was in Toronto. Questions arise as to how they arrested organizers way before the big protest on the Saturday, how else other than through social media. So it doesn't surprise me to find out that the NSA has been spying on the world's internet since 2007. The revelations keep coming. Just yesterday, the whistleblower who blew the whistle on Prism revealed his identity in an interview with The Guardian. Here's the link to the article and the full interview: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jun/10/edward-snowden-united-stasi-america.
So when I heard about Prism, I came up with the idea to make some memes about the story. Damning truth is always better swallowed wrapped up in comedy. Here's one:
Here's the thing that shocked me. As I was in the process of trying to make another meme, I was somehow blocked out of http://memegenerator.net. Chrome was returning an error 501, which I know is when you're being blocked from accessing a specific IP address online. So it seemed like someone found out I was trying to make another controversial meme through that website and that someone was blocking me from accessing that meme website. So it dawned on me. Maybe that's because FB, Google, and other internet giants track our online activity and they tracked me to meme generator trying to make another meme. It seems logical that since the NSA has a backdoor to these networks and they could also find out about my online activity through FB and Google as well in real-time. So, I then proceeded to the Chrome Web Store and installed some anti-tracking extensions for Chrome and also reset my modem to clear my IP address and obtain a new one. After I did these two things, meme generator worked normally again and I was able to make my 2nd meme. Here's that controversial meme I was trying to make but failed making it at first:
There's a couple of other memes in my memes album on FB. But this one above was the tricky one to make. The picture kept disappearing before I was completely blocked out of meme generator. Suffice to say, they've got nothing on me. I will be making more memes, and in terms of tracking my online activity, I've installed several different anti-tracking extensions so that no tech company can ever track me anymore. Like adblock extensions, you need more than one of these kinds of extensions for them to all work in conjunction in order to stop their tracking. I highly suggest going to the Chrome Web Store and searching for all the different kinds of extensions available for you to install to cater to your browsing needs. I have a bunch, from adblock, YouTube, FB, Twitter, and now anti-tracking extensions installed.
Oh, and if you need programs to optimize your PC, I've got the programs for you. They are all freeware but really good programs to have. I've uploaded an archive onto a cloud service for anyone who needs them. Just hit me up on FB. Anyway, that's all I've got for now. Hope the weather will get nicer though, we've had quite a long time of bad weather lately.