Why I vowed to NEVER go back to Starbucks again

Whenever I go to a Starbucks I only order 2 things if I’m by myself, a grande drip coffee (no specialty drinks), and a Venti water. Why water? I have to drink water with my coffee or else it dehydrates me.

If you ever go to Starbucks you know there’s always line ups. Especially if you’re ordering a drink that has to be made at the coffee bar.

So, this is what the cashiers do when I order the Venti Water. They take the plastic clear cup and they put it beside the other cups at the barista bar for those who are waiting for their specialty drink, making me wait just for cup of water.

Now I always ask the cashier if they can get the water for me instead of them putting the cup line with the latte’s, the americano’s, the frappicino’s, the whatever…making me wait in line JUST FOR BLOODY WATER (without the blood).!!!

9 out of 10 times no matter what location I go to in Toronto, the cashier gives me attitude and a looks at me as ” how dare he ask me to do that”. And I am saying to myself, what has become of people to be such lazy shit heads and what’s up with the poor customer service at Starbucks?

My visit to Starbucks today will be my LAST visit.. I have vowed to never shop at a Starbucks again! Not because of the water, but because of the poor customer service.

On October 16th 2014, at around 2:45pm I went into the The Shops on Don Mills location in Toronto. A black employee behind the counter (ethnicity really doesn’t matter, I would of said the gay guy, or the woman or the Paki, I don’t even know why I have to mention any ethnicity really) took my order and I asked him if HE can get the water. His reply “No sorry, I have to give it to the Barista at the bar”, I asked “Why it’s only water?, he says “She has to prep the water” Prep the water???? As in go downtown stairs to the well and pump the water?  I replied “Tell me you’re pretending to me stupid or are you really?”

Why does this anger me? BECAUSE IT’S STUPID!  It’s outright STUPID! Stupid irritates me. I have little threshold for stupid and horrible customer service. Why make a customer’s life more difficult all for some glass of water, where am I? in Africa?

It doesn’t make sense to me. It baffles me how stupid people can be.  You see if it was me behind the counter and I was the cashier I would not hesitate because I would say to my intelligent self, IT’S ONLY WATER and he’s not jumping queue. No big deal. And I was hired to provide good customer service.

NOT at Starbucks!

I called the Customer Service line, they took my complaint and the agent told me the district managers are in Seattle for some Starbucks convention.

Hopefully ‘How to train your employee’s to provide good customer service’ was on agenda.

 

timcook

Apple’s new privacy is worrying authorities

When Tim Cook made this statement about the new iOs8 and it’s new encrypted software, it got authorities all worried about the criminals and safeguarding them.

Our commitment to customer privacy doesn’t stop because of a government information request.

Government information requests are a consequence of doing business in the digital age. We believe in being as transparent as the law allows about what information is requested from us. In addition, Apple has never worked with any government agency from any country to create a “back door” in any of our products or services. We have also never allowed any government access to our servers. And we never will.

What we’re most commonly asked for and how we respond.

The most common requests we receive for information come from law enforcement in the form of either a Device Request or an Account Request. Our legal team carefully reviews each request, ensuring it is accompanied by valid legal process. All content requests require a search warrant. If we are legally compelled to divulge any information and it is not counterproductive to the facts of the case, we provide notice to the customer when allowed and deliver the narrowest set of information possible in response. National security-related requests are not considered Device Requests or Account Requests and are reported in a separate category altogether.

On devices running iOS 8, your personal data such as photos, messages (including attachments), email, contacts, call history, iTunes content, notes, and reminders is placed under the protection of your passcode. Unlike our competitors, Apple cannot bypass your passcode and therefore cannot access this data. So it’s not technically feasible for us to respond to government warrants for the extraction of this data from devices in their possession running iOS 8.

More info http://www.apple.com/privacy

Taken while at port in Sicily, Italy

The Gay Mediterranean Cruise Experience

WARNING: THIS POST CONTAINS MATERIAL THAT MAY OFFEND SOME PEOPLE WITH SMALL MINDS AND CONTAINS A BIT OF VULGAR LANGUAGE.

 

The excursions, the food, the sunsets and amazing scenery. Everything else…refund please.

Oh the craziness. The insanity. The regrets.

But, really what the fuck was I thinking?

If I’ve ever listened to my instincts, the inner none psychological voices in my head  I would of saved myself from a lot of things in life, money,trouble..etc. But that’s what risks are all about, to go out there and live life to the fullest and get dirty while at it.

For some fucked up reason, well, let me rephrase, in hopes of meeting new people, I booked a trip last minute to go on a gay Mediterranean cruise.

You see, I’m was a  “Cruise Virgin” as I was told by a frequent cruiser, that’s what I was… a cruise virgin..yay I am no longer a virgin! So like most virgins I didn’t know what to expect, how to plan and what I shouldn’t and should do. I was not prepared. That’s why experiences teach us and makes us wiser, well, they’re supposed to. This was a whole new experience and I’m not one to shy away from taking risks. I did a lot of that when I was 20’s, back then I traveled everywhere and met people off the internet all over the USA, that’s when the internet was young and so was I, young and naive. I also partied a lot in my 20’s, so much so that I’ve partied for a lifetime, so I know what it’s all about, I don’t need to relive things especially when it’s all behind me.

So why did I go on a gay cruise when I am not even into the gay scene nor care for it? I don’t care for bars, clubs, bath houses, the drinking, the partying, nor care for the gay scene PERIOD! But I wanted to go somewhere where I had an opportunity to meet other gay people. What I was doing in the present wasn’t working, so typical me I go all out and to the extreme and went ALL OUT GAY, TOO GAY. It was soo fuckin gay, 10 days is too long to be around gays 24/7..gay, gay, gay, gay, gay, gay, they’re gay everyone was a gay gay..except for the cruise staff, I am sure some here and there.

3 days is plenty.

 

 

It was a bit daunting doing this all alone but it’s definitely not the first, not the first to travel alone, actually except one occasion I traveled with a female friend to Mexico 9 years ago, fuck time flies. Oh..she was a user. I paid her way. I was a patsy. Everyone can be a patsy and some just leach on, they leach onto people and suck them dry for everything they got. They have short lives.

Prior to all this cruise crap, many times I’d google on gay vacations and the same ad for a gay cruise always popped up but I was turned off by the marketing not that it had perfect Adonis type men but because it’s not my scene, everyone has preferences, nice to look at it, I guess. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I preferred to see pictures of sloppy obese men, it just wasn’t my scene.

I am quite surprised I actually put thought into it when all that time I wasn’t interested. But after reading some forums people said it’s not what the ads depict and that Atlantis cruises has a mix of everything and I was also told that there’s a 50/50 ratio of singles and couples, that figure was waaaay off, I would say 95/5 couples to singles ratio and I’m being generous with those figures.

Time was ticking, loneliness took over and I sold my soul to the devil, I booked it!! I booked the damn flight and booked the damn hotel room in Barcelona. And took my lonely (there was a time where I would even dare say lonely) ass to Europe. And lonely has many meanings. People in relationship can be lonely, if they’re in the wrong relationship.

Why I had to go on a lavish cruise and not meet people locally? Well, that’s a whole other stupid story.

You see, I’m actually quite reserved and keep to myself and that’s the habit I was trying to break…and it didn’t work, I was walking around with a pickle up my ass ( a pickle is better than a butt plug) and I had valid reasons. A few would agree or perhaps many others would agree that the cruise was a cruise with attitude, money and the bodies in speedo’s, it was obvious people worked out hard months before the cruise.

I’m convinced that even if I was not traveling alone and was with someone else it would of been the same experience. Again, it was a gay club on a cruise ship and it turned me right off.

Atlantis Events is a gay travel company that hosts travel vacations to the gay and lesbian community. They basically charter resorts (mostly in Mexico) and cruises for the gays and mark up the prices because it’s exclusively for gays.. And for this particular cruise I went on, it was on Celebrity Cruises. Atlantis has a few different cruises a year in different parts of the world using different cruise lines; Holland, Princess Cruises, Celebrity etc.

The cruise began in Barcelona and ports at Malta, Naples, Florence, Sicily, Rome, Monte Carlo, Ibiza Spain and back to Barcelona. I decided to leave a few days early before the cruise and visit Barcelona for 3 days because I wanted to get over the jet lag before the cruise and also do some sightseeing. The last time I’ve been to Barcelona was when I was 14 years old with my grandparents.

Like most travel, it’s based on double occupancy so if you book alone you have to pay double to have the cabin to yourself, which some did. Atlantis has a so-called “match” program for singles and will find someone based ONLY on smoking preferences, which didn’t matter because you can’t smoke on your balcony (if you booked a balcony stateroom like I did), no smoking in cabins and are only allowed only smoke in one small section on the lower deck which I later learned from smokers.

Anyway, I read comments by people on Facebook that sometimes people don’t show up and if lucky I could end up having the room to yourself, I was hoping that would be… oh boy did someone have plans for me. More on that later…

Everything was last minute, talk about living on the edge, I even left for the airport last minute, I had to drop off my dogs at my parents (30 mins north of me), pick up my mother, drive to the airport, quickly drop me off, and my mother took my car back to her place. I arrived at the airport late, they had to code my luggage in the system to for the baggage handlers as the loading was closed.

The direct flight to Barcelona on Air Canada Rouge was 8 hours, I was in the premium economy section ($500 more), Air Canada doesn’t have Business nor 1st Class on their Rouge flights which didn’t matter as I don’t fly in those sections anyway, well, depends. Premium Economy gives you slightly more seat space and leg room and better food, there’s also ‘Preferred’ Seating ($90 extra) which I sat in on the return flight had more leg room than the Economy seats. I upgraded to the Premium section just for the outgoing flight..and after flying in that section I can say it’s a total rip off, well for $500 or more it is. That extra price gives you a better roll (bread) and not the rock like bread roll in economy class, a better chicken than the so-called chicken given in economy class, better dessert, a real dessert and so-called salad (one cherry tomotoe and 4 leaves of lettuce instead of the so called one in economy) and a mini bottle of salad dressing in case you needed it for your baby size salad..oh and alcohol is included. I assumed that because you’re flying overseas alcohol would be included in any section. Not with Air Canada. It’s not that I needed nor wanted to drink alcohol, it’s just an observation.

The flight departed Toronto at around 9:00pm and arrived in Barcelona at around 10:40am local time, my internal clock was still at 4am time when I arrived. Went through immigration (what immigration?) in a second, no questions asked, just stamped my passport. It was the same when I went to Israel 5 years ago, except for when you leave Israel (that’s a whole different story). When I visited Israel 5 years ago, as you drive into the entrance of the airport you’re greeted at the airport entrance with men carrying rifles who peak into your car, I asked why they do that, the cab driver said to make sure I wasn’t an Arab, while inside the airport I was approached by a woman who questioned as if I were on trial. Who? what? where? why? when? parents name, aunt’s name, when did I lose my virginity etc etc. And at the end “Come back Soon”. More like FUCK YOU. Like seriously? All that wasn’t needed? I hate when people make your life more difficult when it’s not needed. The evil just comes out of me and I can be an ass. DO I LOOK LIKE A FUCKIN GAY TERRORIST? Let me answer that for you as you seem confused…NO!

Anyway, moving right along….

As soon as I landed in Barcelona, I took a taxi from the airport to my hotel and the very nice driver, a woman, didn’t speak English, so I brought up the email on my smart phone with the hotel email confirmation to show her the address. She said “Oh si” and kept talking Spanish, it sounded gibberish…well in a Spanish way. She was a nice lady.

I got to the hotel and because of the local time I didn’t want to sleep (it was 10:40am) and couldn’t of slept anyway even if I tried, besides to to get over jet lag it’s best to adjust to the local time zone even though back home it was 4:40am. I walked into the hotel room and started the electricity by sliding my hotel room key in the switch and WTF? The room was the size of a closet and I am not talking about Mariah Carey’s closet and the bed could of been concrete (very much like a prison). I was too jet lagged to even look for another hotel and drag my suitcases. New surroundings,hard bed, shoe box room and in a new country, too tired to sleep, my body was tired but my internal/external clock was going haywire and if I were a robot the wires in the fuse outlet would cause firecrackers, like the firecracker I am.

While I was in Spain, I noticed a difference in quality of life, people are more laid back and less angry than North American’s. It’s a different kind of life and attitude living in Europe, I would move to Europe in a heartbeat, LOVED IT!. And you have to be careful of pocket pickers. They’re very savvy, on one occasion spme guy tried sliding my cell phone under the sign he was holding above the table but I quickly grabbed it while I was having dinner outside, they have patios and cafe’s everywhere, loved the European way of living. Loooove Europe!

On the last day in Barcelona a couple people of Facebook and I went to have a drink on the roof top patio of a gay hotel,  as you walked into the hotel there was a bathhouse feel with nostalgia. The elevator to the roof top patio was dark and very small as if it was purposely made that way for people to get up close and personal. On the roof top there were all sorts of men in speedos baking in the sun. While standing at the bar waiting for drinks, a guy in his speedo came up to the bar with his low hanging donkey dong  It was so cool to see people feel so liberated and didn’t mind that their dongs were dangling like ornaments on a Christmas tree. Very different than the type of life I’m used to in Canada, except for the gay parades. It was a gay parade every day in Spain with the gays. And then as we sat on the comfy patio chairs to the right was a guy in his…that’s right..in his speedo doing some work on his laptop computer.  It was good break from my usual.

Then later that day I was introduced to a friend of the American couple I was hanging out with, the sugar daddy friend said his Singapore sugar baby was hooking up at a bath house. To each their own, I am not one to buy someone’s affection. We then went to the friend’s hotel room, well it’s an upscale condo according to Spain’s standards and the vacant units were converted to hotel rooms, this particular unit had 2 rooms, a kitchenette, washer/dryer combo, small balcony for $249 EUR ($350 CAD $322 USD) a night, If you got money to waste, party on. We sat and chatted for a bit and I started to feel really sleepy and excused myself. I was hungry and what does one eat in Spain where they have countless places of delicious Spanish food? Burger King! a chicken sandwich…of all the places to buy I walked into the Burger King and bought something quick. I don’t even eat fast food at home, and there I was eating a bun less chicken sandwich, I stay away from white bread.

Later in the trip I learned Italians love white bread, but somehow they remain to be in good shape in Italy, good for them bitches.

The day of the cruise I took the cab to the port and boarded the ship. The luggage needed to be checked just like boarding a plane, it is put through a X ray machines and they also check for alcohol as they permit 2 bottles of wine for the duration of your cruise. However, while at ports you can duty free alcohol but the cruise holds it for you til the last day of the cruise. You just have to spend lots on the cruise if you drink.

As soon as I boarded I went to my cabin, and minutes later my roommate walked in. It still baffles me that even after paying so much I had to have a roommate (It was a bad experience).

Later on, everyone on the ship had to go to their designated spot to learn what to do if an emergency happens and where the rescue boats are and then watch a short video.

I went back to my cabin and my room mate and I decided to go to the ‘Single’s’ Meet Party for a drink. We headed over to the Sky Deck Bar, it had an amazing view, we were given name tags with our names and out home city (the cruise had people from all over the world). We then went separate ways. To make long story short, another American bought him a drink and they lived happily ever after on the cruise. On the last day of the cruise the room mate said to me that him and that guy would just be friends…does it look like I care? (You’ll understand the bittnerness later.)

During the duration of the cruise they had many so called ‘Single’s’ drink and dinners meet parties. I only attended one Singles dinner party in one of the very elegant dinning rooms called the Silhouette Dining Room but it was a very ineffective way to meet people. We’re seated at a table with 10 people or so, after every course a bell is rang for us to move to another table to meet new people. But because the table was big with many people the only people you get to meet is either the person to your left or right or you can yell across the table (WHAT??? MY NAME IS…MY NAME IS…WHAT??? OH OK!). My suggestion would be to do the drinks meet first where it’s one to one at a table, time it for 3 minutes and change tables to meet someone else. While doing that, have paper and pen where you check off yes or no if you like the person you’re meeting and at the end check the results. Kinda like Tindr. You then give your paper to the hosts and they check to see if match is mutual, if not too bad for you there’s plenty of fish in the sea, pun intended.

On the ship, alcohol drinks are extra and are about $9 to $15 for a drink plus gratuity.

For those who have not been on a cruise, you are given a ‘Seapass’ card when you check in (same as hotel room swipe cards), they take your picture (for security and internal purposes) and add your credit card if you want to be billed using your credit card for purchases, this card is also used as a key to enter your cabin, use it to buy stuff on your account and for entry/exit when you are at ports. It’s like the card you get at hotels.

Most cruises offer an alcohol beverage package, this cruise did not, it only had a classic beverage package which includes bottled water and coffees at the cafe (which is worth to buy if you drink a lot of water and enjoy good coffee like I do). There’s also the Premium Beverage Package which includes better bottled water; Evian, shakes, coffee’s, Vitamin Water etc. Price ranges from $160 to $190 for the 10 days. Close to the end of the cruise I was upgraded to the Premium Beverage package.

During your cruise you can book Excursions. Since I didn’t have the time to research prior to departure as it was last minute or had the list of excursions to choose from prior to, I really didn’t know which excursion to take because at some ports there were many to choose from and if it was worth doing at some ports and not so much in other places. I have to admit, the Malta excursion was a waste of money. I didn’t do an excursion in Sicily, Ibiza, Monte Carlo, or Naples. I did an excursion in Rome, Malta and Florence. I did get off the ship in Sicily and walked around close by, was given attitude by a woman in a store for not having change for my bottled water, I only had a 20, I’m a tourist and off a ship,alight, give me a break!). The Shore Excursion staff was there just to make your purchase, they didn’t know anything about the excursions, could of been done on our own without a human. Which was frustrating. I choose the wrong one in Rome, the one I selected was a bus tour and while doing the excursion I realized I should of choose the walking one. Rome was just amazing, so much to see and can only be appreciated by walking, not sitting on the bus, the only time we were off the bus was when we did a brief 1 hour stop at the Vatican. I will definitely return one day and really appreciate Rome, and I head you need a few days to see it all, even a week. I was fascinated.

The excursion in Florence was okay. But because my cabin was dark, the roommate and fling where still asleep from being out some deck all night, because it was dark I couldn’t see my clothes, so I accidentally picked a dirty black shirt and wore it in scorching hot weather. I was also hung over from the night before. People were buying me drinks and for some psychologically insane reason I ordered a double shot drink before the Deborah Cox show on the cruise. She did a good show. It was the only show worth watching on the cruise. Everything else was mediocre. I can do without drag shows? Why does gay have to be all about drag and over effeminate? The comedy shows seemed like it was done by gay angry men, it was horrible, I  walked out after the first act. And I looooove comedy! I know comedy and that wasn’t comedy, what do you expect on a cruise, I guess. Cheap crap for your expensive cruise.

Back to Italy, the police officers in Florence are different..they blend in with society and seem more civilized and much better looking. Oh trust me,I have a picture of one too.

A few times I was invited to dinner at the Blu Dining Room, it costs extra if you’re not in the higher end $16k room package. And those who are in those cabins can invite one guest. After dining there, I am pleased to say for those who didn’t want to pay the extra, they were not missing much, actually the service wasn’t great and the food was the same in the other restaurants. But it’s a place where people felt better to dine in. Whatever rocks your boat and whatever makes you feel special. It didn’t make me feel special. (Bitter much?)

Now I dread..onto the room mate thing…My room mate was a 42 year old who like myself never went on a gay cruise before but has done regular cruises with his parents (???? A 40 year old cruising with parents). Like myself, he booked last minute, if he had not I would of had the room to myself because I didn’t have a roommate when I called to book. The reason why I put emphasis on that is because my time on the ship was partly ruined by sharing with this dumbtwat. I’ve been prescribed a very low dosage of Lorazapam for anxiety, which aids to sleep and I rarely use it when I am not traveling. There were about 20 pills in the bottle prior to leaving on this vacation. Because of this room mate and him coming into the cabin at various hours late late night, it raised my anxiety levels, how can anyone sleep knowing someone will be coming in and out or unexpected all night. The most dosage I’ve ever taken before this cruise was 1 pill (0.5 mg) but again very seldom for sleep purposes only. On this cruise, on many occasions I had to take 3 pills and that’s when he invited his boy toy over. TO CUDDLE AND SLEEP RIGHT BESIDE ME on his twin size bed, 3 inches away.

On top of that he snored like a bull dozer.

Now, here I am thinking okay perhaps I’ve got a pickle up my ass, why am I so raveled up about this? Well, I am not in my 20’s anymore, I am not a party animal anymore (I’ve over done that in my 20s to last me a lifetime), and if I don’t get at least 7 hours of uninterrupted sleep it ruins my fuckin day. And for $4000 you EXPECT BETTER, you have higher expectations. And $4000 was just for only the cabin, excluding excursions, beverage package, alcoholic drinks on board, hotel in Spain and airfare. Total price : $6200 for one person!! I must sound really stupid after you read I just spent that much. No really. It was an impulse purchase.

In addition the lack of beauty sleep I needed but didn’t get due to pests, I am one of those people who needs a fan blowing at night (not a blow job, a FAN!) (and there has been times when I just wanted to shove a fan up his ass), the sound and air blowing is very comforting and something I got accustomed since I was young and can not do without and I brought one of those mini table fans with me, however I broke it in my Barcelona hotel room when I plugged in the European 2 pong plug (you could just use a 2 pong thing converter to plug into the outlet, depending on the voltage), I should of used a full converter.

Call me crazy, but I didn’t want to be sleeping beside two people sharing a twin size bed, 3 inches away when the room and beds were small as is. But on this cruise my sleep was always interrupted by this twit. When he brought over his boy toy the first time to cuddle and both of whom slept right beside me in the middle of the night, I said myself ARE YOU TWO SHIT HEADS FOR REAL???  And I didn’t expect it to happened again. Low and behold, on another night at around 4:30am the two clowns came in, I was awaken by slurps. I was facing the other way. Suddenly I heard loud slurping sounds. And I said to myself, ” WTF! What a bunch of douche bags!” The boy toy was giving the dumb twat a blow job and lucky for me and unlucky for him there was no happy ending. Maybe they were doing this because they wanted me to join in (sarcasm)..the thought of that just made me gag.  But for them it was being selfish, inconsiderate and having not an ounce shame nor class. You’d think someone in his 40s would known better. And if you’re doing this shit in your 40s???  Really?? The word LOSER is written all over you and absolutely no moral compass. I wouldn’t of done that in my 20s.

The cruise itself, as in Celebrity Cruises, was excellent. The staff (other than Guest Relations and Excursions, useless) were very attentive and worked hard. And the highlight of the cruise was the food, besides the excursions. I’m a picky eater and for me to say this says a lot, the food on this cruise had everything for everyone. It was delicious and something I will miss. Sadly, those are the only things I will miss about the cruise.

The cruise had a mix of people from all walks of life. Mostly people with perfect Adonis bodies sunbathing around the pool in their speedo’s with their donkey dongs popping through (nothing was left out to imagination it was right there in your face…well, not literally). The gay boys on the ship were about money, clothes and body.

And then there those who walked around as if money was no object. Me, on the other hand, I was happy to learn they put aside 1 hour for social hour for those like myself who didn’t mind paying cheaper for drinks, well, the typical price, $4 to $6/drink during social hour and not the cruise typical of $10 to $15 plus gratuity. That’s right, you’re forced to pay for tip as it’s included and the receipt said feel free to pay more if deserved.

Majority of the people on the ship were in their 30’s and older. There were plenty of the sugar daddies and their “boys”.  Which I found intriguing and sad, the sugar daddies never look happy and looked lonely even though they had a boy toy accessory at their side, being in a so called relationship with someone 20yrs or so younger than you, that’s for them to hang out and pretend to be in a relationship while the boy toy tramps around bathhouses or while on the cruise with other men? Sure, it happens in the straight world..cougars (ahem..Madonna), but it says a lot about someone, their self esteem, self respect and dignity. Sure, it would be nice to have my bills paid if I were that boy toy, if you want to pay off this cruise from my credit card, I’ll suck your dick, email me, I would thank you in so many ways. And a tummy tuck would be nice too. Hell, fuck the cruise…just pay for my tummy tuck and I’ll give blow jobs before and after. But just to let you know I don’t eat ass.

But I did meet someone who seemed decent until he dumped my ass after I told him and I could be friends…

I met a 52 year old (looked younger) from San Francisco and we got along really well (which says a lot because my luck in Toronto has not been good, mainly because I’m using the net) we even did an excursion together, we always had something to talk about, one night we talked for hours, but I just wanted be friends, as soon as I said that he disappeared. I never saw him again. I called his room one day, he already met another man. I didn’t care and I sincerely say this…Oh well, his loss..next. If you know your worth, you can easily walk away and move on to the next person who deserves you.

On a different note, back to the room mate thing, I’m one not to put up with shit. BUT in my case with this guy, I didn’t speak up because of the situation, I dealt with it for whatever reason but I should of said something. I know the cruise was not going to change my room, well the so-called Guest Relations offered this;  an instate room (no window, no balcony) for more money (why would I want a lesser room, even pay more on top of the outrageous amount I already paid for) or share with someone else in a lesser room and move my services (so-called Concierge). But I didn’t do that because I didn’t want to give that dumb twat the power and his own room nor the satisfaction.

But this is what I should of really done…for all that money I spent on this cruise  I could of planned a major multi city tour of Europe. I would of seen a lot more places. I could of done without the cruise and crap, done without the dumb twat and boy toy cuddling and slurping beside me. And I am not one just to sit in the sun and lounge all day, didn’t care for the entertainment and the gay crap.

Anyway, back to the cruise..I started to pack 2 days before the end of the cruise. I was ready to get off that damn gay ship. I had enough with gay. Depending on when your situation, people departed at various times, starting at 6:30am. Which is why I wanted to go to sleep early. YOU GUESSED IT another sleepless night. The dumb twat room mate didn’t pack most of his stuff. He packed later in the night because he felt left out if he didn’t go for drinks the night before, so he finished packing while I was sleeping, slamming everything as if…and surprise…as if I wasn’t there sleeping.

And because of that, my flight back home was difficult and a pain.

The cruise arrived at 6am, I took the shuttle bus ($40 extra) to get to the Barcelona airport, and this time I was early…3 hours early. And it was damn hot in the Barcelona airport. I was sweating so much that I had to change clothes in the baby parent diaper change room, whatever you call them. I checked in and the Air Canada agent asked me if I was willing to stay an extra night in Barcelona, if so, Air Canada will pay for my hotel and give me spending money, I don’t know if I heard him correctly but I think he said $600 which sounds a lot. I respectively declined. I was ready to go home and I was tired from lack of sleep that night, I was tired. Then suddenly my luggage was over by 2 lbs so he had to charge me $100 for it, but he was nice enough to put a Priority sticker on my luggage, which is used for 1st class/Business/(Premium Economy in this case) passengers, it means your luggage is put on the baggage belt first when you arrive at your destination, which saves time, especially on a full flight of 280 people.

Shit..if I knew Air Canada would of been that greedy charging me an extra $100 for 2lbs of extra baggage I would of taken that bath robe from the closet in my cabin

I had very rough time on the airplane. I was really cranky that when I got to my seat on the plane and needed to put my carry on in the storage above my seat which  was supposed to be for the seat below, someone’s carry-on was already there . So I asked people and no one claimed it, I got fed up and said if the person doesn’t move their luggage I’ll move it for them, that’s when the Flight Attendant stepped in and moved it. Why wasn’t I that aggressive with the dumb twat room mate?

My suggestion to anyone who travels, get proper sleep before going on the plane otherwise it will be one bad long flight and if you had shared your room with a dumb twat loser just dump his sorry ass overboard…OPPS!

On the plane, I was looking at my watch every hour on the hour…”shit 6 more hours”…”fuck man 5 more hours..seriously??” “any slower 4 more hours!!!”…”how about making those engine go faster”.

I have to add this because I give credit when due, there was a couple with their toddler in the middle section beside me, and they were the most considerate parents I’ve seen, especially traveling on the plane. The father held the toddler during the entire 9 hours of flight from Barcelona to Toronto, he made sure the baby and wife were comfortable, took care of the child so that the child wouldn’t cry. He seemed a good husband and father. I mention this because I’ve been a plane sitting beside parents who didn’t give a rats ass if their kids made noise, let them cry, scream and all that monkey stuff if they could. And even off the plane, day to day people just don’t teach their kids manners or respect. Parents don’t realize it makes them look like a lousy parent.

I looked at my watch again,”OMG 3 more hours, what the hell!!”…and that’s when the guy beside me started a conversation ( I was sitting in aisle seat, plane was 2-3-2 seats). And we chatted up a storm..told him about my experience, he told me Atlantis is known for those type of cruises and told me about another gay cruise RSVP. And the 3 hours was done.

Will I go on a cruise again? Maybe. But I’m one of those people who likes experience new things. So it’s very unlikely.

YOU LIVE AND HOPEFULLY LEARN

I’m over it!

THE END

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Is Homophobia a Religious or a Psychological Issue?

“My faith won’t allow me to ACCEPT what took place over the weekend! Sorry, NOT sorry! #AdamAndEve #NotAdamAndAdam.” -Maurice Price

Maurice Price was not the only pro football player to express an anti-gay attitude following the drafting of Michael Sam, the first openly gay person to be drafted into the NFL.

Price defended his comments by referencing his religious beliefs. He is a Christian and since Christianity considers homosexuality to be a sin, then condemning homosexuality is fair. He is not alone in this regard as a common defense of homophobia is that it has more to do with defending one’s religious values than attacking a minority group.

Historically, prejudice of any kind could be freely expressed with few repercussions (emotional, legal, or otherwise) so long as there was a reasonable justification. Religion has often served as the justification, and has therefore facilitated an array of prejudice, from racism to sexism to homophobia.

Over time, the use of religious beliefs to justify prejudice has tended to decline, but still persists — especially when it comes to homosexuality.

Whether one can defend homophobia on religious grounds is a topic unto itself. But let’s imagine for the sake of argument that one could defend a prejudiced opinion on the basis of religion. Were such a position defensible, it would be necessary to ensure that the homophobia was motivated solely by religious values, as opposed to psychological factors.

The difficulty facing those who wish to defend their sexual prejudice is that psychological research has shown that homophobia tends to be much more complicated than the picture painted by Maurice Price and others who argue they are simply expressing their religious values.

Why So Mad?….

Before even discussing the psychological research, we can draw inferences about a person’s psychology based solely on their emotional responses to homosexuality. We can fairly assume that non-religious factors are motivating prejudice when there is a stark discrepancy between someone’s moral outrage and the relative seriousness of the sin.

There are hundreds of laws and principles discussed in the bible and they are not all equal. We know that some are more important because of clear demarcations (ex: The Ten Commandments) or because some rules receive more attention than others.

For example, eating shellfish is less serious a sin than adultery given that the latter appears as one of the 10 commandments and receives attention throughout the bible via important figures. Conversely, despite being forbidden in the Old Testament, shellfish are not discussed in the ten commandments, and rarely does one read of Jesus discussing their place in the moral landscape.

We would expect people’s psychological reactions to moral violations to be commensurate with the seriousness of the violation itself.

For example, if someone is more offended by someone eating shellfish than adultery, it tells us more about the person (ex: perhaps they’re vegan!) because this type of reaction is not consistent with the underlying values of the religion.

Indeed, such a reaction implies something specific about the psychology of that individual.

So, when a person expresses disgust and outrage toward a homosexual and only a mild rebuke of an adulterer, it tells us that something else is likely driving their reaction. Homosexuality is not one of the 10 commandments, does not receive much attention throughout the bible, and Jesus never addresses the issue.

A Psychological Profile of Homophobia

First, as with other forms of prejudice, those who hold anti-gay beliefs are more likely to be older, less educated, live in a rural area, and to have less contact with homosexuals. If religious values were the sole determinant of homophobia, then we would expect all religious individuals to hold the same view, regardless of these factors.

Second, those who hold authoritarian beliefs are also more likely to be homophobic. People who are highly authoritarian hold a strict belief in the need for social order and conformity to rules. They also tend to be especially intolerant of people who violate their concept of social order, and having this personality trait — which is related to, but distinct from religiosity — increases the likelihood of sexual prejudice.

Third, there is an interesting gender difference when it comes to homophobia. Heterosexual men are much more hostile and prejudiced toward gay and bisexual men than are women.

There is good reason to believe that this bias occurs because heterosexual men are often highly motivated to protect their masculine identity. In fact, experimental studies have shown that when you intentionally threaten men’s sense of their own masculinity it causes them to act aggressively toward gay men.

This psychological tendency may help explain the homophobic reactions of men who play football. The very idea that a gay man could out-play and even out-hit you must be very threatening for men who idealize masculinity.

Given that homophobic men tend to overcompensate in response to masculinity threats, I leave it to the reader to supply their own analysis of what motivates Vladamir Putin’s predilection for shirtless photos.

Homophobia may also serve useful psychological functions as well. For example, when someone’s self-esteem or identity is fragile, then attacking someone else could help to repair the damage by making oneself feel superior.

As you can see, homophobia and its expression can be complicated, and often involves more than just a simple one-to-one expression of religious conviction.

Expressing Values

It is important to point out that not all religious believers exhibit sexual prejudice. I have met many people with strong religious convictions who fully support gay rights. They consider such belief in equality to be an expression of their religious beliefs, as there are certainly biblical passages that refer to loving one’s neighbour.

Which raises a key question — why is it more important to defend a law dealing with sexual orientation than it is to defend laws of love and nonjudgment toward others?

The answer to such a question is likely to say more about one’s psychological profile than their religious affiliation.

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WIND Mobile ~ The never ending hassle

Wind Mobile has been in Canada since 2009 and according to Google is the 4th largest wireless company in Canada, most likely 4th after Rogers, Bell and Telus.

Lately, I’ve noticed the very enticing plans Wind Mobile has $40 for All Inclusive service (data and voice etc). Except for Mobilicity, no other provider offers unlimited data at a cheap price of $40/month which also includes calls to Canada and USA wide.

The companies mentioned above charge $80 for Canada Wide and only 500MB of data. The prices increased when CRTC ruled that 3 yr contracts are too long, the carriers had to change contracts from 3 years to 2 in turn increasing the prices to their plans.

So I thought I should give WIND a try.

!!BIG MISTAKE!!

But god kept pushing me back..and I swear I heard  “Noo, my child…stay away..if not I will make it difficult for you and you will see the troubles as an indication to stay clear from them.” No I am not religious.

I could be stubborn at times and I ignored the signs.

It might be cheap, but the customer service is…for the lack of better explicit words…CRAP!

I’ve had service and experience with numerous wireless companies in my time; Rogers, Bell, Koodo, Mobilicity, Fido, Virgin Mobile and now Wind Mobile. From all of the mentioned companies Wind Mobile is the worst company I’ve dealt with. And that’s not even including using their services yet, this is just from getting the phone and exchanging it then cancelling it to go on on their no tab plan.

Last week I went to buy the HTC ONE M8 phone for $199 on their $60 tab plan. No problems there.

The next day I changed my mind and wanted to exchange the phone for an older cheaper phone, the Nexus5 for $99 on their $50 plan. This took one hour of my time and this is not including waiting in line. The rep who was assisting me couldn’t do it because he wasn’t trained to so I had to wait for the one rep who knew how to. So when it came to my turn the so-called trained rep had to call in to their support desk to do the transaction, when they call the support centre they have t verify it’s the owner of the account and need to speak to me to confirm I’m the customer making the transaction. The in store rep already confirmed I’m the person by checking my ID. So obviously WIND does not trust their employee’s or give them any authority to make changes to a customers account.

After 1/2 hour, I was refunded the $199 for the HTC ONE M8 and then charged my credit card for the $99 for the Nexus 5, but their process is, they bill my wireless account and I pay for it right away. Every other company just refunds me, credits me back on my credit card.

So, today I changed my mind again because I managed to get my own phone to use on their network, so I dreaded going back but WOW their plans are damn good, why not? So, I went back to the their store. There was one employee, and SURPRISE she didn’t know how to do a return so she asked if I wanted to wait for her employee to come back from break, I said fine. So the employee returns, and YES another surprise he had to call support to do the return and put me on a different plan, he called his support 3 times. He then called his manager to ask how to process the transaction. So while he briefly spoke to him and had the support centre on hold, the support centre hung up on him and he called them back, each time he called they had to verify my name and DOB. So, since I already knew the process, he passed me the phone I already knew what to say and I passed the phone back.

And that process went on for 90 mins. I got fed up and told him to cancel my service altogether. Since I was quite irritable I vented.

He said they couldn’t refund me because it was a bill payment charge for the phone. I later learned from another store that a case had to be opened for refund. A case to be opened for a refund??? Lord have mercy.

I give people and companies chances, many times more than I should. So, I drove to another Wind Mobile store. And told them what I wanted, easy process, had to pay $25 for a new SIM card, the other companies charge $10. The other companies simply transfer the number to to the new SIM card but NOT Windy Mobile.

So, tonight I get home I looked for the SIM card they gave me and low and behold the package was opened and the SIM card was missing. I did not pay attention when I walked out of the store that the package was opened and the SIM was missing. No wonder she handed the new paperwork and she placed the SIM card between the papers. Just WOW.

So tomorrow, I have to drive back to the store (cars become handy in situations like this, imagine if I didn’t have one and I’m going to different Wind Mobile stores to get service a customer deserves) and I wouldn’t be surprised if they don’t believe me. REALLY? Because it would be stupid to lie about some SIM card.

What I should add is this; I haven’t cancelled my service with my previous provider yet because I wanted to test out this Wind Mobile….. crap. It’s on it’s own network using AWS technology and they’re not as big as the other guys, so less towers = possibly not good reception.

I also called the call centre and asked how do I get that $99 refund, she had to put me on hold and had to ask her supervisor, I was told to email my receipt that I returned the phone. ARE YOU FUCKIN SERIOUS???

Call me crazy but all this should of been a seamless and smooth experience and something that shouldn’t take 2 hours to do. Nor should it of been a stressful situation.

Call me CRAZY that I’m still giving them a chance.

I will freak if they give me issues on this missing SIM card. Don’t worry I’m not violent.

In Memoriam: My Safta (Grandmother) (Revised)

When some keep it private, I am posting my memoriam to my grandmother because I wanted to share with the world how much my grandmother meant to me.

As young as I can remember I loved visiting my grandmother.

She was a 2nd mother to me. So caring and motherly.

Always made sure I was taken care of.

When I was sick she would nurse me back to health.

When I was in trouble she was there for support.

When I was young and on my own struggling she would slip me $20 bills keeping it secret from my grandfather who was conservative with money, even though I never asked.

When I got myself into trouble, she got me out.

She’s been through a lot in her life. Much worse than I. She knew how it was to be in dire straights, she survived the Holocaust.

I always had great respect and affection for her.

My grandparents were my family when my parents moved to the US in 1999, their home was a place to escape to when I was lonely or needed support. I’d call them weekly to see how they were doing.

And my grandmother, she always without hesitation welcomed me with open arms. Always hospitable and made me comfortable.

She loved me no matter what.

I always felt accepted and never neglected.

There was always a place in her heart for me.

My grandfather was immobile for years, my grandmother took care of him, cleaned him, changed him and cared for him.  And she always cleaned and kept her home immaculate. That was her nature. And she never left his side. That’s how caring and selfless she was.

My grandmother was a strong woman, had a couple mild heart attacks but never complained.

In 2004, while being wheeled in from surgery lying on the hospital bed she saw me in the waiting room and said, “Joey, I am okay don’t worry”. She never ever wanted people to feel sorry for her.

Whenever she was in the hospital I was always there by her side. Just like how she was there for me. She told me she met god and he told her not her time yet.

She had mild Alzheimer’s before my uncle died, when he died in 2008 her mental condition got worse. Two years later in 2010 my grandfather died, her Alzheimer’s had become much worse. She sat in front of the TV and would stare. She would just say a few things, I always asked her how she was, she always say she’s good. She lost most of her memory and only remembered a few people, but always remembered who I was.

A week ago my grandmother wasn’t feeling well, but never said anything, she looked ill so my mother took her to the hospital.  Tests showed she had a tumor blocking her stomach. And days later had an operation to remove it. It was a very risky long 4 hour surgery, fortunately the doctors told us the cancer did not spread, we were all so relieved and looked forward to her coming back home, and like always she was a fighter, but this time she lost the fight.

She didn’t know what was going on, kept saying that she’s okay and not sick and wanted to go home, she asked me if she can come to my home. It was so difficult to watch her in pain.

The day after the surgery, I was at the hospital visiting like every day prior, my grandmother was in more pain and kept asking why were the tubes so tight in her stomach, I kept saying to her it’s because she had surgery, she didn’t understand why.  She’d pause then asked again. She also kept asking if my mother lived in the hospital I had to say yes to calm her down. She always wanted my mother at her side. When my mother too a break from watching her, my grandmother found the strength to get herself out of the bed and rip the tubes out, managed to get herself up and into the hallway looking for my mom. The nurses at first did not watch her.

That was the last time I saw her alive.

On the way home I planned to stop by the hospital to visit her but I didn’t because I thought she was going to be home soon. I didn’t expect her to get much worse so fast.

For some reason I didn’t stop by the hospital that day.

The same day, I got a phone call from mother who’s been at my grandmother’s side night and day and said my grandmother had an infection, she had complications from the surgery which the doctors warned us about.

Things got much worse.

My grandmother had mucous in her system. She then had problems breathing and they put her on a respiratory machine. The doctors had to drain the mucus in her lungs by putting a tube down her throat but my grandmother didn’t want it, she was dealing with enough pain. My mother told the nurses to get the doctor, 5 mins later which felt like hours she told the doctors she’ll hold her up and they try to put the tube in, they tried and tried. My mother kept trying to bring her back, the doctors tried to look for a pulse on my grandmother but they couldn’t find it, my mom kept holding her, calling her name, my grandmother’s head leaned on my mom’s chest as she was holding her, crying saying we could do this. It was too late.The doctors said “I’m sorry but she’s gone”. They saw how determined my mother wanted to help and save my grandmother that they had tears.

Shortly after my mother called me and told me my grandmother died. I rushed to the hospital..

As I approached the room, everything seemed like slow motion, and there she was life selfless to lifeless in the bed, I couldn’t contain myself, tears just poured. I knew her time was going to come soon, but not so quick. I wanted to see her before she left us.

As I left the hospital, tears mixed with rain, as if it washed away my sorrow, taking away the pain. So many memories I cherished raced though my mind.

There are only good memories of my grandmother. As I look at pictures of her and reminiscence of the past, more tears. She meant so much to me.

The day of the funeral, they had rain in the forecast but the dark clouds burst into a perfect sunny sky. Like the warmth she graced. And then a bird flew up above and took flight.

A verse that matches to that sight came to mind and with meaning (as gay as it sounds);

Fly, fly, fly high against the sky, so high almost touch the sky. Thank you, thank you, thank God for you, the wind beneath my wings.

She would sit at the same spot when she lived at my parents home, no longer there, it hurts.

It’s difficult to say good-bye, we all wish we can hold on to the people we love and never let them go.

But there is a time where we have to say good-bye and know that they’re in a better place.

R.I.P Safta. Love You. You’ll forever be in my heart.

1926-2014

10 years for Assaulting 21 people.

Over and over again sentences like this boggle my mind. I am not excusing the fact what this douchebag was wrong but I’ve only seen and heard crimes again are not taken as harsh and criminals are sentenced to just a couple of years. Someone who’s actually did time with pedophiles ( a facility for addictions/anger/sex crimes) the cases heard were so despicable it makes you cringe and these predators were only sentenced for months to less than 2 years. The damage, scarring and impact these children deal with for the rest of their lives amounts to much greater than an adult who has been assaulted and the guy in this article is sentenced to 10 years for 21 victims, much deserved but in Canada he’ll be out way before that, but why aren’t sentences like this handed down to pedophiles? Who’s the victim here? Pedophiles get life sentences in the USA, Canada 2 years. Talk about miscarriage of the justice system.

Former North York General anesthesiologist Dr George Doodnaught was sentenced Tuesday to ten years imprisonment for sexually assaulting 21 of his patients.

Many of his victims, filling rows of the packed courtroom, shed tears as Superior Court Justice David McCombs read his decision.

As Doodnaught, 65, was handcuffed and taken into custody from court, a few of his victims clapped.

His “reprehensible conduct must be condemned in the strongest terms,” said McCombs.

In November, Doodnaught was found guilty of sexually assaulting 21 women between the ages of 25 and 75 while they were semi-conscious on the operating table.

All but one of the women were undergoing surgeries at North York General Hospital between 2006 and 2010. Doodnaught was a popular anesthesiologist at the hospital for 26 years.

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  • George Doodnaught is shown in a Toronto police handout photo. The anesthesiologist convicted of sexually assaulting 21 sedated women during surgeries has been sentenced to 10 years in prison. zoom

The Crown had asked for 12 to 15 years during the sentencing hearing earlier this month. The defence suggested eight to 10 years.

Doodnaught’s lawyer Brian Greenspan said that they are appealing the convictions but not the sentence. He would not comment on whether bail is being sought pending appeal.

In his lengthy judgment released in November following the 76-day trial, McCombs found that Doodnaught took advantage of his position in the operating room, concealed behind a sterile screen that separates patients’ upper and lower bodies.

Hidden from the doctors and nurses, Doodnaught fondled the breasts of sedated female patients, kissed their mouths and forced them to perform oral sex and masturbation, McCombs found.

In victim impact statements read to the court during the sentencing hearing, the women, whose names are protected by a publication ban, described how the assaults robbed them of the ability to trust anyone, particularly doctors.

Many of them have been diagnosed with depression and anxiety, some facing frequent panic attacks.

They struggle in relationships with their partners and children, have suffered financially due to difficulties working and fear undergoing any medical procedures or even being in a hospital.

Patients had made three formal sexual assault complaints to North York General Hospital about Doodnaught before a complaint in 2010 sparked a criminal investigation.

The hospital’s chief of anesthesiology was aware of the complaints but the senior hospital administration only learned of them after the 2010 complaint was made, McCombs found in his ruling.

Serious complaints about staff, including allegations of sexual assault, are now being reported directly to the hospital’s CEO.

Doodnaught may now face a disciplinary hearing with the Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons that could result in the loss of his licence.

Is pedophila a sexual orientation?

Let’s not get this twisted here, there are those people, with little intelligence who think ALL gays are pedophiles. Before you come to that idiotic misconception educate yourself, and get out of your fuckin home and learn about the world around you. I’m gay and I have zero interest in children sexually, it’s sick. It only brings outrage when I hear any type of abuse to children. But I am not here to justify gays.

There is no cure to pedophilia, courts can send these offenders to get help to suppress their feelings and not act out it requires intense therapy and in Canada the courts send these offenders for a couple of years, the USA sends them to jail for life. It’s a sick world and if you’re a parent it’s your duty to protect your children and trust no one. Victims create victims, it’s a cycle that keeps repeating itself.

Pedophilia has been widely viewed as a psychological disorder triggered by early childhood trauma.

Now, many experts see it as a biologically rooted condition that does not change — like a sexual orientation — thanks largely to a decade of research by Dr. James Cantor at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.

Cantor’s team has found that pedophiles share a number of physical characteristics, including differences in brain wiring. It’s now thought that about 1 to 5 per cent of men are pedophiles, meaning they are primarily attracted to children.

These findings have been widely accepted among scientists, but have had little impact on social attitudes or law. However, we are left with the alarming question: if some men are born pedophiles, what should society do with them?

Bolstered by this research, pedophiles who have never molested children are seeking social acceptance.

‘We can resist’

Ethan Edwards has always loved little girls.

For years, he told himself his feelings were protective and loving, nothing more. But when he hit 50, he found he couldn’t stifle his desires any longer.

“I realized that young girls certainly took my breath away, more than grown-ups are usually charmed by kids,” he says.

Edwards, using a pseudonym, wrote about this realization on Virtuous Pedophiles, a website he co-founded for pedophiles who have never molested children. The group says their attraction is one they were born with and cannot change, but can control.

Edwards says the goal of Virtuous Pedophiles is to prevent child abuse, by reducing the stigma against non-offender pedophiles.

“We do not choose to be attracted to children, and we cannot make that attraction go away,” reads the website, which has about 200 members.

“But we can resist the temptation to abuse children sexually, and many of us present no danger to children whatsoever. Yet we are despised for having a sexual attraction that we did not choose, cannot change, and successfully resist.”

The biology of pedophiles

Sitting inside his office at the College St. research hospital, Cantor is surrounded by books on sexology and eccentric decor — a framed sign that reads “Data Is My Porn,” a throw pillow that spells “penis” in Braille.

Down the hall at the Kurt Freund Phallometric Lab, Cantor’s research team conducts experiments on convicted sex offenders. The men view nude images of children and adults of both sexes, while a device measures blood flow to their penises.

The method, called phallometry and invented by Freund in the 1950s, accurately measures sexual interests in 90 per cent of men, Cantor says.

“It’s the most obvious test in the world,” he says. “The procedure gives us a relative measure of how he reacts to the adult categories versus the child categories.”

His team has found that pedophiles share many physical characteristics. They are shorter, on average, than other men. They are three times more likely to be left-handed or ambidextrous. Their IQs are about 10 to 15 points lower. Finally, they are more prone to childhood head injuries — which Cantor chalks up to a natural clumsiness.

These physical characteristics are determined before birth, so the explanation for pedophilia must be in part prenatal, Cantor says.

“It’s become harder and harder to explain pedophilia on just (early childhood events). It’s either purely biological or a mix of biological and experiential. But pure experience can’t explain these data.”

Cantor, an internationally respected clinical psychologist, has also conducted studies with sex offenders using MRIs. He has found they have less white matter — the connective tissue that carries messages to other parts of the brain — than other types of criminal offenders.

The evidence suggests pedophilia results from atypical wiring in the brain. Cantor calls it “cross-wiring”: the stimuli that usually evoke nurturing and protective reactions in adults is instead evoking sexual reactions in pedophiles.

Similar experiments are being conducted across the globe, most notably at Berlin’s Institute of Sexology and Sexual Medicine, but Cantor’s research has greatly influenced the view among researchers that pedophilia has a biological basis.

Pedophiles are thought to be overwhelmingly men. About a third of those men prefer boys, about a third prefer girls, and a third will be attracted to both.

Although female sex offenders exist, they are rare and it is more difficult to test their desires. Queen’s University sexologist Dr. Meredith Chiversconducted a similar genital-based test on women, but found, curiously, that females respond to everything — including images of bonobos copulating. (One theory is that during evolution, women developed this response as an automatic defence mechanism for rape.)

Some researchers disagree on whether the brain differences in pedophiles occurred before birth or in early development. Regardless, many are coming around to the view that pedophiles cannot be “cured” — but some can be stopped from molesting children.

Preventing child abuse

“Not all sex offenders who target children are pedophiles, and not all pedophiles are sex offenders,” says Dr. Michael Seto, a pedophilia expert and forensic researcher with the Royal Ottawa Health Care Group.

Seto, a former colleague of Cantor’s at CAMH, has found that only 50 to 60 per cent of convicted sex offenders are pedophiles. The rest have sexually abused children for reasons beyond attraction — personality disorders, chaotic households or violent impulses.

His research has focused on psychological traits shared by sex offenders, potentially providing insight into why some pedophiles molest children, while other “virtuous” pedophiles like Edwards are apparently able to control their urges.

Seto has found that sex offenders are much more likely to have a sexual abuse history than other types of criminal offenders. Certain traits, including impulsiveness, risk-taking behaviour, sexual preoccupation and lack of empathy, are also shared by sex offenders.

He has argued forcefully for pedophilia to be thought of as a sexual orientation — an idea he acknowledges is controversial, but hopes will actually help prevent child abuse.

“Right now, it’s really slanted so that the treatment services are for people who have gotten into trouble,” he says. “Obviously, we need that, but I think where there is a big gap is in terms of prevention. How do we reach people who are sexually attracted to children and are aware of it?”

One of the concerns with labelling pedophilia a sexual orientation is the potential for parallels to be drawn with homosexuality. Seto is quick to point out the difference between orientation based on age, and orientation based on gender.

However, if pedophilia was widely viewed as a sexual orientation, effective treatment could focus on self-regulation skills — avoiding acting on one’s urges — rather than trying in vain to change sexual preferences, he wrote in a research paper last year.

“Pedophiles will remain hidden if they continue to be hated and feared, which would impede efforts to better understand this sexual orientation and thereby prevent child sexual exploitation,” he wrote.

Mandatory reporting laws make it incredibly risky for pedophiles to tell therapists about their desires. In Canada, one is only required to report to the police if a specific child is at risk, but the laws can be misunderstood by mental health professionals, says Seto.

The Harper government recently announced tougher measures against child predators, including a public sex offender registry. Seto says this is misguided, given that the recidivism rate for convicted sex offenders is actually quite low, at about 10 to 15 per cent.

“One of the worries would be that would further drive individuals underground,” he says. “It could also lead to problems that decrease the likelihood they can successfully be integrated.”

Ironically, Cantor says the idea that pedophiles are born, not made, can be used to support opposing political views — some will say “lock ’em up and throw away the key,” while others will call for sympathy and therapy.

Cantor often receives emails from distraught men seeking guidance on controlling their desires. The side effect of strict mandatory reporting laws is that people don’t come in for help, he says.

Pedophiles among us

To the unassuming onlooker, Ethan Edwards leads an ordinary life in Pennsylvania. He is in his mid-50s and works as a software developer. He was married for more than a decade and raised three daughters. He is well-respected in his community.

But Edwards harbours a secret that, if exposed, threatens his entire livelihood and reputation. He is attracted to girls as young as 4 — and although he says he has never molested a child, his desire is enough to make him a monster in most people’s eyes.

“For me, the biggest problem with this is the isolation,” he says in an interview over Google Chat. “Everyone else thinks I’m sick and dangerous. Well, not everyone, but most of society.”

Edwards is actually a rarity among pedophiles, in that he managed to suppress his desires until he was middle-aged. Most pedophiles become aware of their urges at puberty or by the time they are young adults; many will describe their desires as romantic, not just sexual.

He is also able to maintain relationships with adult women — he says he was attracted to his wife while they were married. Perhaps surprisingly to some, he says he was never attracted to his daughters, citing an innate repulsion to incest.

Even now that he has accepted he is attracted to children, he swears that he will never act on his urges.

“I think it’s because my protective instinct towards children is so strong,” he says.

Edwards says he has never seen any child pornography. Instead he looks at seemingly innocuous photos of children — almost always wearing clothes, at least bathing suits. Cantor calls it “victimless,” although some might dispute that.

He launched his website with Nick Devin, also a middle-aged professional using a pseudonym, after meeting him on another support group, b4uact.org. Both felt sex with children was inherently wrong, and they wanted to create a website for other pedophiles with that view.

On Virtuous Pedophiles’s “First Words” page, pedophiles — many of them teenagers or young adults — describe their relief at finding the group.

“I am in my late 20s and have been dealing with unwanted attraction to young boys since I was a teenager,” writes one member. “Though I have never acted on these attractions with anyone, this is my primary sexual attraction, and it bothers me greatly. I have considered suicide many times.”

Many pedophiles online do not share the viewpoint of Edwards and Devin.

On some sites, anonymous writers advocate for lowering the age of consent.

“It should be clear to anyone with any grey matter that pedophilia is just another oppressed sexual orientation or interest, and age doesn’t somehow magically make consensual sex between two people into something evil,” writes one user.

Another writes: “Nobody will ever quite understand the pain that we feel . . . seeing and longing for something we love but cannot have . . . and if we reach for it . . . we are accused of being sadistic monsters who only want to hurt kids. It will not last forever. Things will change.”

Edwards says he is disturbed by the activists that are “pro-contact” and hopes that young, struggling pedophiles find his group first.