Sunday, November 24, 2013

How to Fix the Bus System

I've been trying without much success to get my former classmates to come forward and explain just why I deserved to get kicked out of university. I got quite a few responses to my last blogpost on this topic, but most of them were just generally abusive, with very few people actually coming forth with specifics. These are the things that people came up with:

1. An incident in class where I told the prof I didn't like his method of using power-point presentations.
2. Another incident where I went up to the blackboard to make some kind of point.
3. An incident where I disagreed with the prof about using rubrics to mark assignments.
4. A habit I had of wagging my finger in the air when I wanted to ask a question or make a comment.
5. Telling a professor he was biased because he gave me a low mark.

Come on, all you haters out there, you've got to to better than that. Oddly enough, none of these points are even mentioned in the letter I got from the Registrar listing the complaints that had been filed against me. (That letter is posted elsewhere on this blog. You can find it if you look for it.) But that's not what motivated me to write today. One of my detractors, in the course of trying to portray me as a kind of "nutcase", said something peculiar about me trying to "redesign Manitoba's transit system".

If that makes me a nutcase, then I have to plead guilty. Yes, I did try to redesign Winnipeg's bus system a few years ago, because I don't think we need to spend 2 billion dollars on rapid transit. We already spent the first 200 million on the first leg, and this week they announced they're committing another 600 million to complete the link to the U of M. So we're well on our way to 2 billion dollars.

The politicians are big on sexy mega-projects, but there isn't much interest in doing the little things that could actually make a difference. I figured out a way to re-design the bus routes using the existing fleet and infrastructure so that people could actually get from point A to point B a lot faster. I think it's a pretty good plan, so I drew up all my routes and put them up on a website. You can see the plan here:

How to Build A Better Bus System

I think it's a pretty good plan. The idea was to concentrate the existing busses on a smaller number of routes, to cut down on the waiting time. The tradeoff is that there's a little more walking time. I think it's a pretty good system. I'd rather walk a little farther than stand around waiting like an idiot.

When I used to explain this to people, some of them said "what about the elderly and the handicapped?" I used to tell them if you design a bus system for the benefit of the elderly and the handicapped, then that's who you're going to find riding the buses. If you're interested in attracting busy people who need to get from point A to point B in a hurry, then you need to design the system for those people.

I still think that's true. The irony is that the city planners seem to agree with me. They just have a different solution. Instead of re-designing the system for they busy people with places to go, they're keeping the old system in place (for the elderly and handicapped) and designing a whole new system (rapid transit) for the busy people with places to go. It's a great idea if you have an extra 2 billion dollars kicking around that you need to spend. I still think I had a pretty good plan.

And getting back to the original topic, I'm still accepting posts from former classmates who want to explain to my readers just what I did that got me kicked out of university. But please no more "just being continuously obnoxious every single day". Actual details is what we want. Is that really asking too much? Inquiring minds want to know.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

The Top Five Most Obnoxious Things I've Done

Every once in a while a former classmate feels motivated to weigh in on the discussion here, usually to tell me I got what I deserved. Usually I try to ask them exactly what it was that I did that got them so riled up, but like the anonymous poster last week, they just go silent all of a sudden. So in two years of posting, with over a hundred feedback comments including participation from around half a dozen self-professed former classmates, no one has described an actual outrage that they personally witnessed me committing.

Now, to be fair, they generally don't accuse me of what you might call outrages. It's more just general, ongoing disruptive and obnoxious interference with the professors who are just trying to do their job. As the most recent Anonymous said before checking out,

"I dont remember specifics, Im doing report cards right now since I graduated and found myself a job. I do remember leaving class on multiple occasions when you started up on a rant and made it back in after several minutes and you were still spewing your nonsense. You should have maybe looked around once in a while and gauged your audience, something a teacher should often do. You would have seen the looks of disgust, confusion and disagreement on 99% of the faces."

As I pointed out last week, it's hard to believe you would actually stand up and walk out of class on multiple occasions and then not remember exactly what it was that motivated you to make such a drastic gesture. But the point is, what Anonymous and others like her are saying is that I would interrupt the lecture to pick a pointless fight with the professor, disrupting the class and wasting everyone's time. That much is clear.

So what I'd like is to have people to come forward, people who were in my class, and nominate the five most pointless, obnoxious arguments that I picked with any prof in any class. It shouldn't be that hard. Just remember the topic that I chose to make a point of, or any words that I actually said. Anonymous said in another post that there was at least one such incident every single day for the nine weeks I was in the program. So it shouldn't be that hard to come up with a top five.

And for bonus marks: Anonymous made a particular point about what she seems to identify as a kind of trademark gesture of mine involving waving a finger around. She mentions it twice, so I don't think it's an accident. For example in response to my request for a specific example of how I "disrupted her learning":

"Every day when you were waving your finger around trying to get the profs attention then just went on a rant for upwards of 10 minutes on plenty of occasions."

I wonder if anyone else remembers the finger-waving as being a characteristic gesture of mind, or whether there's any particular context to this. I have my own theory but I'm wondering what people might say.

But first of all, let's see if we can get people to come forward and name the five "most obnoxious" moments in Marty Green's short stint as an Education Student at the U of W. The nominations are wide open. Just try to be a little more specific than anyone has been so far.