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William Matheson's Journal

Dec. 31st, 2015

06:56 pm - NFL Week 17 Guide

Time (ET) Canadian-accessible Carrier Away (Record) Home (Record) At Stake
1 pm none Jaguars 5-10 Texans 8-7 Texans win guarantees AFC South title but they are virtually certain to get it anyway
1 pm (available on CBS Cleveland) Steelers 9-6 Browns 3-12 Steelers can get wild card spot with win and Jets concurrent loss
1 pm RDS, CTV Ontario, Winnipeg, Alberta, BC, CKPR, CHEX, CKWS, CITL (also CBS Buffalo, Detroit, and all along the border in Western Canada) Jets 10-5 Bills 7-8 Jets win guarantees wild card spot; Bills QB Tyrod Taylor gets $1M bonus with a few snaps; Bills coach Rex Ryan formerly coach of Jets, would be motivated to knock Jets out of playoffs
1 pm CTV Montreal, Atlantic (also CBS Boston) Patriots 12-3 Dolphins 5-10 Patriots win guarantees AFC #1 seed; Patriots QB Tom Brady needs 364 passing yards to reach 5,000 this year
1 pm none Titans 3-12 Colts 7-8 Titans loss ensures #1 pick; Colts can theoretically get AFC South with a win and a whole bunch of upsets the same day
1 pm TSN 2, CTV Saskatchewan (also Fox Boston, Cleveland) Ravens 5-10 Bengals 11-4 Bengals can get first-round bye if they win and Broncos lose in the late game
1 pm (available on Fox Seattle, Spokane, etc..) Redskins 8-7 Cowboys 4-11 Not much; whether or not Redskins go to playoffs with winning record
1 pm none Saints 6-9 Falcons 8-7 Nothing. Two non-playoff teams.
1 pm (available on Fox Detroit, Duluth, etc..) Lions 6-9 Bears 6-9 Nothing. Two non-playoff teams.
1 pm (available on Fox Buffalo, Rochester, etc..) Eagles 6-9 Giants 6-9 Nothing. Two non-playoff teams. (Pat Shurmur interim head coach for Eagles. Also, the loser of this game will play the Rams in London next season, by dint of being 3rd place in the NFC East.)
5:25 pm none Rams 7-8 49ers 4-11 Nothing. Two non-playoff teams.
5:25 pm none Buccaneers 6-9 Panthers 14-1 Panthers win guarantees NFC #1 seed
5:25 pm TSN 2 (also Fox Cleveland) Raiders 7-8 Chiefs 10-5 Chiefs can win AFC West title with win and Broncos concurrent loss
5:25 pm CTV Ontario, Montreal, Atlantic, CKPR, CHEX, CKWS (also all transborder CBS stations) Chargers 4-11 Broncos 11-4 Broncos win guarantees AFC West division title and first-round bye, even AFC #1 seed if Patriots lose early game; Will Peyton Manning play?
5:25 pm RDS, CTV BC, Alberta, Winnipeg, Saskatchewan, CITL (also Fox Boston, Buffalo, Detroit, and along the border in Western Canada) Seahawks 9-6 Cardinals 13-2 Cardinals can steal NFC #1 seed with win and Panthers loss; Seahawks can get higher wild card seed with win and Vikings loss in night game
9:30 pm TSN 1,4,5, RDS (also all NBC stations) Vikings 10-5 Packers 10-5 NFC North division title (home playoff game), loser in playoffs as a wild card; Vikings RB Adrian Peterson likely to win rushing title, currently leads by 310 yards

Clinched playoff, hoping to improve seeding

Clinched playoff, nothing to play for

In hunt for playoffs

Out of playoffs

Current Location: Souris, PE

Oct. 15th, 2015

02:03 pm - Election 2015: Poll Opening & Closing Times / ALCS Game 3

Poll opening and closing times are determined by time zone.

Elections Canada: "Voting Hours Across Canada"

Elections Canada's table is in local time for each zone, but my table below translates the times to every other zone. For example, to find the relative opening and closing times of a poll in Toronto, Ontario, which is in the Eastern Time Zone, look along the third row from left to right - that Toronto poll closes at 9:30pm local time (highlighted in bold), which is equivalent to 6:30pm Pacific (looking left) or 11:00pm Newfoundland Time (looking right).

The last polls to close are those in the Pacific Time zone. For this election, it's mostly a matter of curiosity as to when the first results will trickle in, but last time a ban existed on publicly disseminating the results before the last polls closed. It was widely flouted and the law was changed.

The purpose of this chart last time was to show people when, in their local time zone, it would be legal to publicly disseminate the results. The purpose this time is to encourage people to vote even though the Toronto Blue Jays will be playing Game 3 of the American League Championship Series at the Rogers Centre and millions of people will want to be watching. The game will start around 8pm Eastern.

The Globe and Mail: "A very Canadian predicament: Vote or watch the Jays?"

Two important things to note from that article:

Anyway, if you're curious you can use my chart to find the opening and closing times of polls across the country in terms of your local time: if you live in Toronto, look up and down the sixth column to see that Newfoundland Time Zone polls close at 7:00pm your time, your polls close at 9:30pm your time (highlighted in bold), and the Pacific Time Zone polls close at 10:00pm your time.

As you can see, this is also the chart for opening times - simply read "am" where "pm". Most of Saskatchewan does not observe Daylight Time, which is currently in effect elsewhere. I could have titled the other columns "... Daylight", but that would have confused even more people. In the few cases where a riding spans more than one time zone (e.g. Nunavut), a common closing time is determined in advance. Results begin to be tabulated immediately after the polls for the riding have closed. For more information, consult the Elections Canada website.

Finally, get out and vote! And Let's Go Blue Jays!

Poll Opening (am) and Closing Times (pm) for the 42nd General Election, October 19th 2015

Zone of Poll Pacific Mountain Central Standard (SK) Central Eastern Atlantic Newfoundland
Newfoundland 4:00 5:00 5:00 6:00 7:00 8:00 8:30
Atlantic 4:30 5:30 5:30 6:30 7:30 8:30 9:00
Eastern 6:30 7:30 7:30 8:30 9:30 10:30 11:00
Central 6:30 7:30 7:30 8:30 9:30 10:30 11:00
Central Standard (SK) 6:30 7:30 7:30 8:30 9:30 10:30 11:00
Mountain 6:30 7:30 7:30 8:30 9:30 10:30 11:00
Pacific 7:00 8:00 8:00 9:00 10:00 11:00 11:30
Blue Jays! 5:00pm 6:00pm 6:00pm 7:00pm 8:00pm 9:00pm 9:30pm
Hours of concurrency 2 1.5 1.5 1.5 1.5 0 0

Here is a visualization of the staggered polling hours, in terms of Eastern Time:


Current Location: Bedford, NS
Current Mood: determineddetermined

Mar. 24th, 2015

12:07 pm - How to cold call employers

Have been cold calling not-entirely-impossible potential employers. It is a bit tense, but there have been numerous kind and reasonable people on the other end of the line.

Here are some opening lines that I used. Feel free to adapt them to your own needs. You can just fill in the blanks.

"Hi my name is ___ I'm looking for a job god help me please oh god help"

"Hi my name is ___ and I'm looking to expand my network. Will you be my friend?"

"Hi my name is ___ and I'm a recent graduate of ___. I notice you went there too. So you know that it's really shit, but you also know that we can both do this work. Please call me at ___."

"Hi my name is ___ and I'm looking for a job. Oh, you're just a 1-person shop? Okay, let me tell you about something I noticed on your website. You say that the name of your company is a 'play-on-words', but it's more specifically a portmanteau. Like how smog is smoke + fog, or how you take Clarkson + software to make Clarkware- Hello? Hello?"

"Hi my name is ___ and I'm trying to get into the ___ field. Do you have a problem with people with scary-looking beards? I just want to make sure you don't discriminate against beards before we go any farther." (Even if you do not yourself have a beard, this is still a good script because everybody should love beards.)

"Hi my name is ___ and my classmate ___ works at your firm. I helped him/her on an assignment once, so he/she owes me and should put in a good word for me. I need a job, too. When can I start?"

"Hi my name is ___ and I need to pretend to be employed so I can get the line of credit I need to finance a big cash deal tonight. Could I trouble you to verify that I'm a VP there and make $200K? Thanks very much."

Good luck!

Current Mood: accomplishedaccomplished

Feb. 25th, 2015

06:51 pm - The Golden Age of Liberty: We have gay marriage!

I think it's fantastic that equality and human rights are defined by gay marriage.

Truly, we live in a new Golden Age of Liberty.

We must. Gay marriage is the pinnacle of human rights. When they have gay marriage in Iran, everything will be alright.

Here in North America, now that well-to-do people held in considerable social esteem who are in age numerically qualified to have the fullest rights that we allow can achieve a protected status with one other well-to-do person of comparable social esteem at a time who is in age numerically qualified to have the fullest rights that we allow, from the same generation, and no more closely related than 999th cousin, regardless of the sameness or opposition of the genitals or chromosomes or gender identities between said people, there is literally nothing left to do!

Yes, yes, there are extremists saying we should question our notions of what is acceptable, but they are a bunch of Queer Marxist Bolshevik Socialist Communist Leftist Liberal Hippies - pay no attention to them.

But gay marriage! Yay!

Current Location: Bedford, NS
Current Mood: exhaustedexhausted

Feb. 6th, 2015

10:16 pm - Re: “Language murky around sex assaults”

A letter I wrote to the Chronicle Herald, regarding a piece on the language used in reporting sexual assaults:

If the justice system is to be fair, it would seem that a determinedly even-handed treatment of evidence and the law is required even in the most explosive cases. We need to maintain this in our discourse. “Alleged” and “accused” must be used in reporting all undecided criminal cases, including sexual violence. If a reporter accepts innocent until proven guilty, a fundamental tenet of our legal system, their use of these words should be ubiquitous and should not affect a reportee’s credibility. How could they, if they’re used evenly across all types of cases?

Of course, perhaps they are not used evenly in all cases and this merits closer examination. (Numbers would be helpful – I’ll leave that as an exercise for the reporter so she can support her own claim.) If we applied extra linguistic precautions to sexual assault cases that we don’t use anywhere else, that would indeed be unfair to the true survivors. We must treat all types of cases fairly and not isolate our demands for fairness to this one domain.

I would also like to see numbers about the probability of false accusations for sexual assault relative to other domains, though reliable statistical work would be extremely challenging for both inborn and extrinsic reasons. However, even if this claim has strong support, it’s a red herring because each case must be judged on its individual merits. Imagine a change to the justice system where, since 75% of accused of crime Z were found guilty anyway, we simply convict everyone accused of crime Z since there’s a 75% chance we’ll be right.

Update: Lowe found some numbers, see blog.

Innocent until proven guilty necessarily means alleged until proven survivor. We need not go to extremes to speak of how they might be lying. We can offer assistance and support to the alleged without having to make a verdict. This is hard work: It’s much easier to deal in absolutes and strict categories. But when we think that way, a lot of important principles get thrown under the bus.

If we stop upholding innocent until proven guilty in our discourse, the politicians and even the courts themselves won’t be far behind. As terrible as assault and killing are, we also have to step back and allow fair and independent adjudication, because an unfair and capricious justice system would be both less effective and become its own new evil.

* * *

I give this a longer treatment in a formal blog post: "Justice for all".

Current Location: Bedford, NS
Current Mood: hungryhungry

Nov. 18th, 2014

12:00 pm - Re: "The sex offender no one suspects"

A letter I wrote to Maclean's, regarding a report on female teacher sexual transgressors:

Anne Kingston’s thesis, that the treatment of female teachers who become sexually involved with their male students reflects legal and cultural double standards, is borne out, but I hope that we don’t solve this double standard by making female teacher offenders and their (sometimes-unwilling-to-be) victims as miserable as their male counterparts and theirs.

Given the extreme consequences we mete out to sexual transgressors, we must more than ever before reflect on how we know that our outlawed sexualities are innately harmful - that is, damaging by their nature, beyond their violent, life-destroying extrinsic consequences. The exacerbating effects of the secrecy and isolation necessary in these teacher-student relationships also merits analysis. It is akin to how getting gunned down by the mob would have been an attendant risk of trading in alcohol during Prohibition.

Psychology has before failed to test assumptions based on social norms, with tragic results. Only in 1973 did the American Psychiatric Association declassify homosexuality as a mental disorder. Furthermore, mandating the status of victim on people who don’t want it is inhumane. There’s also something sinister about insisting that someone is hurt in an invisible way and might not even know it. It should be regarded as skeptically as we would Recovered-Memory Therapy and Facilitated Communication.

Robert Shoop’s mechanisms for the alleged damage could have been used to defend prohibiting premarital sex. He’s a specialist in education law, not a scientist or even a psychologist. The ‘damage’ from doing the inappropriate thing is an increased propensity to do the inappropriate thing. Similarly, if someone takes me jogging, and I enjoy it, I have an increased propensity to jog. And I might have difficulty settling for walking anymore – why walk when I can jog? But jogging, fortunately, isn’t illegal.

William Matheson
Sherbrooke NS

* * *

Dear Mr. Matheson,
Thank you for your letter.

It will be considered for publication, but final decisions are not made until the final moments of the magazine's production, and no letter's inclusion can be guaranteed. If you do not want it considered for publication, let us know immediately.

Meanwhile, it has been forwarded to the author of the article, who will appreciate the feedback.

All the best,

* * *

I give this a much, much longer treatment in a formal blog post: "Mandatory Victimhood: In light of female teacher transgressors, let’s examine our assumptions". Writing this letter was an opportunity to distill my message into 300 words or less fewer.

Current Location: Sherbrooke, NS

Sep. 9th, 2014

03:36 pm - A river runs rantant

For a September 4th writing workshop class:

A thing that you have to get used to about rivers is the one-way ness. It's not necessarily impossible to swim upstream, but it's often exceedingly difficult. You might not even be able to hold your place. If you're headed for the rocks, you might be able to reduce the impact forces infinitesimally, but you can forget about getting back up to a place where you can walk out of the water.

How much are our lives like the plight of the river swimmer? People say "don't blame your circumstances, make them", but everything about your ability to make new circumstances comes from your existing circumstances. Things are complex and therefore all but theoretically unpredictable, yes, but that doesn't mean we should expect a Target in Sherbrooke tomorrow.


Our myths of a meritocracy might be a momentary delusion. At the very least, its newness is worth bearing in mind. Would you tell a medieval peasant that he could become a king if only he worked harder? If network marketing pays better than looking after your sister's children, does that mean top-tier Amway distributors are simply more worthy? No, those things aren't mutually exclusive, but there are limits to our time and energy. Things that we can't imagine are possible, but not everything we can imagine is possible.

The merciless river won't allow us to be perfectionists. We have to work with what we have - if we try to reach for the calmer upstream waters, we guarantee a close and personal meeting with something hidden, jagged, coarse, and very hard.

Here is an excerpt from Ecclesiastes:

Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.

I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.

Perfectionists are necessarily narcissists. For us, that first verse reads:

Whatsoever thy mighty hand findeth to do, do it with thine almighty power; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, wither thou may go, therefore set thine everlasting works upon the earth and let them shine for ever more.

And then you're frustrated when things don't work out. And then you're frustrated because you're frustrated, because things are just supposed to work out. It must be somebody else's problem. They just don't understand how great I am. I admit, sometimes such greatness can be intimidating.

I used to believe that being a perfectionist was a compliment. Perhaps in certain circumstances is still is. But if you're the only one who cares about the "perfection", it might be time to readjust your priorities.

What were we talking about? Something about how great I was? Oh, no, the river.

We're lucky to have the rocky rapids, really. It's a wonder somebody didn't try to make it navigable. Imagine if you could ship your whale oil and ceiling wax up to Lochaber Lake, and ship timber down? Log drives, at least, were apparently common. I wouldn't want to be among those responsible for clearing a jam in the rapids. Sometimes, though perhaps not around here, they used dynamite.

There used to be lots and lots of salmon, too. Today there is only a recreational catch-and-release fishery, and that only some years. If you'd like to meet some friendly people in green trucks, head out onto the river with your fishing gear.

Acceptance is the word of the day. Whether you're lost in a river, trying to find a job, or spending some time in the crowbar saloon after your fishing trip, do the best you can with what you have, and try not to whine so hard that it drowns out the forest breeze and the calls of the wild creatures. Go ahead and drown out the Sherbrooke lawn mower brigade, though. In fact, put holes in all the gas tanks. You have my blessing. Just don't let anyone see you, or you'll be hearing about all the best salmon spots.

Current Location: Sherbrooke, NS

Aug. 20th, 2014

01:14 pm - Will Matheson in the Mystery of the No Mystery

For an August 7th writing workshop class:

I heard the satisfying crunch of the gravel as I sped down the driveway. Hearing the crunch at 3am was somehow different from hearing it at noon. Perhaps the darkness of night impelled me to divert extra attention to my hearing.

The tunnel of trees eventually gave way to reveal the house. The lights that were always on at night were on. The lights that weren't always on were off. The interior lights were off. The barn lights were off. The ... the upstairs bathroom light was on.

I must have just left it on when I left. But I left during the day, so why would I have turned that light on? The window lets in plenty of light.

I parked the car, slowly engaging the hand brake with what would otherwise be reassuring clicks. Engine off. The sounds of the door opening and closing must have carried a long way through the still night air and probably also across the still water of the nearby lake.

Though it wasn't as if anyone were trying to hear.

At least probably not.

I stepped lightly but briskly to the back door. The part where I walk from the car to the house is when I'm most vulnerable to predators. I hear bears can get to the Human McNuggets inside a car but in a car I could probably forcefully drive away provided too much of the bear wasn't already in or on the car. In the house I can shut the doors and barricade myself somewhere like the bathroom. No place is perfectly safe, but between the car and the house I am the least safe.

Step, step, step, turn knob, pull, step, turn myself, pull... exhale! I'm in!

I'm in the house I'm staying in, but it's not my house. It belonged to my grandparents and it is mostly still laid out the way they had it. As I step into the kitchen, turning on lights as I go along, a hundred little porcelain turtles eye me carefully.

"Hello?" I call out.

No response.

I walk to the other end of the kitchen and approach the stairs up. I see the bathroom light on at the top.

"Anyone in there?"


The green glow of the stair chair, parked at the bottom, illuminates the opening steps. I climb them. Then the bathroom light takes over for the top steps. I climb those.

"Is there someone in the bathroom?"

"Y at-il quelqu'un dans la salle de bain?"

"Czy jest ktoś w łazience?"

I hear nothing but silence. I step into the bathroom. In the bathroom I find...

"Amy, what's a scary thing you could find in a bathroom? In a scary story."

"Evidence of someone else being there? Like different coloured hair in your hairbrush? The toilet paper mounted facing the other way than you normally have it? The guest towel has been used?"

"How about a pin? Provided it's sitting on top of a package of condoms."

I found none of those things. I turned out the light. But... absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Whatever or whoever it was could still be in the house right now. Oooooooo.

That was a terrible scary story but at least it was original. The last time I tried to write one I just stole a story from one I read in a collection. Unfortunately, someone else in my class had read that collection and after I told "my" story, he said he'd heard it before. That was scarier for me than the story I retold.

Current Location: Sherbrooke, NS

01:02 pm - To my Master (Lock)

From a July 10th writing workshop class:

O Master... Lock
You are so shiny, wearing your thick sandwiched plates
You could stop a bullet
I saw it on YouTube

Your keyhole is like two letter Ls - an upside down one and a backwards on perched on the end of it.
I'd love to open you up and see how you work
But you're patented
And I lost your key

You are Master Lock number 22.
22nd in a proud line of Master Locks.
Who is the most Masterful Master?
Master Lock number 1? Or Master Lock number 315?
Where were you patented? Do all the other locks from the other manufacturers acknowledge your supremacy?

Secure all my belongings, O Master Lock.
Keep those other junior high kids from stealing my books and leaving them in the toilet.
Keep them from playing keep away with my things at recess.
Keep them from discovering my use of the women's underwear section of the Zellers flyer as my locker liner.

You give no clue as to where you were made.
Were you Made in the USA, land of the free?
Were you Made in a Chinese factory just for me?
Have you travelled farther than I'll ever go?
Have you locked the poetry in a 14-year-old girl's journal?
You are as inscrutable as she was.

Current Location: Sherbrooke, NS

12:48 pm - Where I'm from

From a July 10th writing workshop class:

I am from not-quite-the-sea. An Island surrounded by water*, but I grew up on a farm. I never liked fishing. I don't like seafood.

Similarly, I majored in English but I studiously avoided poetry, as one professor put it.

But I smelled the sea on the boat and it meant I was going somewhere. I find the smell of the sea exciting. Now if only I could travel on it.

It's our right to leave Canada. But no other country is obliged to take you. But the Sea has no countries. The Sea is always open.

Smell of travel
Sight of distance
Feeling of adventure
Taste of possibilities
Sound of emptiness
No countries
Always open
Farmboy on a boat

* - Waitaminit, aren't all islands... yeah. Silly Will.

Current Location: Sherbrooke, NS

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