Archive for November, 2008|Monthly archive page

Sometimes orators are found

Friday, November 28th, 2008

Usually I flick right by cnn.com for obvious reasons, but I stopped tonight because Wolf was interviewing a Canadian man who was in the Oberoi in Mumbai and managed to escape and then get to the airport and safety.

Jonathan Ehrlich may be “just a businessman” who escaped terrorists who would have enjoyed killing him, but his responses to Wolf’s questions were articulate and honourable and thoughtful.

Wolf asked him about whether or not he felt that terrorism was going to be a problem before he went. He said no, but that it didn’t matter. He said that we cannot not go, because then they win. The minute we are too afraid to go there, they win. Mumbai is New York, and New York is Vancouver, and Vancouver is a small town in Texas. Doesn’t matter where you are, we are all alike. He doesn’t want the beautiful, friendly people of Mumbai to suffer beyond what these people are doing.

Wolf asked him about being Jewish. He said they have been singled out throughout history, but that they’re strong and that they will make it through this again. And he again encouraged people to book a ticket to Mumbai, to show that they cannot win.

He also emphasized that what the terrorists were looking for were Westerners, whether you’re left or right, liberal or conservative or democrat or republican, in the eyes of the men who carried out the massacre, you would have been fair game.

Ehrlich’s ability to get across a sensibility of inclusion and a calm and quietly strong perspective, despite his own personal experience and the decided slant of the station on which he was being interviewed, was a surprisingly beautiful thing.

Better than an “Attendance” badge at elementary school

Friday, November 28th, 2008

I was reading up on the Canadian Blog Awards – trolling for some new and interesting sites, and then I come across my site. This site. On the list.

check it out

Besides blushing like a schoolgirl at a Rick Springfield concert (it was a phase, okay?), I immediately pinged Melle to find out if she did it, and she says she didn’t, which means one of the other 7 discerning subscribers to this blog decided to write me in – how lovely!

But what I really want to say is that these kinds of things are a great opportunity to find some interesting people, interesting blogs, different viewpoints and more than enough material for worktime procrastination. So check it out: http://cdnba.wordpress.com/vote-2008/best-personal-blog/

Also, congrats to Melle and RoRo, who are also nominated in the personal blogs category, and Kate, who is nominated in the professional blogs category.

PI is the centre of the universe!

Thursday, November 27th, 2008

Professor Stephen Hawking to visit Perimeter Institute as Distinguised Research Chair

Prof. Hawking will conduct regular stays at PI in coming years, beginning
in the summer of ’09, and says, “I am honoured to accept the first
Distinguished Research Chair at the Perimeter Institute. The Institute’s twin
focus, on quantum theory and gravity, is very close to my heart and central to
explaining the origin of the Universe. I look forward to building a growing
partnership between PI and our Centre for Theoretical Cosmology, at Cambridge.
Our research endeavour is global, and by combining forces I believe we will
reap rich rewards.”

(Thanks for the heads up, Melle!)

Happy Thanksgiving….

Thursday, November 27th, 2008

to my American friends.

Giles: It’s clear we’re dealing with a spirit of some kind. It’s very common for Indian spirits to change to animal form.
Buffy: It’s plenty uncommon for me to freeze up during a fight. I mean, I had the guy, I was ready for the take-down, and I stopped. And Native American.
Giles: Sorry?
Buffy: We don’t say “Indian.”
Giles: Oh, right. Yes, yes. Um, always behind on the terms. Still trying not to refer to you lot as “bloody colonials.”

Xander: Can we come rocketing back to the part about me and my new syphilis?
Anya: It’ll make you blind and insane, but it won’t kill you. The smallpox will.

Spike: “A bear! You made a bear!”
Buffy: “Well, I didn’t mean to!”

Dignity

Sunday, November 23rd, 2008

In Blind Faith, Ben Elton writes a world “post-flood” (due to global warming) in which London is over-crowded and religion, the “Big Love”, has taken over control of a society in which serial monogamy is the one true way, and everyone must celebrate their godliness with a constant stream of blogging and vidding of their lives. It’s mandatory to post your “cherry pop” and every sexual encounter you have after that – the glory of the cooch. Obesity is standard, because eating is part of the glory. Dress is minimal, and the protagonist Stafford stumbles toward work in a crush of flabby asses and swaying fake breasts (because these too are glory to go and Diana-an angel in the new world order).

There are videos on KFC buckets, and in every home and on every surface in public transport – a constant stream of interaction where your neighbour can watch you and you can watch your neighbour. Cooch and all. Reading, particularly anything by the heretic Darwin is strictly forbidden. As is child inoculations, which leads to huge infant mortality rates, and that is what propels the story forward.

Stafford falls in love with a woman in his office. Because she keeps things private. She covers herself (he’s never seen her belly button). In short, she has dignity in a world where dignity is dangerous because it implies thinking for oneself.

A quick perusal of the twittersphere and the social networks certainly reveals some fuel for Elton’s imaginings. There is a whole world of people out there who think nothing of telling you about their sex lives, their personal relationship and/or dancing for your viewing pleasure in lingerie (and that’s not even the porn).

It’s been a choice for me to not be too “intimate” here, to not name names that aren’t aware of it, to not tell you all of the details of my true private feelings or my daily loves or heartbreaks. I wince away from this perpetual need of some to reveal everything in full colour and multiple formats. At its worst, there is not much left that doesn’t look like an endless stream of fake happiness, shallow performance and the embarrassing embodiment of the “entitled” generation.

I’ve read some bloggers recently who have stopped writing altogether. Others who have made declarations that their blogs will no longer be quite so personal, or raw. It’s quite telling that many of them came to this decision based on the number of ranting comments they’ve received when they have been open, or the cyberfriends who get offended by a perceived slight. Mostly because for every human thing you do (like wish you could drug your child that won’t go to sleep) brings out hate like you wouldn’t believe. Often cloaked in religion or “family values” – what in Elton’s world becomes the hypocritical theocracy that abhors reason.

A dip in the twitterstream can feel like bathing in a fast-running stream of crap sweetened with aspartame. Who knew that 140 characters is all one needs to bare everything that people don’t really need to know? It’s not everyone, of course, but it might explain why I am still finding it hard to engage with that particular platform. That kind of stuff for me is really better among friends. Flesh friends.

Not to say there isn’t good stuff too, else I wouldn’t have a couple hundred feeds and my own domain. I follow more than I’m followed, I’m sure. Lurk way more than I comment. Enjoy some amazing writing, some different worldviews and clap my hands when a strange and wonderous link comes my way. I’m not saying don’t engage, but I think we need to always be aware of what we are giving away in that relationship.

Technology will find us. Engagement is a part of our future. But I hope that we will continue to strive for dignity.

Beyond the Werewolf and the Vampire

Sunday, November 23rd, 2008

If you’ve been watching True Blood, you really ought to check out Jacob’s TWoP post. His writing as worthy as te best dialogue in the ep. Almost as good as the Buffy heyday.

Yipyipyip

Friday, November 21st, 2008

OMG, thank you Topless Robot for reminding me why Jim Henson was freakin’ brilliant.

My #1 though, is definitely the Yipyip Martians. I see this and I can’t help but smile big and laugh out loud, and you know I’ll be going all yipyipyip and nopenopenope for the rest of the day.

One word meme

Thursday, November 20th, 2008

Stolen from Melle who stole it from Violet

You have to answer each question with one word, and one only.

1. Where is your cell phone? Couch
2. Where is your significant other? Dreams
3. Your hair color? Blondish
4. Your mother? North
5. Your father? South
6. Your favorite thing? Kittehs
7. Your dream last night? Violent
8. Your dream/goal? Comfort
9. The room you’re in? Living
10. Your hobby? Books
11. Your fear? Vulnerability
12. Where do you want to be in six years? Home
13. Where were you last night? Home
14. What you’re not? Fluffy
15. One of your wish list items? Fireplace
16. Where you grew up? Border
17. The last thing you did? Read
18. What are you wearing? Flannel
19. Your T.V.? On
20. Your pet? Cat
21. Your computer? Patsy
22. Your mood? Tired
23. Missing someone? Nope
24. Your car? Dented
25. Something you’re not wearing? Bra
26. Favorite store? Book
27. Your Summer? Fine
28. Love someone? Yep
29. Your favorite color? Moss
30. When is the last time you laughed? Today
31. Last time you cried? Dunno

Travels

Monday, November 17th, 2008

From when I was about 3 until I was about 15, my family made the semi-annual trek up north. It was about 7 hours to drive it. We were allowed 1, maybe 2, rest stops, so I learned young how to hold my bladder and monitor fluid intake. And we weren’t really allowed to talk. Especially when we went through Toronto. My father has never like driving in that city and never will.

I think it was the late 70′s when we had this chevy van that kind of looked like this:

except it was blue with a white strip, so naturally it was the “Pepsi van”.

We would pack up the van the night before, even if it was December or January, except for the sleeping bags and pillows so that they’d be nice and warm when we got ready to go. We always left about 4 o’clock in the morning to avoid “those assholes in Toronto”. As the oldest, I got to lie down in the back of the van, snuggled in my sleeping bag with a book. (Of course, this was in the days when it was absolutely acceptable to have unharnessed children supine in a moving vehicle among unrestrained bags and piles of junk food).

I was really good at not talking. I read with my flashlight, slept sometimes, and tried to make sure my head was positioned so that I could see the world upside-down. Power lines moving through my field of vision like undulating waves that marked a path from city to city.

I always made sure that I was awake if we took the DVP. Back then it had special orange streetlights and we were all convinced that they smelt like cheese. “It smells like cheese!” I’d say, and one of my parents would solemly reply, “Yes, I smell cheese too.” Sometimes that would be our entire conversation until we stopped for pancakes. I never did figure out WHY we took the DVP when we were trying to get to the 400, but there you go. I should ask my Dad.

After the Pepsi van, we got a swanky green and white Chevy Suburban with a built-in 8-track. That beast was the size of a hummer and probably consumed gas at a rate that would make Dick Cheney grin. Our silent journeys turned into replays of The Eagles and Supertramp, but I still got to lie down in the back with my sleeping bag where I could see the wires and treetops and the snow coming down onto my face.

Where scotchneat is very social, and entertained

Thursday, November 13th, 2008

Quite the week here in the K-dub! On Monday night, Melle and Andrew and I joined hundreds of “very special” people to see Penn and Teller at the Centre in the Square, courtesy of Sandvine. The show was awesome, but I’m still not sure how they got to the local by-law police and/or turned off every fire detection device in the building since they lit some torches, completed a few other fire-related tricks, AND got permission to light cigarettes in a public building (I’m sure there must be some Arts Council codicil).

They did some classics (“levitating” a woman and taking her picture) as well as a new one for Penn where he used a nail gun to randomly shoot at a) a slab of wood on steel table or b) himself (hand, neck, the boys). As per usual, he explained how he was doing it as he was doing it, and in this case, he had removed a certain number of nails from the strip and remembered the pattern. My theory is that he memorized it like a song, so he only needs to know the notes. He’s a musician after all. I told my Dad about it but he says he doesn’t want to try it.

Teller did some great sleight of hand and did a thing with a flower and a shadow and a knife that is apparently well known to people who are not me. Only problem was the ding-dong about two rows in front of us who thought that Penn’s monologue on circus dudes was a good time to engage in a full conversation with her friend. I was really close to the lean and tap, or maybe lean and punch.

Anyway, Wednesday night I went out for dinner with the lovely and talented Melissa. Ben Thanh’s. Yummy soup and curry. I’ll forgive her that she’s a dog person but we both acknowledge that a cat is much more likely to deface the body should one keel over alone after choking on chinese food.

And then today I went out for lunch with the Sheriff (Melle’s term, but apt). We made it through the value of “they” as a gender-neutral pronoun, cynical optimism, failblog and misanthropic charity.

It’s also been an excellent tv week. The ending of House was brilliant. I would not have forgiven them if House had veered from character and broke through his internal cage, so to speak. And the juxtaposition with Cameron and the agoraphobic guy was great. Hugh Laurie is muy hawt. And Bones came out of the dreck that has been its writing quality this year for a pretty good show. Loved the background on Seeley, and the return of the best intern, and the Booth brother story. Angela’s take on Brennan’s attraction to Booth the younger was “bang on”, pardon the pun. Opening was pretty splatastic as well. Which segues nicely over to True Blood, with and equally splatastic scene, more amazingly quirky characters, and another ending where the writers had the balls to stay the course. Bill is no vampire with a soul.

Tomorrow is a day off. Well, a day away from work but where I will brave retail holiday stress in an effort to the worse rage that will probably occur if I attempt to enter a mall any time after December 1st. Spirit of the Season and all that.