Friday, November 10, 2006

Hidden in Plain View

I've just read a great book called Hidden in Plain Veiw: A Secret Story of Quilts and the Underground Railroad. The writting style was not my favorite, but the ideas that people used quilts to send secret messages to escaping slaves during the 1800's is really cool. The authors did extensive research into the symbols used and their african origins that affected many quilt patterns still used today. Even the way the knots were tied was a code for something. The book mentions other things such as songs, disguises, escape routes and the heroic people who made a difference. It is a dramatic story that really happened. I have gained a better appreciation, not only for the underground railroad, but also for quilting. maybe i'll make one.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

a brave and startling truth

poem by Maya Angelou read at the 50th anneversary of the UN.

WE this people, on a small and lonely planet
Traveling through casual space
Past aloof stars, across the way of indifferent suns
To a destination where all signs tell us
It is possible and imperative that we learn
A brave and startling truth

And when we come to it
To the day of peacemaking
When we release our fingers
from the fists of hostility
And allow the pure air to cool our palms

When we come to it
When the curtain falls on the mistrel show of hate
And the faces sooted with scorn are scrubbed clean
When the battlefields and coliseum
No longer rake our unique sons and daughters
Up with the bruised and bloody grass
To lie in identical plots of foreign soil

When the rapacious storming of the churches
The screaming racket in the temples have ceased
When the pennants are waving gaily
When the banners of the world tremble
Stoutly in the good, clean breeze

When we come to it
When we let the rifles fall from our shoulders
And the children dress their dolls in flags of truce
When land mines of death have been removed
And the aged can walk into evenings of peace
When religious ritual is not perfumed
By the incense of burning flesh
And childhood dreams are not kicked awake
By nightmares of abuse

When we come to it
Then we will confess that not the Pyramids
With their stones set in mysterious perfections
Nor the Gardens of Babylon
Hanging as eternal beauty
In our collective memory
Not the Grand Canyon
Kindled into delicious color
By Western sunsets

Not the Danube, flowing its blue soul into Europe
Not the sacred peak of Mount fuji
Stretching to the Rising Sun
Neither Father Amazon nor Mother Mississippi who, without favor,
Nuture all creatures in the depths and on the shores
These are not the only wonders of the world

When we come to it
We, this people, on this minuscule and kithless globe
Who reach daily for the bomb, the blade, and the dagger
Yet who petition in the dark for tokens of peace
We, this people, on this mote of matter
In whose mouths abide cankerous words
Which challenge our very existence
Yet out of those same mouths
Come songs of such exquisite sweetness
That the heart falters in its labor
And the body is quieted into awe

We, this people, on this small and drifting planet
Whose hands can strike with such abandon
That, in a twinkling, life is sapped from the living
Yet those same hands can touch with such healing, irresistable tenderness,
That the haughty neck is happy to bend
Out of such chaos, of such contradition
We learn that we are neither devils nor divines

When we come to it
We, this people, on this wayward, flouting body
Created on this earth
Have the power to fashion for this earth
A climate where every man and every woman
Can live freely without sanctimonious piety
Without crippling fear

When we come to it
We must confess that we are the possible
We are the miraculous, the true wonder of this world
That is when and only when
We come to it.

Friday, October 20, 2006

better mexico blog

i actually switched my travel journal over to blogger from vox, because i didn't like vox so much. oh, and i got a digital camera for my birthday so i can post photos too. yippee!
so here is the new one.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Super-Screw You Award!

Feist, riding the money wave of popularity for her album "Let it Die", wins this award for her crappy remix album "Open Season" and the commercial for men's cologne using her song "Mushaboom".
"Let it Die" indeed.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

happy birthday

Next saturday, the 21st, will be this blog's first birthday.

From London

I'm in London waiting for my travel companions to wake up for our flight home to Iceland. I am here on a working vacation with everyone from work. The owner decided to invite us all (9+him) to go to London and attend an event with comic writer Alan Moore and to explore the London bookstores espessially Forbidden planet on which Nexus the store where I work is inspired by. This is my sixth time in London and I always love coming here. The bookstores are great, Borders, Blackwells, Waterstones, Foyles, Murder One and Forbidden Planet to name some of them. Beside Forbidden Planet which is my favorite with it's humongus Sci-fi and fantasy selection I think Borders is my favorite. Ofcourse Murder One is always a delight with it's narrow staircase and small rooms crammed with books from top to bottom. Wish I had some pictures to share with you but I have been horribly lazy taking pictures. More when I get home.

Thursday, October 12, 2006


The new link in the links list on the left, Snowbirds, is a blog I set up to document our migration south for the winter. I like documenting...

Monday, October 09, 2006

The Joy of Ernie Zelinski

The last few weeks I've been reading quotes from one of Ernie's books to Liz, which inspired her to write her last post.

I'm pretty sure I first heard Ernie on CBC a few years ago (another thing that I have to thank CBC for, but that's another story). I was impressed by what I heard.

I've read several of Ernie's books since then. I started with "The Joy of Not Working", everyone should read that - it should be a textbook. In a good way.

Ernie has a knack for putting things into perspective, I feel like he is showing me how to realize things I already know.

I suspect that nobody that reads this is probably going to get all excited about reading any of these books (maybe he should title his next book: "Da Vinci Potter and the Harry Code").

"Don't Hurry, Be Happy: 650 Smart Ways to Slow Down and Enjoy Life" won't kill you, it's light and easy. I hope that it'll inspire you to read some more Ernie. (I found 14 copies in The Alberta Library Online), ya lazy bums.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

deepa mehta

I've watched a couple of movies by director Deepa Mehta. I think she is really good and i hope to see more of her work. She depicts india so wonderfully yet so scary at the same time. most of her films are tragedies, especially against women so be prepared to cry. I think her most recent is Water, with previous films, Earth and Fire. I first saw Water and walked out of the theater very grateful for my protective husband and society that takes a little better care of the poor and destitute. I always hope that people have become wiser over time, even though there are tons of ways to disprove that. Her films also make me morn the lost rights of millions of women around the world. Her films are very intellegent, historically eye opening and beautiful.

poor is the new rich

So many people think more money would make them happy.
This is dillusional. Think of all the money that is spent on lottery tickets every day. I hear of so many stories of the people who win messing up their lives. Yet, people buy into this illusion that if they would just win the lottery, their lives would be so much happier. Why wait around for your life to be better, especially by something that you have no control over, like a one-in-a-million chance of winning a lottery. Start making your life better now on your own. And then there's the chase for the higher paying job. Those unfortunately come with higher stress and less time for a life. Is it really worth it?
Here are some quotes from Ernie Zelinski's book "The Joy of Not Knowing It All" (also published as "The Joy of Thinking Big"):
"People want to believe there is one big money deal that will take care of all their problems. This is believing in a form of Santa Claus; everything is going to be great once this savior brings something of great value for us. Remember how false this belief was when we were children. Our happiness was short-lived and our problems remained."
"A higher percentage of people making higher incomes are less satisfied with their income than people with lower incomes. A higher percentage of the rich have alcohol and drug problems."
"If we are unhappy and don't handle our problems well on $25,000 a year, we can expect the same of oursleves with a lot of money. We will be just as unhappy and handle our problems just as ineffectively, but with more comfort and style."
"The one-big-deal syndrome is one of those adolescent-rescue fantasies we all had in our younger years. Unfortunately I know many people who have carried these fantasies well into their fifties and sixties. eg. If I could only get a high paying job then I could start living."
"People are looking for an easy way to happiness, when none exists. Waiting for the one-big-deal avoids the effort to make life work."

Only when the last tree has died
and the last river been poisoned
and the last fish been caught
will we realise we cannot eat money.
-Cree Indian Proverb

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Saturday, September 30, 2006

I heard an interview with Douglas Copeland a while ago and he mentioned Temple Grandin, he elaborated on her a bit and it perked my interest.
Temple is austistic, has a doctorate in animal science, and has written several books.
I'm reading "Thinking In Pictures" now. And I'm really enjoying it.

"Frankly My Dear, I Don't Give a Damn... "

Today someone said "hate isn't the opposite of love, indifference is". What a load of hippy crap. Hate is the opposite of love, indifference is somewhere inbetween the two. Wanna fight about it?

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

the fall of the library

I'm browsing through a book called Library: The Drama Within by Diane Asseo Griliches and Daniel J. Boorstin. It has made me think of the struggle that libraries here in Alberta, especially the smaller ones, face every year. The funding is always being cut and without the federal grants and fundraising societies, there would be a pretty dismal library system. The book is made up of an essay and photographs with short descriptions/explanations of the photo. There are a few quotes that I like. NYPD Officer Dombranski talks about some of the library closures in the US due to lack of funding: "Some kids go to the library...Others go to the street. But they can't go to the libraries if the libraries are closed." Malcolm X talked about learning to read in the library of a correctional institute. He said "My alma mater was books and a good library. I don't think anybody ever got more out of going to prison than I did. Ten guards and the warden couldn't have torn me out of those books. Months passed without even thinking about being imprisoned...I had never been so truly free in my life."
There was a picture of a tiny library that used to be a post office somewhere in Virginia that could only hold about 5 people. It inspired me even more to create a library when I live where there isn't one.
Some lady named Sheila Bourbeau says it so simply: "A library is books and somewhere to put them and some people to want them there..."
And here is one last quote from someone who's work I don't entirely enjoy, but I loved this:
"Come, take choice of all my library, and so beguile thy sorrow." - William Shakespeare
The picture on the cover of the book is of "The Grand Reading Room" of the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris, France. The picture below I thought was kind of cool because it is of an old jail turned into a library and it still has the barred cells, and a rope hook and trap door for the gallows were left on the third floor.

Monday, September 18, 2006


I just received this magazine, chocolat, as a promotional first issue and i want everyone to know how sick it made me. i hope none of you ever buy it. it is catered towards woman who marry rich and have lots of money to waste on them selves from pampering your pooch by buying your dog a $400 kennel, to spiffing up your house by buying $200 flower pots and $300 pillows, to the latest in cosmetic surgery. After sean's last post i am disgusted that people can waste so much money on pointless frivolity that help no one. I am even more ashamed to know that this magazine is a canadian publication when i thought canadians were more unselfish and globally aware than that. Sean was right; cant the media focus on anything that really matters? ever?

Friday, September 15, 2006

The War Tapes

Though not a post on poetry, I figured this would be a more appropriate forum for this than other blogs I spit electronic spatter at. I watched a film tonight called The War Tapes. For those of you interested politics and more particularly, the modern politics of war, this film is most enlightening. I would recommend it, but with a strong caution in regards to the language ( more a cultural artifact than anything) and some morbid and excessively gory images. The film is a collection of videos shot by a national guard squadron that was stationed in Iraq. It follows them from just before leaving until a few months after their return to the states a year later. The assignment is for the soldiers to escort cargo shipments back and forth daily. The precious cargo is food rations provided by a branch-off company of Haliburton. One soldier openly queries why soldiers were giving their lives for CREAM CORN. He goes on to say that for every meal they feed soldiers, Dick Cheney's company gets 24 US dollars and most soldiers require 2 meals a sitting, earning Dick and co. 48$ per soldier every evening. Even these front line National Guard Soldiers have no choice but to see the business of War as it hits them constantly in the face like bugs on a bike ride through the marsh. The film is filled with little facts like this. The squadron is made up of a number of Bush hecklers and a few pro-Bushies but regardless of politics, the absurdity of this war was apparent to all. Perhaps the most memorable quote is at the end of the movie when a soldier, who couldn't sleep anymore due to his Post traumatic Stress Disorder, said upon returning, "Your D%$# right it's about oil and money!, it better be and we better get our share or we've wasted our time over there!" Yikes. For a peace loving nancy like myself I was blown away by the guiding principles that lead to such a ridiculous comment. Further more, I've always believed that there is no one that wakes up in the morning and says, "I think I'm going to do terrible things today and be evil". I think we are all trying to make sense of our world and do the best we can based on our perceptions of reality. So I question the climate that could foster such a concoction of distorted views and erroneous humanistic reasoning. Most important though, I question what the solution is? or even if there is a solution?

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

I'm hating the new ad campaign for Brita. The tv commercial where a woman flushes the toilet then drinks a glass of water, and the narrator asks how you feel about drinking the same water you flush your toilet with. Yesterday I saw their ad in a shopping cart where a woman has an old dirty mop for hair, and the obvious insinuation.
I hope someone litigates for the misrepresentation.

The question we should really be asking here is why are we using drinkable water for flushing our toilets and mopping our floors. Several towns around here, not here sadly, have irrigation water piped to each household (for watering gardens and lawns).

Super Screw You Brita!

Monday, August 28, 2006

I'm curious if anyone has any common household item solutions for uses that we usually buy a specific (and usually brand name) product for:
I was recently introduced to vinegar as a deodorant - it works great.
And vinegar or baking soda are all i ever use to clean with, too.
and they're fun to use together too!
so, anyone?

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

help me

I need some fiction recommendations. I've got tons of nonfiction on the go right now but I need a good pretend story. Sorry Erika, I tried reading the Seventh Son, but I couldn't get into it. I have some books that I own that I want to read but I'm saving those for when I'm going to a country that has an inferior library system for six months. So if anyone has any good fiction to tell me about, bring it on. I'm gonna milk the library for all it's worth in the next two months.

Friday, August 18, 2006


A recent outing to the hot springs in Fairmont, BC made me want to scuba-dive. We had on our goggles exploring the bottoms of the hot springs and my husband and I both think we have developed an appetite for underwater exploration. Our six year old got pretty into it too. I am proud to say that after years of being afraid, I have recently come to feel comfortable in the water. That peaceful weightless feeling of being underwater would only be cooler surrounded by multi-coloured fish and coral reefs. A large supply of oxygen sounds nice too.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Ender's Game

I just read Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card, mostly out of curiosity of the popularity of this author, and this one was recommended. I had fun with it. Although it's not the best book I've ever read, it was different than what I'm use to reading. I don't normally read Sci-fi. I found myself getting really into this one though, even dreaming about interspace battle strategies and maneuvering in zero-gavity, which this book is especially good at descibing. After looking for it on Amazon, I noticed that it is the beginning of a whole series of books about Ender.

Friday, August 04, 2006

the hybrid jackpot

Ligers and such...
Scroll down a little past halfway to the audio with images "When Mammals Mix"(with this picture). It's a little long, but worth it.
Here's another link to some interesting info.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Scooter vs. Kylie vs. Captain Jack vs. Britney vs. DJ Bobo vs. Christina
so i lied. anyway, click the film strip icon on the left, titled "kino". quicktime worked for me, windows not so much.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

I watched the Nature of Things ("The Accidental Revolution") on Sunday. When the Soviet Union collapsed Cuba was in a bit of a fix, they had been relying on aid from them for decades. They implemented things like organic farms in the cities, using garlic, marigolds, ladybugs (etc.) for pest control. They now use 1 calory of nonrenewable energy to produce 12 (it's the other way around in Canada & most of the "developed" world. They starting using legumes and trees to supplement the protein the dairy cattle's diet & doubled milk production. And even as poor as they are, they send doctors & scientists to 3rd world countries. Way to go, Cuba!
Sure, Cuba has it's problems, all countries do.

I've come to the conclusion that blogs are dumb. So, this will probably be my last post ever. Yay!
I'm gonna go read a book.

But, as Morrissey once sang:
"this is the last song will ever sing"
the audience cheers
then, "no, I've changed my mind again, good night and thank-you"
and a collective sigh of disappointment follows...

Monday, July 24, 2006

another hybrid in nature...

There was the pizzlar (polar grizzly). Now there is a... morse?...hoose?...horsemoose...
I heard about it on CBC radio. There is some info on the web now. It's name is Bambi. It is undergoing some dna tests, so it hasn't been confirmed whether it is from a horse and moose cross-breeding or whether it is just a deformation. Here's a link. Who wants to bet that it's a moose-horse?

Saturday, July 22, 2006

The Science of Sleep

Here's a preview to a movie that I can't wait to see. It looks so good it makes me drool.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

I found this noteworthy. Make sure you check out The Store link, that's where I found this image (and got my eye poked out).
It's good to know that there is some opposition to some of these things out there in the world. I have some reservations, we can discuss them...
Strangely enough. I was lead to that page by this page. well, I've heard that something something makes strange bedfellows.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

New series

I just started reading what looks like a wonderful fantasy series. In the first book "His Majesty´s dragon" you get to meet the incredible dragon Temeraire and his accidental handler/friend Will Laurence Captain of his Majesty´s navy. They are the main character and extremely well crafted. You get a good idea of Will´s character as early as page 2 and as soon as Temeraire cracks the shell of his egg soon after you love him. I´m only 1/3 into the book but I could hardly put it down to post this go to the loo and get a drink of water. I have a sinus infection and staying home from work so I have alot of time to read. More later. I think this could be the best book I have read in years.

Friday, July 07, 2006

a million little pieces

Well, sadly (or maybe gladly...?) I only made it to the third chapter or so of the second book in Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series. I just couldn't do it. I was bored already. Dagga, you are a better woman than I.
The gladly part is, a book that I have had on hold at the library for months finally came in for me: A Million Little Pieces by James Frey. I've only started it but so far it is the best book I have read since The Alchemist. It's written in a unique style; the dialogue is very simple with no quotation marks or he said, she said stuff. It contributes to the very introspective mood. It is the author's own addiction rehab story. I think I'm drawn to it because of the way my own life has turned around and although my life was definitely not as extreme, there are moments that are very familiar. I have a book by Elizabeth Hudson called The Carrion Flower (another chapter was added later and it was renamed Snow Bodies: One Woman's Life on the Streets)that is based on the author's younger years as a prostitute and heroine addict. It was kind of neat too, because it all happened in Alberta and B.C., so I recognized some of the places. I was drawn to this one as well for the same reason. No, I was never a prostitute or heroin addict! I think I just need the reminder that things could have been a lot worse.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

book club update

I missed the last book club meeting (it was last wednesday) and I will probably keep missing them for awhile. It was fun while it lasted. But you know how it is, when you add something to your schedule, you need to take something else away just to keep the balance. I added something so I had to take something away, and that something was the book club. I am still, however, going to try to keep reading whatever their genre is every month, I am just not going to take it seriously or go to the meetings. July's is mystery. I once read a mystery novel by Janet Evanovich called Metro Girl. It was pretty fluffy, humorous, pure entertainment. I am reading An Ordinary Man right now, by Paul Rusesabagina. It's his account of how he saved some lives by sheltering them in the hotel he managed during the Rwandan massacres of 1994. (the movie "Hotel Rwanda" was based on his life) No fluff in this one. So when I'm done that I think I'd like some fluff to cool myself off a bit. And a mystery by Evanovich will do just that. One For the Money is the first in a series of twelve (so far). I am not intending to read all twelve, as I usually get bored of a series by book one or two, but who knows. Maybe I will fall in love with them.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

A recent post on Right of Way inspired me to illustrate the limitations of the first map (make your own here). And each state/province visited in the following maps are equally misleading when I consider where I've actually been in any of them.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

cool prefab homes

This house is built by a company called BlueSky MOD. Their motto is "Retreat without a footprint." They are meant to be vacation homes but I think they work just fine as a small year-round home. Who needs a big freaking mansion anyway?@$%? Anyway, there are a lot of good eco-friendly things about these homes; they can come with composting toilets, solar panels, cedar siding (never needs painting/staining), low voltage halogen lights, straw-composite interior walls, etc. They do not need huge machinery to be assembled so they cause less damage to the land. I've seen somewhere, i don't remember where; some houses built on some kind of high stilts, so that the only damage to the land other than footprints from everyday walking would be the four stilts in each corner.

Then there's these homes, called weeHouses, that start with a basic model, prefabricated and delivered, then if you need a second floor or a guest room later on, you can order another prefabricated modular unit. They're cheap but not as friendly.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Out of 168 nations examined, 163 featured national maternity leave. Besides the U.S. and Australia, the only other countries that didn't provide standardized paid leave were Lesotho, Papua New Guinea and Swaziland. The study found 84 countries guarantee at least 14 weeks paid leave and 17 guarantee 20 weeks.
full article.

Monday, June 12, 2006

lego ring

When Rus and I were married we were thinking of alternative ideas for rings. The best idea we came up with was one made out of lego. It was really impractical and uncomfortable though. I just came across this one today and fell in love with it. I would prefer it without the stone though. Another alternative we looked into was tattooed rings but we were told that tattooes wear off easily on the finger and the pain wasn't quite worth it.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Thursday, June 01, 2006

I am amused by this, for anyone that has played role playing games or knows people who have:
Summoner Geeks.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

The Time Around Scars

Michael Ondaatje is another one of my favorite Canadian poets. I'm slightly biased in saying so, but I think Canadian poets are putting out some of the best poetry there is right now... aside from 50 Cent. Ondaatje is most famous for his book "The English Patient". I'm not finnished reading The English Patient and I'm not sold on the story line completely as of yet, but the text is true to all the Ondaatje I've read in that he creates a rich template with every word that wraps the reader in imagery and emotion. This is one of my favorite poems by him as I have a number of scars. Most from DH Biking and none with really good stories. Closest I guess would be a scar that runs from the bottom of my palm on my left arm to midway up my forearm. It happened as a result of a swimming center wristband and a poor technique in cutting it off but often leads to questions of emotional stability as though it were the result of a suiside attempt gone wrong. I, like the speaker in this poem, wish that my scar wasn't the result of a silly accident, but rather the result of some emotional conquest as that would have better utilized the emotional time-capsule capacity that scars have. I do have a guitar that my father gave me the year before my family began it's incidious dissasembly, it's ironic as writting songs is how I work out difficult emotional situations and the giver of the vehicle for that device has since caused more than his share of those. So even though my scars have little meaning there are other things that serve similar purposes, according to Ondaatje, in my life.

The Time Around Scars
Michael Ondaatje

A girl whom I've not spoken to
or shared coffee with for several years
writes of an old scar.
On her wrist it sleeps, smooth and white,
the size of a leech.
I gave it to her
brandishing a new Italian penknife.
Look, I said turning,
and blood spat onto her shirt.

My wife has scars like spread raindrops
on knees and ankles,
she talks of broken greenhouse panes
and yet, apart from imagining red feet,
(a nymph out of Chagall)
I bring little to that scene.
We remember the time around scars,
they freeze irrelevant emotions
and divide us from present friends.
I remember this girl's face,
the widening rise of surprise.

And would she
moving with lover or husband
conceal or flaunt it,
or keep it at her wrist
a mysterious watch.
And this scar I then remember
is a medallion of no emotion.

I would meet you now
and I would wish this scar
to have been given with
all the love
that never occurred between us.

Monday, May 29, 2006


I am about half-way through Pride and Prejudice and am looking forward to being done so I can watch the movie, already! It has been a slow, difficult read so far. First of all, I had to "learn" the language before I could start enjoying it. Second, I just keep expecting it to be amazing, but it's not. I know I'm only half-way through it so maybe my amazement will come when I've completed it. I admit it's well-written, and there are times that I am completely absorbed in it and find myself smiling at the social commentary, but it has yet to live up to its reputation for me.

So, I was at the local library today and I noticed one of their new purchases was a book called An Assembly Such as This (Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman: Book 1). It's book one in a trilogy of books taking the point of view of Mr. Darcy. When I was looking for it on Amazon, I noticed a lot of books derived from Pride and Prejudice; sequels,etc. I didn't realize that fanfiction was such a common thing. I hadn't actually heard the term until Dagga gave me The Night of the Triffids.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

A Circle of Cats

Charles de Lint is fast becoming my favorite author, check out this beautiful children´s book illustated by Charles Vess. It´s a charming tale of a little girl bitten by a snake and saved by cats, tree spirit and a spirit panther. It´s loosely connected to Medicine Road that I talked about a few posts back.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

I've been irritated by the false information being spread by the media (2 instances on cbc) in relation to The Da Vinci Code. In an interview on The Current (scroll to part 3, "Shadow People") someone described as an "expert on secret societies" purported that in the book Christ hadn't died and had children with Mary Magdalene. This is not the case - in The Da Vinci Code after His crucifixion Mary and His daughter Sarah are taken to France.
I expect someone who is commenting on the book to have (at the least) read it; conjecture doesn't count.
He may have been an expert on secret societies, but it was hard for me to really believe anything else he said fully when he opened with something that I knew was untrue.

In addition, the cbc article on Opus Dei claims that: "Brown's novel paints the real-life religious organization as a sinister Catholic cult, embodied by the book's villain, Silas. Brown depicted Opus Dei as a secretive, powerful and murderous sect, whose members whip themselves bloody. Members of Opus Dei say their portrayal in the book is a mistaken and exaggerated caricature."
This is at best a half truth. In the book, Silas is working under the direction not of Opus Dei but of The Teacher who has made an arrangement with
Bishop Aringarosa. As well, The Teacher had promised him that there would be no killing. Silas isn't the villan of the book either - he's a pawn of The Teacher.
But, this would require actually reading the book.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

The new landscape of home

From Michael Ondaatje to Dennis Lee I love Canadian Poetry. As Canadian culture becomes less outwardly driven, and continues to fall prey to the assaults of mindless consumerism and inward selfindulgence from the south, I fear we are losing crucial features of what it is to be Canadian. As the poem to deflower myself on this blog I wanted to share Daryl Hine's "Northwest Passages". The reason I chose this poem is that it reminded me of what it used to be like to be Canadian; of those long road trips through the Rockies and the distinct smell of dried pine needles and camp fires; of leaving the mountains only under the strict compromise that you would soon return. As our beautiful landscape becomes less sacred and more a marketable commodity, I fear the nature my children know will be distinctly different from the one that had me addicted at a young age. Not only the physical landscape but also the way we perceive nature. I have never felt like the mountains, or nature in general, was an escape from home, rather I've always seen them as a return to it. I hope my children, when the unlucky little guys arrive sharing the same bald head and dazed look as their father, will feel the same way I do about nature but also fear that instilling that in them may be more of a battle than it was for my father many years ago.

Northwest Passages (Daryl Hine)

Here low tide and morning coincide
When oceans underside, as if a veil
Were twitched aside, denuded by the tide,
Emerges flat, unprofitable, stale.
Here pubescent forests fail to hide
The five-o'clock shadow on the mountainside
Close shaven to make news print and junk mail.
Here civilization, predominantly male,
Perpetrates unnatural matricide.

Snooty, aloof, polluted mountaintops,
Stuck-up their heads forever in the clouds
While they cold-shoulder low-brow tourist traps
Strike forbidding, lofty altitudes
Against a breathless sky, sublimely iced.
How isolated and exclusive are
the uninhabitable altitudes
Domesticated by the calendar,
The picturesque prohibitively priced.

Stark on the covers of slick magazines
Where landscapes look too beautiful for words.
The wilderness excels at making scenes.
Its present rate of defloration means
That travel nowadays is for the birds.
The home of mobile homes away from home,
Once the haunt of cormorants and cranes,
Of eagle and of seagull, has become
The realm of Burger Kings and Dairy Queens.

Thoughts. Oh and thanks for letting me post on this blog everyone and I look forward to a more serious discourse as is often the case over in the fruit basket.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Dagga filled me in on the premise of The Da Vinci Code last june, some of it's nuances caught my attention.
i recently found an unabridged copy of it in the public library on cd.
i've been meaning to write about this for a week or 2, it still seems timely enough now.
i assume that everyone has already read it and i am the last one, so be warned:
it was a mediocre mystery or thriller or "who-done-it" or whatever you want to call it, and fairly predictable too. (i still don't get the connection between the protectors of the grail and sex rites in secret societies.)
the interesting things about this book are in the details:
Christ was married and had children
the holy grail were his wife and offspring
the new testament is a collection of accounts - innumerable are missing
so, with the characters offering some convincing additional support it can be pretty convincing- sure it's fiction (inspired by what i've heard called "pseudo-science") but, the book doesn't once say that Christ was not the son of God, or that he wasn't resurrected.
i'm happy to see these ideas brought to the mainstream, true or not.
besides, it's not hard for me to believe that Audrey Tautou is a direct descendant of Deity.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

a few of the best t-shirt ideas this week:

"where's Lee Harvey Oswald when you need him?"

"Q: what's the difference between a hummer and a hedgehog?
A: a hedgehog has the pricks on the outside."


"True Love Leaves No Traces"

As the mist leaves no scar
On the dark green hill
So my body leaves no scar
On you and never will
Through windows in the dark
The children come, the children go
Like arrows with no targets
Like shackles made of snow
True love leaves no traces
If you and I are one
It's lost in our embraces
Like stars against the sun
As a falling leaf may rest
A moment on the air
So your head upon my breast
So my hand upon your hair
And many nights endure
Without a moon or star
So we will endure
When one is gone and far
True love leaves no traces
If you and I are one
It's lost in our embraces
Like stars against the sun
All this talk about poetry, especially Cohen's makes me think of this one. Rus e-mailed it to me when we were dating and it made me all mushy inside. Feel free to barf, but I thought it was another good indication that he was the man I wanted to marry!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

book club

We had our monthly book club meeting tonight. We took turns discussing the books that we had chosen for the past month. It was so fulfilling just hanging out in someone's living room, connecting with these women through our love of books. Some books that were discussed:
Hannah's Suitcase by Karen Lavine (a holocaust story)
Survivors: True Stories of children in the holocaust by Allan Zullo and Mara Bovsun
The Vicar of Wakefield by Oliver Goldsmith
The Virgin's Lover by Philippa Gregory
Every Good Thing (compilation of 1997 LDS Womens Conference especially good one by James M. Harper, I think his name was...)
The Full Cupboard of Life by Alexander Smith (This one sounded the most intriguing, set in Africa. It is book 5 in a series. The first in the series is called The No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency )
and then I talked about The Joy Luck Club. After I read it, I watched the movie (by the same name) and all the dialogue and narration in the movie was identical to the book, which is rare. It is a story of 4 women living in China who move to America and each have a daughter. It is told, in turn, from the perspective of these 8 women. The movie leaves out a lot of good stuff so I wouldn't recommend it. The stories of the mothers when they were growing up in China are pretty remarkable. I feel like they are true stories.
So, it turns out that I will be scratching another book off my have-always-wanted-to-read list because the club has chosen classics for the next month so I am going to finally finish Pride and Prejudice. Ah yes, it is all falling into place...

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Planet called Treason

I just reread Treason by Orson Scott Card. It has been one of my all time favorite books for a long time. I remember my grandfather reading it to me and my cousin when we where kids. I must have been 7 or 8 at the time my cousin 11 or 12. He had a copy in English and translated it into Icelandic as he read on. I know now that he must have toned it down a bit for us as it is quite violent and bloody in parts. This is the third time I read it myself and it did not let down my memory of it. The story is almost lyrical at times, the character of Lanik starts out arrogant but ends up humble but always simpathetic. The violence is never just for violence sake it is always written to futher the story. The story itself is a journey of personal growth and a classical coming of age story, its also about greed, waste, and love. Orson Scott Card is one of the master writers of SF but he is very spiritual at the same time one of the few that can pull that of. Treason was only his second published novel but remains in my mind his best work beautiful in its simplicity, Ender´s game is a close second though.

Monday, May 08, 2006

that doesn't really have anything to do with what I'm gonna write about, except that it too is dumb:
lawns. "weeds". why??
mowing a lawn has got to be one of the stupidest things that our culture is obsessed with. weed control equally so.
as i drive around town i see people gruelling away digging dandelions out of their lawns, spraying or dragging pesticide applicators around the lawn, fertilizing. mowing, bagging raking, etc.
the waste of time, water, gas, and airable land confounds me.
i hope we can find some land out of town soon where we can let our grass grow as long as we want and we won't get a fine.

Friday, May 05, 2006

mascato youth choir

the photo's not the greatest but i went to go see a coule of awesome choirs recently; the Kokapelli youth choir and the guests the mascato youth choir from namibia. they were great and if you want to hear clips you can go the their websites. the best part of the concert besides the traditional african folk music, the tenors that could hit a high G, the two blind guys in Kokapelli or the beautiful combined songs was that after the standing ovation, everyone picked up a drum and just started dancing. it was thrilling.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Something pretty

Medicine Road by Charles de Lint, illustrated by Charles Vess is a lovely book. De Lint braids a beautiful story full of celtic and north american folklore and music. The characters are instantly likable and at the same time very human with all the flaws that come with that. It is a spiritual journey and a lovestory.
I´ve never been to Arizona where this story takes place but the characters/authors obvious love for the nature and the local culture woke a longing in me to visit the place which I never thought I would experience (there are scorpions and spiders in the desert). The illustrations by Charles Vess are beautiful, he really is one of my favorite fantasy artists.
Bottom line is everybody should read it. I have now ordered everything I can find by this author for the store, (read as me) .

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Veniss Underground

I bought this book in London last year and finally got around to reading it. I had been looking forward to it as Locus listed it as one of 20 most interesting books last year. I do love interesting visions of the future but this one kind of left me feeling sick.
You get to know the city through the eyes of the twins Nicolas and Nicola in the first two parts and their description of a world falling to pieces draws you in.
The storyline takes second place to the city itself and I did not mind as the author is a first class worldbuilder and you just want to know more about the world around the city and why it is like this.
The third and final part of the story takes you to Veniss underground the city below the city, it is a hellish tale that has a distinctive mythological flavor, it almost reads like a fable. It´s also very disturbing on so many levels, a big part of the story is genetic enginering and dna manipulation and once you get to Veniss underground it gets really discusting, including cathedrals of human flesh and mountains of severed legs.
I like a good dark gothic tale once in a while but this one kind of went over the top.
So I liked it but it left me feeling sick and not wanting to read anything else by this author. Does that make sense?
I´m reading something pretty next.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Well, my nonfiction phase is over; didn't last as long as I would have hoped. I thought maybe I would become this incredibly learned individual, but alas, i am an escapist. The only thing that I am more knowledgeable about is gardening. I couldn't read more than a page of The Teacher Man, so I tried another one: Of This Earth by Rudy Wiebe, but only made it a few chapters before calling it quits. The Teacher Man was well written, I suppose, but I just didn't like the author's voice...does that make sense? I didn't like his personality I guess. Of This Earth is a really good book about growing up as a mennonite in the forests of saskatchewan. It was interesting and I know that someday I would like to read it but, like I said, my nonfiction phase appears to be over. So I am reading one the books from my have-always-wanted-to-finish list; The Joy Luck Club and I am genuinely loving it.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

another way to love belle and sebastian

Two of my favorite things have come together; graphic stories and Belle & Sebastian.
Put the Book Back On the Shelf came out in February 2006. It is a collection of interpretations of their lyrics by different comic artists. It is still too newly published for me to get a copy from the library system, but I am looking forward to it...I will have to wait and see if any libraries will even consider it for their collection; it's probably not really considered popular reading...