Monday, December 28, 2009

strapped on my backpack, got in to a van (T&S Series #10)

I do believe I'm long overdue for a new 8 tracks mix.

I've been taking the last few days pretty easy. And by that I mean I wake up at noon and eat cookies all day while still in my pyjamas. It's a healthy vacation lifestyle. Sadly, it cannot last. Some peppy up and at 'em music is definitely needed to shake the holiday stupor.

Here's a mix of my favourite remixes. They are, for the most part, peppy. I think remixes are a fresh take. I like fresh.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

I said well, well, well?

I can't really say I'm much of a Modest Mouse fan. I'll give them a listen every once and awhile, and I much prefer their older stuff. I listened to King Rat for the first time today and it was... interesting. I feel like when writing this song, they started off high, and the got really drunk, and then got really mad. At least thats how it sounds...

The video is a whole other issue. Frankly, it scares me. I am very concerned about the fact that this came out of Heath Ledger's head. I will always think of him as the charming rebel from 10 Things I Hate About You. Sadly, this video kind of shatters that pre-teen nostalgia.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

You're Going Hey Hey Hey Hey Hey Hey

Today is a list kind of a day.

1) That last post was kinda long. Woah. Also, very dorky. I comment on political speeches for kicks? What is my life coming to?
2) I am super into Phoenix right now. Take a listen. I think my room mate might hate them. They've been on repeat since Tuesday.
3) I think the Twitter "over capacity" whale is charming.
4) I took a political thought final exam today and couldn't help but think of ridiculous connections between ancient political philosophers and theorists and pop culture today. Expect a super intensely geeky post soon. (as a teaser i'll just say... Socrates = K'Naan)
5) I have discovered Google Reader. It has made my obsessive blog following so much more organized. Get it (and then add my blog).
6) (parenthesis are fun) SO ARE CAPS.
7) This post makes me sound drunk. Or high. I am, in fact, merely very exhausted. Scratch that. I'm pooped.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

drive the dark of doubt away

*** WARNING: this is a very looooong post, i suggest taking it in smaller bites. It may be easier to digest that way.

Obama accepting his Nobel Peace Prize with a speech defending the US's foreign policy on the legitimate use of force internationally is... an interesting choice to say the least.

Let's dissect his speech, shall we?

He says: In part, this is because I am at the beginning, and not the end, of my labors on the world stage. Compared to some of the giants of history who have received this prize - Schweitzer and King; Marshall and Mandela - my accomplishments are slight. 


Good on him for acknowledging that. I guess its my primary beef with the whole prize. Not even Ghandi recieved it. Not to mention the various NGO's, humanitarian volunteers, and relief workers. How can you give an award to someone is anticipation of what they are going to do? 


Then he says:  I am responsible for the deployment of thousands of young Americans to battle in a distant land. Some will kill. Some will be killed. And so I come here with an acute sense of the cost of armed conflict - filled with difficult questions about the relationship between war and peace, and our effort to replace one with the other.


Again, good on him for discussing this. Big ups to his speech writers. But simply addressing an issue doesn't make it all better. He goes on to say that war has been a huge part of history, but he specifies that it is unjust war. So now Afghanistan is a just war? He makes reference to genocide, talks about the Cold War, and reminds us all of World War I and II. 


But then we get to the juicy argument stuff: The world may no longer shudder at the prospect of war between two nuclear superpowers, but proliferation may increase the risk of catastrophe. Terrorism has long been a tactic, but modern technology allows a few small men with outsized rage to murder innocents on a horrific scale.


Ah yes, American's and their terrorism. What kind of speech would it be if an American president didnt mention terrorism? (I should say that I recognize terrorism is a very real and dangerous threat for many people across the world, but, somehow I get the feeling Obama is referencing the very limited American experience and perception of it, as opposed to acknowledging that terrorism is a definition given to groups who perform acts of violence against others and those acts are widely considered illegitimate. Legitimacy are very much so in the eyes of the beholder in this case.)


And yet, he goes on: We must begin by acknowledging the hard truth that we will not eradicate violent conflict in our lifetimes. There will be times when nations - acting individually or in concert - will find the use of force not only necessary but morally justified.


First, wow, way to stay positive. Heaven forbid you dare to dream or aim high. Second, I think we can all agree that when an Nation or group goes to war, someone is going to die as a direct result of that war. Even if it is one person, killing someone through violent conflict will never be acceptable to me. Never. He goes on to quote Martin Luther King Jr. who says that war can never completely solve a problem, and I most definitely agree with that. As a head of state Obama is in the unique opportunity to promote positive change. I understand the United States as always fundamentally been against finding the most rational and peaceful solution (Let's all take a moment to remember their "Revolution" against the British, and then many years later, their reaction to Communism during the Cold War. Neither speak of their capacity for rationality). However, he says that it is his job to protect the way of life of the American people, and protect them from threat. He argues that force and conflict can be a necessity, and that others will not listen to peaceful reason. Ok, fair enough point, but he's defending a way of life that is a threat to so many other people. 


Then theres more:  not just treaties and declarations - that brought stability to a post-World War II world. Whatever mistakes we have made, the plain fact is this: the United States of America has helped underwrite global security for more than six decades with the blood of our citizens and the strength of our arms. The service and sacrifice of our men and women in uniform has promoted peace and prosperity from Germany to Korea, and enabled democracy to take hold in places like the Balkans. We have borne this burden not because we seek to impose our will. We have done so out of enlightened self-interest - because we seek a better future for our children and grandchildren, and we believe that their lives will be better if other peoples' children and grandchildren can live in freedom and prosperity.


Great. Should we all stand up and applaud you now with thanks? What he doesn't mention are the results of those actions. How successful does he think elections in Iraq were? And remind me how implementing your own unique brand of democracy in another country is not imposing your beliefs? I will concede that sometimes intervention is necessary. But there is such a thing as peaceful intervention, which is what international bodies like the United Nations work with, and what all international policy is based on. As a member of the UN the US has responsibility to remember and respect that. Intervention should come only when a country asks for it, or else you run the very terrible risk of infringing on a state's sovereignty. 


He says a few more somewhat encouraging things, like: America cannot insist that others follow the rules of the road if we refuse to follow them ourselves. 


But then goes on to make me a hate him a little with: I believe that the United States of America must remain a standard bearer in the conduct of war. That is what makes us different from those whom we fight. That is a source of our strength. That is why I prohibited torture. That is why I ordered the prison at Guantanamo Bay closed. And that is why I have reaffirmed America's commitment to abide by the Geneva Conventions.


Yes, the US certainly has been a standard of excellence in terms of waging war. Note though that while he is promoting positive changes, and the revolutionary idea of following international rules, he does not once condemn previous policy. He doesn't say that what was happening before was wrong. That may be a problem in the future... 


He does talk about ways to promote peace, and they are somewhat encouraging. (It would be more so encouraging if he hadn't just spent the past 5 minutes justifying war, but hey, what can you do) I agree that a more unified and direct approach should be taken when addressing atrocities in nations. The promotion of Human Rights should most definitely be a priority, and once achieved internationally I believe it will create long lasting peace. Not to mention the whole freedom from fear and freedom from want bit. Most definitely a key thing in finding peace in a nation, and sadly, often overlooked. How can a country be successful when the population doesn't have the opportunity to maintain and sustain themselves economically? I'm glad he recognized the different forms peace takes. 


Though he says towards the end: As the world grows smaller, you might think it would be easier for human beings to recognize how similar we are; to understand that we all basically want the same things; that we all hope for the chance to live out our lives with some measure of happiness and fulfillment for ourselves and our families. And yet, given the dizzying pace of globalization, and the cultural leveling of modernity, it should come as no surprise that people fear the loss of what they cherish about their particular identities - their race, their tribe, and perhaps most powerfully their religion.


This is good stuff! This is what international relations should be based on! There are so many questions to be asked and answered with these statements - where to begin? I would have liked him to put forth a prescription for how to address that concern instead of wasting all of our time with the whole right to war nonsense. How do you preserve someones unique identity in an increasingly global world? Can we truly unite while maintaining individuality? Does the US see itself making concessions to accommodate other cultures on the international stage? Do concessions even need to be made? Like I said... so many questions! That paragraph of his speech alone is enough for another speech. It's enough for a masters dissertation even. 


I do believe what comes next is a little contradictory: For if we lose that faith - if we dismiss it as silly or na├»ve; if we divorce it from the decisions that we make on issues of war and peace - then we lose what is best about humanity.


Didn't he say a while back that the world should realize that we wont eradicate violence in this lifetime? and that peace and war are not mutually exclusive in that one cannot exist without the other? What about his faith in the possibility of peace? Call me an idealist Obama, but I have faith that peace is possible without the use of force or violence, and that damn well better be possible in my lifetime. 


He then closes with: We can understand that there will be war, and still strive for peace. We can do that - for that is the story of human progress; that is the hope of all the world; and at this moment of challenge, that must be our work here on Earth.


Spoken like a true God. Yes there will still be war, but that doesn't mean there HAS to be. There are choices,  and just because things have been done a certain way to date, does not mean they have to continue that way. Don't limit yourself and the world, Obama. Yes to hope and work towards that hope encourages progress, and I agree that we have to work toward that challenge, but that doesn't mean that hope cannot become a reality and accepted part of everyday life. 


Overall, he's saying that peace comes at a price, but I would much rather see that price in the number of treaties signed than in bodies counted. 


(You can read the whole speech for yourself here).

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Oh no no no I'm a rocket man (T&S Series #9)

To even out the gendered mix playing field, these are some of my favourite male vocalists...

Matt Berninger is a vocal god. Listen to that control, that deep quiet power. To me, he raises the bar for all other male vocalists to meet today.

Leonard Cohen isn't a great singer in terms of his technical application of vocals. His voice is gravelly, and can be harsh at times, BUT, what he lacks in technicality is more than made up for in sincerity. I think that more than anything thats what counts. You can tell as a singer/songwriter he means every word he says in those songs, and Cohen is dedicated to his art. (As opposed to generated, auto-tuned, studio written pop songs)

The Beach Boys are revolutionaries. They made it ok for guys to sing loud, proud, and high. So very, very, high. Without them we wouldnt have such a positive reception to Mika, or Bon Iver. And lets face it, what world the do without any of those guys?

Elton John has another fairly feminine voice. But his voice is so smooth, and has such an amazingly controlled range. He's a classic.

Tom Waits is just the opposite. The man has abused his vocal chords to no end. In his case, drinking and smoking have an awesome side effect - a completely unique voice. (I mean have you listened to his album Closing Time?!)

Elvis Costello is another unique character. His eccentric presentation, and swinging/crooning (can you have both at the same time?) voice makes him a category of his own.

John Legend is all cool, smooth, jazzy vocals. He is pure R&B manliness.

Then theres Ewan McGregor. Not just a one dimensional actor. He's actually classically trained vocally, and the Moulin Rouge version of "Your Song" is the perfect platform to show it off. I'm not sure of what other musical work hes done... but he is phenomenal on the soundtrack for the movie, but phenomenal because he can actually sing. (Unlike a certain ex-James Bond when making his musical debut...)

Listen up.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

I'm out of time.






This is my baby. My brain child. The thing that has taken up the bulk of my time for the past month. And I am very proud to present to the world this video, and it's message:

YES WE CARE!

We care about climate change, we care about COP15, and we most definitely care about effective long-term policy commitments on the part of the Canadian government to a resolution that comes out of COP15.

But most of of all, this video reminded me that MANY DIFFERENT kinds of people care about this. It's a universal concern, let alone a Canadian one. I talked to tourists on Parliament Hill, I've e-mailed people about this across the country, and across the world, I talk about this non-stop to the people I know in Ottawa, and post it online. It's a positive message that so many can agree with. 

And I couldn't have made this message available to all those people if it weren't for Oxfam Canada, ecoSanity, a very patient and talented friend in Toronto, and so many wonderful people in Ottawa.

Watch, talk about it, and send it on. Let the world know; Yes, you care too.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

no amount of coffe, no amount of crying, no amount of whiskey, no amount of wine (T&S Series #8)

I'm listening to a lot of female vocals lately, so heres a mix of eight of my favourites.

Kristin Chenowith and Idina Menzel were part of the original cast of Wicked on Broadway. They are phenomenal. Defying Gravity is phenomenal. There is no other singer I can think of who puts as much power behind a song as Idina Menzel (and I'm sorry, but the Glee version can never measure up).

I met Dala at Summerfolk a couple of years ago, and immediately loved them. This song, Marilyn Monroe, is one of my favourites (the other having appeared on another mix).

Tegan and Sara. Where to start. I cannot say enough good things about them. I doubt I could say anything bad. Not only are they some of my favourite female vocalists, but some of my favourite vocalists in general. They are definitely in my top 10. I chose My Number because I think it shows off their vocal ranges well, and kind of encompasses all of the things they do in their music. Their new album is amazing, you should most definitely listen to it, but its good to remember the old stuff. This is off their second album, and oldie but goodie.

k.d. lang is just a good 'ol Canadian classic. Plus its nice to hear a female voice that isn't soprano every once and a while.

The Weepies' singer Deb Talan has a charming voice. Very soothing, very controlled, very nice.

I felt like all kinds of female vocals should be included, so voila, Judy Garland it is! Irving Berlin is such a talented composer and lyricist, and with Garland, they represent an era of music that was all quality.

Regina Spektor has a piercingly beautiful voice. Her music is simply composed with piano for accompaniment shows it off well. In Samson you get to hear almost her full range (based on other songs I suspect she can go lower, but this is as high as it gets).

The Song of Purple Summer is the final scene in Spring Awakening. Lauren Pritched is the vocalist featured. What amazes me about this show is that almost all of the kids who originated the roles in it were hand picked. Duncan Sheik knew exactly what sound he wanted to produce in this show, and so each person was picked to contribute to that sound. Lauren Pritchard as Ilse plays something of a haunting role to me, and her voice conveys that very very well.

These women are eclectic, yes, but unbelievably talented in my opinion. Just listen to what they can do with their voices.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

with these distractions we could be having fun

i saw the junior boys in concert a couple of weeks ago. other than making me feel like an uber hipster, it was awesome. they are so much better live, and you really get to see how experimental and fun they are, something i dont think translates well on their recorded stuff. more than anything though, i love their vocals. so soft, contradicted with the sharpness of electronica.

au revoir simone does a similar thing. but these girls are a little less experimental, a little more into harmony, and a lot great. here they are on CBC's Q.




i think that junior boys and au revoir simone need to hook up. their shows would be the perfect kind of indie electronica. and then they could make babies and those babies would be perfect little indie electronica bands. and the world would be whole and right and good.


and i think when i grow up ill be a musical match maker.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

and i shot at the poor boy's soul

i have fallen completely and totally in love with bandcamp.

<a href="http://samamidon.bandcamp.com/track/wild-bill-jones">Wild Bill Jones by Sam Amidon</a>


since sam amidon wasnt on the last mix, here his is on his own. enjoy.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

the road to hell is paved with good intentions

I try to make this blog less about adverts, spam, and shite, and more about random things that strike my fancy.

This is kind of an advert (sorry!) but also something i happen to think is a really great tool to get people interested in climate change issues, and to learn exactly what they are.





Also, I've been posting a lot lately to avoid writing horribly dull papers. And now that I'm done said papers, I might just post on here even more, because I''ll have so much pent up creative energy! (Or I'll be bored out of my mind and spend entirely too much of my time on the internet).

Monday, November 23, 2009

soaked to the soul

I have a lot of friends who are musicians.

This particular friend, Miz Lauren Best, has an album on the threshold of release. Listen and enjoy this demo, recently played on CBC Radio 2's "Deep Roots" program.

<a href="http://laurenbest.bandcamp.com/track/soaked-to-the-soul">Soaked to the Soul by Lauren Best (and the Renegade Company)</a>


I cannot say enough about how gorgeous her voice is. I can say from experience though, that her concerts are one of a kind, so if you live in the Southern Ontario region, look her up!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

what a relief to see all of your sins absolved without a washing cloth (T&S Series #7)

I have an addictive personality. Right now you could say I'm addicted to the mellow, acoustic, simplicity of songs.

You could also say I'm addicted to scanning the online headlines of the Globe and Mail, refreshing my Twitter page, and procrastinating when its time for me to sit down and write a paper.

Regardless, these eight tracks, beginning with Aidan Knight's "Jasper" (which I've played up in a previous post) fall into that category of mellow, acoustic, and simple. Ok, well not exclusively acoustic, what fun would that be?



I put the Civil Wars on this mix because they sound sooooo gorgeous. I love when two singers are perfect vocal matches, and I think these two are. I especially like it when a live show comes out sounding like theirs does - so clean! In that way they really remind me of Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova.

Winter Song is something of an addiction right now. I just had to put it on. Don't judge. (But seriously, the layering of the two voices in the last 30 seconds of the song is perfect).

Fleet Foxes is just the epitome of all of the above classifications of music.

Cat Power is pretty chill too. She has her peppy moments (check out Aretha Sing One For Me), but for the most part keeps it on the straight and narrow of calm and bluesy.

This Alec Ounsworth song is off his solo album (he is the singer/guitarist of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah). Its much more low key that previous work. And I think I like this side of him.

I listen to Wilco on long car rides, or on early mornings on the bus. They're good gentle wake-up music too.

LUM's "Mysterious Ways" is just so soothing to me. I listened to this song on repeat for a night while writing a last minute paper. It totally calmed me down. Hence it being on the mellow 8 track mix.

And finally, a bonus 9th track. I know, I know, against the rules. But of all the artists in my iTunes, Sufjan Stevens has to be on this mix.

I so desperately wanted to put some Bon Iver up, but I'm pretty sure I've put him on two mixes now... a little bit of over kill if he were on three. Sam Amadon would be perfect for this too. So give them a listen anyway. Just not on my 8 tracks site this round.



So they're simple songs. (but maybe they're complex in their simplicity? is that possible? oooooh food for thought!) And mellow, no crazy beats this time. And, for the most part, they feature the ever charming acoustic guitar. I would say these tracks are good things to get addicted to. I mean, its wayyyy better than coke, right?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I think this time around, I am going to do it, like you never knew it (T&S Series #6)

I'm going to tell you a secret. (Shhh... Keep this on the DL because I don't do this often...)

I have dance parties.

Solo dance parties.

They may or may not involve singing at the top of my lungs, dancing around erratically, and awkward clothing choices.

This mix includes some of my favourite groovin' tunes. They are pretty classic tracks, and hopefully they inspire you to get your groove on too.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

screaming infidelities

The other day I was having lunch at a friend's apartment. One of her roommates also had a friend over, we were all cooking together. We hadn't met the roommates friend before, so we did the usual pleasantry of introductions; name, where you're from, program you're in, yadda yadda. I answer his questions, nothing special, but when he turned to my friend, and she said she was doing a double major in psychology and womens studies, he blanched. He awkwardly paused, and then said, "so you're one of those feminists." He went on to blunder around by saying he didn't have "anything against us" and he "had dealt with feminist before", all of which just made my blood boil, and he wasn't even directing these comments at me.

My first thought: WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH THIS GUY?!

It is in these moments where I firmly believe you should think before you speak.

I don't go around saying I have learned to deal with patriarchal society, or that I've lived and worked with men before, as if it were some challenge to overcome. Why is it that today, in modern times, someone can still spit out the word feminism with a frown on their face and negative connotation attached to the word? From the way that guy said those words, you could tell the day he calls himself a feminist is the day pigs fly.

So let me just tell you all loudly, clearly, and most importantly, proudly.

I AM A FEMINIST. I BELIEVE IN FEMINISM.

And please, let me elaborate, so you understand just how serious I am.

I like to bake. I like to cook. I wear skirts and dresses. I wear heels. I have had boyfriends. I like getting good marks. I like to sing. I really like to dance. I know how to put on make-up. I like to wear make-up. I have stuffed animals. I like to knit.

Are you confused about the stereotype of a feminist yet?

I also think think that women are under represented in too many sectors of society, all around the world. I believe in equality, equal representation, and justice. I believe in a woman's right to say yes, and her right to say no. I believe in her body, her choice. I think that women's voices are discounted more often than not, and I think that is very, very wrong. I think that I shouldn't have been taught to be afraid when I walk home, by myself, at night. I think that there should be an international statement of apology for heinous crimes against humanity, because ignoring half the population's opinion, feelings, and needs for thousands of years should never be considered just another part of history.

I am not a man-hating, bra-burning, monster of a feminist, contrary to popular stereotyping. Instead, I am a complex individual who holds the ideals of feminism to be true.

And if a douchebag like my friend's roommate's friend (wow, kinda confusing) can still buy in to such an outdated perception of feminism, I think I'm justified in my continued belief of it.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Monday, November 9, 2009

should i call you officer... (T&S Series #5)

My mood dictates what music I listen to. Right now I'm a little homesick, and a lot tired. So, I'm going to be horribly nostalgic with this mix.

I won't go into what each of these songs mean to me, (frankly thats just sappy), but I will say that each of these songs reminds me of the 'Sound and that is just one of the many reasons why I like them.

Some of the artists are "home grown" so to speak, or others pop up a lot in campfire sing-a-longs. Who knows what makes me associate one with the other, but just know, if the 'Sound was an 8 track mix, this would be it.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

but through it all i left my eyes on you (T&S Series #4)

To me, the bass line in a song is the drama of the song. Forget flashy guitar solos, or charming little melodies on the keyboard. Bass is where its at.

This mix is a tad eclectic. Who would ever dream of putting Bay City Rollers and Vampire Weekend and Northern State together? Not me. Thats for sure.


Joy Division's "The Kill" is so unlike them I love it (not that I dont always love them). For this charming song they made it a upbeat. What a revolutionary idea. The bass line definitely helps that along.

I might be crazy, but I think that this Bay City Rollers song is a little over produced. Maybe even all of "Rollermania" was over produced. (Can horrible cultural periods in history be over produced?!). Notice though, that no matter how much extra stuff they try to throw into this song, you can still follow the bass!

Dappled Cities are a group I should be listening to more of. They are going places. And their bass line is helping to take us there.

The use of the bass line in War Pigs really is just for drama. Its urgent, and insistent in the beginning and then just carries you through the song.

No matter how many times I listen to "If you love someone, set them on fire" it always surprises me. Dead Milkmen do something very unusual in that the bass keeps the beat, and the guitar is on the off beat. Percussion is thrown in there for accent, and the lyrics are just crazy. Throws me for a loop, and then I remember that its awesome.

Bullion is just plain classy. Thats right, classy.

I love Northern State (and not just because Hesta Prynn requested to follow me on Twitter). Just when you think you've got them pegged, they remind you that they're square, and its a circular hole. I think the bass line on Signal Flow is funky. They're pretty discriminatory in how they only feature it in the refrain, but there you have the drama.

Vampire Weekend is a favourite of mine. They REALLY know how to make music. They also REALLY know how to use a bass line. Not just on "Campus" either, but throughout the whole self-titled album. Give it a listen. Your ears will thank you.


A good bass line is a good bass line. So crank your bass and give this whole thing a listen. Maybe even playing it loudly. Your ears should thank you for that too.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

came up to the water

Thanks to twitter my musical world has expanded ten fold.

Tonight Said the Whale directed me towards Aidan Knight and his music video for his new song Jasper.

You have to watch it.

Looks like the kind of video some friends of mine would make, and some friends of mine would be in.

You can bet this track will be on a mix soon.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

then making a wish he tossed in the sea (T&S Series #3)

I hemmed and hawed over this weeks theme, and then stereogum introduced me to Arrows of Eros by Golden Silvers.

It is amazing musical genius.

Listen to it on repeat.

Or just listen to the mix on repeat.

I don't know about you, but when I think hand claps, I think up beat and fun. This mix... could be more peppy. But its all good, because listen carefully to the Julie Doiron and Iron & Wine tracks. They might not be the most cheery, but the clapping is quality, and more involved than the others.

If you're really in to poppy hand claps listen to OK GO's earlier albums. They've got that in the bag. Hence their appearance in the mix.

The rest of the tracks are just there to beef it out. (But three claps for them anyway!).


Sunday, October 25, 2009

all you need is time, when you're cold and when you're tired, when things just aren't well (T&S Series #2)

This latest mix is Music for a Rainy Day, just because it's rained a hell of a lot over the last few days, and I don't know about you but I get into one of those musical funks where I just want it to warm me up, dry me off, and put into a little cocoon of good vibrations.



Half the times I listen to this collection of songs I think they're sad. The other half of the time I think they're happy. Who knows. Maybe it depends on the weather. Good thing about rainy days though, is that they can be both. You can jump in puddles, pretend to be Gene Kelly, or play the wicked witch, stay inside, and commiserate with the weather man. I like to do both.


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

hey oh hey oh hey oh (T&S Series #1)


so this mix thing. Location, location, location may just refer to the the titles, but i think it flows pretty well. Flows like when you're traveling on a long car ride and the scenery out the window just melts together in one long blur.

Oh hey, travel has to do with location.


Black Mountain sounds like something my dad would 'make' me listen to in the car in one of those long drives. But I would love it. A lot. Somehow the song also reminds me of Vermont mountains, the forest around there, and seeing the sugaring shacks.

Eastern Shore because who doesn't love Feist? I think some of her songs, while awesome, are underplayed, and this is one of them. Learn to love ALL Feist has to offer.

Bat for Lashes singer Natasha Khan has such and ethereal voice. Her cover of A Forest is new and interesting. Plus, who doesn't love a good "Hey!" breakdown?

Amy Millan's cover is just classic. I might just like it more than the original. Less pop more... better?

You know those songs you can just drive to? Dreamworld is definitely one of those. Constant beat, mellow voices, electric guitar play in the bridge, etc. Quality.

I haven't actually listened to a lot of Atlas Sound music. I just really like the name. I want to believe that it's implying that music doesn't have borders, that it covers the whole world. I read up on him (Atlas Sound is the solo project of Bradford James Cox) and turns out he was born in Athens... Georgia. So, not really global music, but still very cool.

The two guys who make up Awesome New Republic really are awesome, really are new, and... i don't know what to say about the republic portion of the name. I'm sure they value equitable and accountable government. Anywho, their song Florida is not only a place but something that makes you want to sing along with them at the top of your lungs (and not in a disney movie kind of way).


I guess this is the long winded way of saying; sit back, relax, and enjoy the musical styling of eight pretty sweet musicians who just happened to all have one thing in common - they're on my first 8 track mix (and the obvious song title thing... but we covered that).

Monday, October 19, 2009

these are my twisted words, when i feel you still walking

It's that time again!

NEW BLOG THEME TIME !!!

let's go for something completely overdone, and do an itty-bitty music blog, entitled...

... TWIST AND SHOUT: THE EIGHT TRACK EXPERIENCE.

Rules are:

1. that I'll post no more, no less than eight songs that I'm really 'digging' in a week.

2. I'll post them as a an 8 track playlist on my site for you to enjoy.

Maybe ill talk about them a bit. Maybe ill get really excited to share music. Maybe ill even be sincere.


Sunday, October 18, 2009

by now you should have realized what you've got to do. (MSB Series #5)

Today on the bus...

... I saw the MOST EPIC handlebar mustaches.

... I encountered my first transit officer. They ask to see your transfer, proof of payment, transit pass etc. She kind stuck out with her scowling and prowling of the bus. well, that and she was wearing a black coat with big white letters saying who she was...

... I sat down next to a very strict looking businessman. Full suit, perfectly gelled hair, leather shoes, etc. He was listening to his ipod loud enough that I could hear it too. Biggest surprise - he was listening to all house music.

... I forgot where I lived and missed my stop.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

shed your love, shed your love (MSB Series #4)

Today on the bus...

... I got off at my stop to go home, and a man was sitting in the bus shelter (noteworthy because it was a very nice sunny day) drinking, what i could smell was booze, out of a bottle wrapped in brown paper bag. I thought that only happened in movies... or as a joke when drinking with friends...

... the woman across from me was carrying on a two sided conversation. With herself. There were a lot of vehement "Yes!" 's and "No!" 's ...

... a man got on with (what I'm going to assume was) his toddler daughter. She was grinning and squirming, obviously pleased to be taking a ride on the bus. She would point at things, watch the people around her with wide eyes, and engage the people closest to them in conversation. The best part of all of this though was the guy sitting next to her, who couldn't help grinning at how cute she was.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

say what you said, now say it again, little bird, little bird (MSB Series #3)

Today on the bus...

... in the middle bench seat section of the 12 a man leans over and quietly says something to the woman next to him. She asks him to repeat himself. He leans over again. She looks confused and little disturbed, and moves to the seat over. I really want to know what he said...

... a younger couple was sitting in front of me and speaking in some eastern european language (at least i think so). at one of the stops an older lady gets on and sits in the elderly seating in front of the younger couple. after a minute of hearing them talk, she turns to them and starts speaking to them in the same language. they were still chatting away when i got off...


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

and laughter took the place of everything we knew we were not (MSB Series #2)

today on the bus...

... a girl was wearing a pink leather jacket. If Grease had of been set in the 80's, Sandy would have totally worn it when she became a pink lady.

... there was a very awkward umbrella incident. a woman (whether accidentally or on purpose i dont know) opened her umbrella, spraying the three ladies across from her with water. it was a fairly large golf umbrella from the university, and as she was struggling to close it the bus stopped and a woman walked on, not paying attention to the front of the bus where the flailing of the umbrella was occurring. to prevent something horrible from happening (or i assume that was the motive) one of the women who got sprayed threw out her arm and cried 'watch out'. the woman walking looked startled, and then in a very stern voice you might hear from your grandmother, told the flailing umbrella lady to 'put that away!' and promptly sat down right across from her. the rest of the ride was fairly quite...

... there are regulars! people who ride the bus on a daily basis, on the same route, at a fairly set time! i hadnt really thought about this (as you can tell from my enthusiasm). a guy got on the bus this morning, and this is how i assume the conversation between he and the bus driver went:

guy: fumbles in bag for a moment, but looks up "oh hi bob"
driver: look of recognition on his face "hello roger, how are you today"
guy: "good, good, yourself?"
driver: "not bad, oh dont worry about it" (referring to showing bus pass)
guy: "thanks bob, have a great day"

i want to be a regular just so i can have one of those pleasantly meaningless conversations with the bus driver.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

sometimes im sleeping, and im still on my feet (MSB Series #1)

Today on the bus I saw...

... that the guy sitting in front of me, who both looked and smelled homeless, cleaned his (real) raybans every other stop, though they looked pretty clean to me... maybe he should focus on his hair next? lather, rinse, repeat...

... a university age girl sitting with an older woman, who was chatting away about the 80's before "all those stupid radicalists got involved." when the girl got off a couple of blocks from campus the woman kept talking...

... a boy who could only be 10 or younger wearing the smallest skinny jeans ive ever seen. i didnt know they made them for babies now. sounds like something baby gap would do...

Sunday, September 20, 2009

come on, come on, this is what you're looking for

EXCITING NEWS!

prepare yourselves for my brilliant new idea to spice this place up!

THE MAGIC SCHOOL BUS SERIES: ADVENTURES IN PUBLIC TRANSIT !!!

forget politics for a minute, and let me share with you my tales in transit!

(i sound like a cheesy car salesman)


Thursday, September 17, 2009

i dont wanna wait, for our lives to be over

i love politics students.

no really i do.

its great how seriously we take ourselves. its as if THIS right NOW is our chance to make LIFE ALTERING PROGRESS. regardless if progress is actually necessary or not. i mean, we've already made one of the greatest changes in life we could - going off to uni - so why not see how much more change we can accomplish in one fell swoop? why not keep our fingers crossed for an election? why not hold multiple ineffective protests for a cause that is relatively unimportant in the big picture? and why not ask completely USELESS and POINTLESS questions in the middle of lecture just to get the bonus points the prof promises? now that is what i call making a diference!

i want an effective government just as much as the next pol sci major. i would love it if tuition fees weren't sky high. it would just make my day to get bonus points in class. pick your battles people! (sorry im not deeply vested in the role of slaves in old greece, girl on my left who keeps asking dumb questions)

so call me a bad politics student, but hey, we're not all NDP junkies.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

when i get older, i will be stronger

This is the kind of thing that shouldnt be happening any more.

Being back at school, my friends and i have found the opportunity for a lot of political debate (ie. election in the fall? Laytons mustache should go? Students leaders of tomorrow?) but for some reason, the focus is on our little sphere of the national capitol region, and never on how to solve problems like CHILDREN DYING because they dont have electricity in schools.

You could say I'm a little frustrated.

Its disgusting how electricity powers the laptop I use to write this, and the website i use to read articles, and the lights in the rooms where i go to school.

Yet no one can think to translate that ability internationally? I realize the situation is a little more complex, but i dont see anyone defending why that school SHOULDNT have electricity...

Saturday, September 12, 2009

and we're going as fast as we can go, and we're showing as much as we all know

In my first Canadian Politics lecture of the semester the prof was saying how when people find out what he teaches one of the first questions they ask is what party he associates his ideals with, or which leader he likes best. He says to ask Harper how many words he wrote himself in his last speech.

I dont know if Obama truely believes everything he says, let alone writes it himself. Either way, this is how you convince people you do. Mad props to whoever prepared this little nugget of international relations gold.

Friday, September 11, 2009

its the dawning of the age of...


Right now I can only think in list form. Im tired. Its passed my bed time.

1. Please ignore my last couple of posts from August. They were sub-par. There are certain times when one should not post on their blog. Like when they're mourning. Its not fun to write, and certainly not fun to read.

2. In an effort to lighten things up around here, see cheery neon flowers above. Hooray!

3. I do feel my blogging needs a bit of a lift. Not sure what yet, so still expect articles and my comments on them, but hopefully things a little more... entertaining? inspired? just plain better? Ideas are welcome. Very welcome.

That is all for now. Sleep and old Friends episodes call.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

bones are sinking like stones

I learned how to swim from my dad. We'd spend days at the beach, or at our cottage just splashing around the shallow water, until we could brave it belly deep, or even on really daring days stand there neck deep waiting for him to hold us up and practice kicking an paddling (I was four feet tall at best, neck deep was up to Dad's bellybutton).

Then I took winter swim lessons in The South (whether to keep my brothers an I occupied, or because patience teaching us had waned, who knows) and in the summer would take long weekend vacations at the beaches on the ocean. There was a little more pull in that water, but our courage had developed. There was no need for 'practice' anymore.

When we lived in New England we'd swim in the lake, where the only waves came from our slpashing. My best friend had an in-ground pool (SO COOL), and that's where I learned to dive. We started by crouching on the edge, angling our selves, hands and toes pointed, and gently rocking forward until we slipped in like seals. Eventually I made it to the diving board.

I think it's safe to sayI am comfortable in the water, and have some skill when it comes to swimming. I should also say that I have no fear of water, or anything water related.

And yet, as I swam in the middle of the lake yesterday evening, when there was no one else in the water as far as I could see, I felt a sense of panic. I thought of all the possible things that could happen to me in such a huge body of water; from a jaws attack to a submarine scooping me up. I could drown, and no one would be able to save me because I was so far away from the shore. I could be pulled under by the current (even though there wasnt one), or worse I could unknowningly step into a sink hole (do those even exist in the bottom of a lake in Ontario?). What if a jellyfish stung me and I had an allergic reaction? Or an octopus pulled me under? Each scenario more unlikely than the last, I know.

The feeling lasted until I was drying myself off, safe on the sand again. I can't think of any reason why I would feel like that though, and as I sat there watching as people got in the water (the twelve year old girls prancing in showing off, in triangle bikinis, what puberty has yet to give them) I was fine with the lake once again.

Monday, August 10, 2009

i dont want to write you a love song, 'cause you asked for it, 'cause you need one

this summer has been the summer of jane austen. (amognst other things).

until this summer though i hated austen. REALLY hated her. because all i could see in her stories were women's sad desperate needs to get married and be in relationships, and their strange desire for fairytale endings. (kitty and lydia bennet anyone?) ive always been so cynical about that, and couldnt understand why anyone would remotely want that. too much commitment, so tied down, unnecessary responsibility. YUCK.

i am certainly no less cynical now, but i do have a new perspective that gives me a greater appreciation for her novels. she writes about how people interact with each other in a realistic way. all of the awkwardness and uncertainty is there. that little dance we all do; do i like you, do you like me, what is going on, what do i say, how do i say it, etc. ... its allllll there in minute detail. as one friend would say theres "sexual tension" and thats what makes it interesting.

people are unpredictable (like in persuasion when hayter and henrietta get in engaged - who saw that coming?!) and austen certainly likes to remind us of that. it comforts me. reminds me that there is no chance in hell of me figuring someone's intentions out (unless they spell it out, but really who does that?) and if its been like that since austen's day and time, i MUST not be missing anything...

... right?!


Saturday, August 1, 2009

wish i could shut my playboy mouth

i saw "the ugly truth" a couple of nights ago.

and yes, it is ugly.

i find that theres a new version of the chick flick hitting the big screen lately. movies like "the ugly truth" and "hes just not into you". they glory in being able to present 'shocking' information about the male/female dynamic, and while i dont think the producers ever expected someone to sit there while watching them and ask, "is this what people really think?", i most definitely did do just that.

the movies were funny (sort of) and eye opening (but not really) and what they really had in common were the female lead roles. in both films the women were presented with having a problem with men, that could only be solved with earth shattering insight from men themselves. and that is what frustrates me most.

the movies dont show equal confusion or indecision for men AND women, its the women who are at a disadvantage, as if we're lacking some crucial information to enable us to "score big" with guys. puh-leeeze. i think jane austen has it right, atleast in her plots EVERYONE is EQUALLY confused. because thats, realitically, the way it is. one person does not have more answers than another, there is not a secret to hooking up, and there definitely is not a guru out there who will hold your hand until you realize you faults and failings and meet prince charming!

so what really ends up being shocking about these movies is there complete detachment with the real world. and here i was thinking hollywood was "with it".

Friday, July 3, 2009

teacher! leave them kids alone

im going to be so very cliche and mention something that is a-buzz in the twitter community...

BOO-YAH !!! sarah palin (aka hockey mum gone wrong) is saying sianara as alaskan governor.

1 down, 21 to go.

i cannot over exaggerate how much i detest republican politicians like palin, and just the thought of her gone a year early makes me jump for joy. i wont get into my reasoning for such strong feelings, but lets just say the issue starts with her idea of a family and ends with her support of war without reason.

though if she runs for president, or even vice president, i will have a hell of a lot more to say on the subject. and would go so far as to predict that the state's so called super powers will meet some serious amounts of kryptonite.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

and im thinking just in passing, what if this song does nothing?

can some one please tell me what "democratic norms" are these days?

american president Obama kindly asked the hondouran militia to follow said "democratic norms" during their coup. ohhh words of wisdom...

what i get from the issue, as informed by this article, is that the country is divided over their ideals of a successful state. with zelaya buddy buddy with chavez, half the country fears that they will turn into a socialist nation, similar to venezuela. at the same time, the other half dont want to see the country turn into a capitalist pig-dog nation. with the latter half having already been in power for a bit, the first half stage a coup and take matters into their own hands.

i say, fair enough, we'll see what happens. personally, i wouldnt want either of the proposed options on the table. is there any way to find middle ground? probably not right now. but obamas reaction is interesting. as the president of a capitalist pig-dog nation he would want to see his version of democracy upheld, but in that, he is limiting the meaning of the word "democracy."

call me an idealist, but i would think that the whole concept of democracy comes from the peoples right to excercise direct intervention in their government, as they see fit. granted, not everyone agrees (meet china, where democracy is soooo 1900's), which is cool. you can see how certain types of governments work for some, and not for others. (or not at all, aparently in iran). but the overall point is that there is freedom to choose, to try one, and see how it goes. yes, a coup is a gamble, and yes, its annoying if you're part of the half who arent exactly overjoyed with the idea, but immediately after the coup is staged is not the right time to be making political commentaries on the political success of hondouras. seeing how there arent results to assess as of right now.

so hold your horses. lets see how this plays out. and how 'bout that iran? how about some wise words on this one obama?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

We were caught by the light, Held on the day

sometimes i feel like im living in a movie. a movie without much of a clear plot line mind you, but a movie none the less.

...

drive out to the bay on a summer evening, top of the convertable down just to catch a breeze. drinking a chocolate milkshake after having fish sanwiches for dinner. anything to stay cool, but happy to have the heat.

on the sailboat as the sun begins to set and the afternoon breeze fades away. not saying much, just enjoying the first sail of the summer. letting hand drag in the water, watching the ripples, and wondering what the fish below are thinking.

stopping in at family's house on the way home, just to say hi and borrow a pair of boots. getting home with a new sunburn and hundreds more freckles. curling up on the couch to watch and old favourite.

...

Monday, May 25, 2009

oooh you cut me deep

i am sorry to say ive neglected this blog of late, and upon realizing that this evening, i also noted that i hadn't read much of the news lately either. this in mind, i pulled up the front page of the toronto star, and, viola! and article that may very well be blog-worthy.

http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/article/639977

Major props to the woman. the queen sure does know how to pick the right diplomat for the job, and it seems that michaelle jean definitely is that woman.

I can understand how people would protest seal hunting. Especially if they're out of touch, live under a rock, and have no access to the news. However, if none of those apply, there is NO EXCUSE. I hate seeing something die as much as the next person, but i recognize that there are people different from me, who maintain traditions specific to their culture and life style. These traditions may not be appealing to me personally, but part of being an adult is live and let live.

So shame on you United Nations for banning a WAY OF LIFE. No one wants to see animals abused, but maybe you could have considered the nations and groups of people who are professional and understanding about their practice of hunting? and maybe not impose a ban that hurts more than it helps? Most importantly though is how the UN expects Canada to enforce a ban that affects its own peoples?

So, well played Michealle Jean. I mean, eating a heart really does scream solidarity.



Sunday, May 17, 2009

caught in a landslide, no escape from reality

there is no difference between the "real world" and what your are experiencing right now. you cant pick and choose the moments that are real.

love does not conquer all. it may conquer YOU for a little while, but it definitely does not conquer ALL.

the bastards wont grind you dont if you dont let them.

what you put in does not always equal what you get out. newton's third law is a bunch of crap.

nostalgia is the only way to remember your childhood.

religion will not always fill that void. eventually you have to face facts; you pick your own life meanings.

doing what you're passionate about is one of the hardest goals to accomplish.




potential topics for later on?



Saturday, May 16, 2009

our home and native land...

this morning on CBC's radio program Go, Brent was talking about what it means to be canadian, which, surpirse surprise, is something i think about a lot. upon hearing his list of certain defining characterisitics (knowing what a zamboni is, third line of "my heart will go on", etc.) i came up with a few of my own:

willingness to give directions when asked (even if you dont know exactly where you're directing to)

unshakable faith in your team (even if you havent exactly followed them this season)

belief that it is your duty to be an armchair critic of the CBC (even if you know there is no way it will ever change)

know and revere the beavertail (even if it is only good during the winter)

and take immense pride in all canadian actors (even if they've moved to the US and arent actually good at acting)


or maybe this is just what makes ME feel canadian?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

ooooh mama life has just begun, i didnt mean to go and throw it all away

first i would like to say congratulationst to hallmark for cashing in on one major emotion in these "troubling economic times": GUILT. 

isnt that what mothers day is all about anyway? guilt on the part of significant others for failing so miserably as significant others? guilt on the parts of children to not bending to their mums will? guilt on the part of mothers for being horrible mothers? or is that all a little too extreme?

you see i grew up with the great pleasure of having atleast three mothers. i wont get into the details (no we are not polygamists, and my dad is not a pimp, cuckold, etc.) but just know that these women all contributed to my upbringing, and continue to interfere in my day to day life. thus making them my mothers. they get together and drink bottles of wine, share personal information, solve world problems, and discuss, in great detail, what their children and various family members are doing with their lives. they judge, make suggestions, and get tipsy.

so for beloved mothers day, we give them all a break, and cook dinner, make lots of fuss, and generally make them feel like their judging, suggestions, and alcohol intake, have greatly added to our lives. sort of. in a guilty way. personally, i partake because i know that deep deep down inside i have a piece of my mother in me. a very small piece mind you, but its there. and i dont like it. so i celebrate her, in the guilty hope that that small piece goes away. or gets smaller. 

and viola! hallmark cashes in.


Friday, May 8, 2009

bars are lame.

ok, well, they can be pretty sweet.

but in smalltown hometown they are lame. especially if you just turned 19.

i just love how the dim lights hide the wrinkles from years of working on the family farm, or the scars and bad facial hair from being trapped in the plant. its especially entertaining to listen to the guy in the corner shouting a beatles cover, in a "new" key (dont worry his guitar is stilled tuned to the right one). theres nothing quite like watching the mother of a friend perched at the bar with a guy half her age, gee what a role model to strive to be. or better yet, how the washed up waitresses wont serve you on the patio out back because its too cold. though, i could be wrong, it might just be too far to walk. and there really is nothing like getting hit on by a scraggly 40-something to celebrate the legal drinking age. whoop whoop. 

and parents wonder why the city has such allure?

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

the market

McDreamy vs. McDruggy

I will admit this without shame; I am addicted to Grey's Anatomy. And to a lesser extent, House.

I have the greatest respect for Shonda Rhimes. Oh how she has kept me begging for more Mer/Der drama, I love a good Izzy breakdown, Bailey's rants bring joy to my heart, and Christina's quips make me giggle.

However. this has come to an end. I've recently realized that my two beloved shows are teasing me. they are stringing me along in fact, assuming I am some blind faithful follower! not so. not so at all. 

Denny's reappearance on Grey's was something of a let down for me. Genius way to kill off Izzy, perhaps, but disappointing. I felt like we had been there, done that, accepted he was dead, and moved on. So in my opinion, it was something of a cop-out for the writers, along the lines of, "lets just distract them with this while we come up with the REAL story and take our sweet time doing so" I was grateful when Denny went back to the dead, maybe now that they've done the zombie lover type thing it will never happen again, just a sad little blip in the awesomeness of the series. 

I WAS SO WRONG. because now the writers of House haved decided it was a good idea, and did the same damn thing.

So I might be a little biased, I didnt like Amber to begin with, I certainly dont like her any more now. But, I see what these writers are doing, they cant come up with more interesting patients, so they desperately steal a page from Grey's and take a breather while they figure out how to introduce the good material again. House is too finely developed a charcter to go through rehab again. We all know its the vicodin thats the problem! And like his team wont notice something is wrong, sheesh.  

What gets me is that TV is a form of entertainment, and there is NOTHING entertaining about watching two shows use the same plot sequence. both house and greys needed to deal with their major plot issues before the finale left us hanging, but to use the same bring back the dead lover ploy is just lame. Mer/Der are moving up the wedding for Izzy, and my bet is, shes going to die. Check, kill off character and resolve drama. House and Cuddy hooked up, and Cameron and Chase broke up. Check, kill off charcter (well, atleast i think Chase is finally going to get gone) and resolve drama. god people. LETS GET A LITTLE MORE CREATIVE PLEASE. 


Saturday, May 2, 2009

On the living room table at our friends house theres a pile of photography books. (Their son is a photojournalist) and just in talking about photography with them this weekend, and enjoying photography as a hobby myself, I thought i would go on a search tonight to find a truly interesting photo in the news. Something of a fail (there are only so many pictures of people in masks, or of pigs, one can take) until I found this: http://www.thegreenguide.com/infinite-photograph

I used to subscribe to National Georgraphic, and remember finding amazing photos. Something about good photography really makes me happy. Anywho, finding this is hands down the coolest thing ive found online in awhile. Not only are they breath taking photos, but thought provoking. Who could have taken the pictures? where are they from? I guess it gives me a sense of unity, a global view.

And its an awesome way to waste away an hour or two.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

the money i dont have is burning a hole in my pocket!

Read this:

and then read this:

WHAT THE HELL. as if university fees werent shitty enough, the U of T has decided that regardless of the number of courses you're taking (which currently dictates a portion of what tuition goes towards) theres just going to be ONE fee. the fee for FIVE courses. 

so what? the university just doesnt want to do as much math now?

the best part of the article is that they admit the point is to make money. if i have to hear one more thing about "these troubling economic times..." im going to scream. i recognize that university is not a charity (my financial aid rejection letter definitely says that loud and clear) but they could have atleast come up with a few feeble lines about how this helps students. even they realize in no way would a student be happy with the change. unless they're one of those crazy wunderkinds who take six courses a semester, in which case, score! you are more hated now that ever before!

its annoying. plain and simple. annoying that a school would forget that it was established to pass on knowledge, not the stress of debt. annoying that students would be disregarded by the administration. annoying that a university is DUMB ENOUGH to think its ok for someone to pay for services they DONT WANT. 

and why do you ask am i concerned, as i do not attend u of t? because, like the swine flu, stupid seems to be catching in the post-secondary world. 

Friday, April 17, 2009

fueling globalization, one mug at a time


ahhh glorious coffee... there is nothing quite like a good cup of coffee. growing up downtown smalltown my dad and i would walk in the mornings to the bean cellar or tim hortons, get a cup, and talk, people watch, or have a stroll 'round to do various errands. i thought it was the coolest thing. and still do. there is still no other way i would rather spend a saturday. it was quality time together. i am intimately acquainted with the local stores. and today, being the responsible citizen that i am, i take pride in being able to be a patron to local businesses.

i guess its just one of those things you can take from your childhood and build on. like tea in the afternoon, thank you nana. or family dinners where everyone bustles around the kitchen shouting news, thank you ridiculously huge extended family. its like comfort food, but better, because its something you can take anywhere. those couches, random assortment of books, the local artwork up, and the guitar specifically there to have a good jam with. its all apart of home. i may not be able to make it to the bean cellar every weekend, but where ever i am i can call up a friend and go to the nearest coffee spot and sit for a bit.

in this semesters politics class we talked about coffee and what exactly that chain of production looked like. how its possible because of globalization, and how there is an amazing discrepancy between what we as consumers see and what the workers who actually grow the beans see. granted the information was off-putting, and made me reconsider my coffee habit, but for me coffee is more than coffee. so i can make informed decisions and choose to get fair trade, or stop going to chains that obviously abuse the system (cough starbucks cough), but nothing, absolutely nothing, will let me de-value my coffee experience.

Monday, April 6, 2009

The Undeveloped Story

Re: "Profs Blast Lazy First-Year Students"
http://www.thestar.com/news/ontario/article/614219

As a first year student at the University of Ottawa, I can't help but be offended at the gross generalization presented in this article. I am shocked to see that students and professors alike would assume that, en-masse, first year students are lazy and unprepared for university.
Throughout high school I knew I would be attending university and from that certainty was the understanding that there would years of hard work ahead. Not only did the school re-enforce this understanding, but so did my peers. The reading, writing, and research skills necessary to succeed in first year were drilled into me in high school, and yes while the transition was difficult to begin with, I would not want anyone to say that it was a result of lack of preparation on my part.

For those professors and students who would make such an assumption, I wonder if they considered what their university does for its new students within the first weeks of school. Consider the traditions of frosh week where socializing seems to be the primary focus as opposed to tours of the libraries or an effort on the part of teachers to discuss expectations with students. Had we a better grasp on the ACTUAL reality of university, perhaps professors and older student would see the maturity and seriousness I recognize in my peers every day.

As midterms and final projects come to a close here, students have already begun preparations for final exams. We draw up study plans, cancel evenings at the pub, and crack down on ourselves to ensure that we complete our first year with a sense of pride. What should be noted is that no matter what a high school does, or does not do, to prepare its students for university, once said students enters the halls of higher education it is that institutions responsibility to mold them into what is needed for their role in the world in years to come. Never should first year be a "sink or swim" experience, though I would say, this is slowly what first year at university is becoming. What the profs and students in the article have noticed is not a failure on the part of first-year students or on the part of their high schools, it is the inflated ego and expectations of post-secondary institutions that leads them to believe that its ok to throw students in to the whirlwind of university without first informing them of what exactly the institution requires of them.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

"... ebony and ivory, living together in harmony... "

i have a thing for black and white photos, and found this one i took in montreal while cleaning up my folders of pictures.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

welcome to university. you have no life.

today is st. patricks day, and as i sit here in the library while my friend destroys my philosophy essay, im reflecting on this year at university. for possibly the one night a year when it is socially acceptable to get drunk on a tuesday i am stuck thinking about euthanasia. pleasant, i know. and somehow ironic... while atleast 3/4 of my building is getting plastered im in the library (with a surprising number of others i may add) i am writing a paper thats due a 8.30am tomorrow morning. i did not procrastinate as i usually would have. finishing it at this point is a great success. moving on though, this night is very much so the epitome of my year.

while countless others are out about town, i remain here on campus, whether in the library or in my room, keeping it pretty low key. not that i havent had some interesting nights, but the majority have been on the studious side. it turns out that living at school, being a full time student, and hanging out almost exclusively with other students means my life revolves around academics. when i hang out with friends we talk about classes, and things in the news, and university scandals. maybe these are just the kind of people i hang out with, but then again, maybe this is what you give up when you go off to uni. part of your life, if not the majority of it, is surrendered to school. its my focus, my source of news, entertainment, and of course, knowledge. these are good things, sure. but i kind of resent it.

resent it because i willingly signed up for an institution with the misconception that i would "get a life" when in all reality, i gave one up. instead of enjoyin a st paticks day where i can legally drink in one province, i gave it up to write a philosophy paper. and i am not pleased.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

the James Dean dream


man,

i tell you not to smoke those cigarettes

(look like a young James Dean,

sun setting on your back,

dim glow of the tip warming the black ahead).

but who am i to disagree

when i make killer life choices everyday.

Deep breath in, blow the stress away.

Stop those fragile hands from shaking,

forefinger and thumb holding

your small piece of calm.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

this shit is bananas b-a-n-a-n-a-s


im sitting in my environment & society lecture where the prof is attempting to facilitate a discussion around a video we saw last class on transgenic food. problem is we keep coming back to bananas.

you see, someone brought up that the question isnt to buy only organic, but to buy locally. no matter how organic your bananas are, they still wont be in season in canada in february, or ever for that matter since our environment isnt suitable for bananas. therefor we should focus on getting whats in season at the market downtown, and avoid buying imported foods because most mass produced foods (again, bananas) are transgenic. blah blah blah.

and we have yet to get away from the banana buying question. and the prof, being who he is, isnt really move discussion on, but letting everyone spin around in circles.

and the hippy in the back who introduced the bananas in the first place isnt backing down.

my opinion? its all about balance. transgenic food has been introduced, and actively weeding it out of our buying habits is a challenge no individual can win. we have the right to eat what we want to eat, but in that decision should be understanding. access to the information about the benefits and harms needs to be presented to the public in a much more active way, and from there you find balance. choose what you think will help and harm you. yes, buy locally when possible, but still go to the grocery store. choose organic as often as you can, be healthy. i wouldnt go so far to say "down with the bananas!" but i do say, down with ignorance!

Monday, March 2, 2009

oh hello goodmorning.

i gently shift my legs, tangled over yours, and lift them up and over. i move away from our island of two as you stir and your eyes open. barefeet touch cool kitchen tile; a gentle wake-up call. you're awake, but lie there peacefully. our island of two. the water runs, a sharp sound to our silent understanding, and my glass fills. i make my way back, the tile not so cool anymore, and curl back up on our island of two. you tuck me in, as we close our eyes, waiting for sleep to come again.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

taken

as i look out the window
at dark shapes flying by,
you use it to fix your hair.

how different we are.

as i get lost in the gloom beyond
you study a perfum ad
in a magazine.

how different we are.

as i sit here alone with my thoughts,
you take a sip
of your bottled water.

how different we are.

as this train sweeps me away
you're taken too
from home to school.

how similar we are.

No, Im Just Not That Into YOU

i got a text today from a highschool friend asking if i had dropped off the face of the earth, since she hasnt heard from me in awhile. no, i had not died or disappeared, or anything along those lines, i had simply failed to get back to her. multiple times. the point is though, with popular forms of communication today, i can avoid someones attempts to get a hold of me. i wont return an e mail, or disregard a wall post on facebook. i will click ignore on my cell phone when someone calls, or "accidenally" delete a text. these things happen all the time. whoops?

i am not a bad friend. i really do care. really. its just that with so many ways to contact a person, it can be a little overwhelming. everything is so instant, so in your face there every second, and i frankly dont like my friends THAT MUCH to always be in contact with them. if i did, we would be living together. or somehow find a way to be surgically attached.

and any way, a wall post? thats how you want to ask me how i am? are you even sincere in asking? or a text to see if im still alive? what would you do if i didnt respond? just assume the worst and text someone else to see if they've heard the same? i would mcuh prefer an email; let me know how you're doing, give me a chance to gather my thoughts and respond. or make a phone date; take time out of our day to catch up.

i recognize how important it is to stay in touch with people, i sincerely value my friendships with others, and i know i have a choice to do away with texting and facebook and email, if i really dont want others to have so much access to my life. i guess sometimes i feel that instant attempts at communication has expectations of instant response, and that i cannot guarantee to ever deliver. i did text my friend back to say i was alive, and ask her how things were going, and a conversation via text ensued. but then is that really and truly communicating with someone? or just instant gratification of a technological variety?