Sunday, November 25, 2007
I'm writing this to get it out. I have told some people about the idea as it has developed, and this is its latest stage. Believe me, I will be updating this particular blog post quite frequently, as the idea continues to grow.
My blog is called In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, which means "In the Garden of Life" in gobbledygook. I picked it randomly, but it reminds me now of something that I have been day-dreaming about recently.
What I want to happen (this summer or next, depending on funds):
A small group of carefully picked individuals from Bastión do a 1 month apprenticeship in organic-permaculture farm north of Bahía called Río Muchacho
The small group (4 or 5) return to Guayaquil, where a plot of land in Block 6, 7, 8, 11 or 10 of Bastión is waiting for them. They use their newly acquired skills to tend to this land, preparing the soil and dividing it into allotment plots. The number of allotments, and size, would depend on the piece of land.
These 4 or 5 individuals become the staff of the newly establish Community Garden project in Bastión Popular. Certain families, who could show commitment to the project and have gardening experience, are invited to join in the upkeep of one plot of land. They can grow food for themselves.
The staff advises people on what crops to grow when, what soil mixtures to use and how often to water. They coordinate the families and are responsible for the success of the project.
Heidi, who has spend the past few months working on permaculture farms, has volunteered to help me get the community garden going once if it takes root in Bastión this summer.
Schools in the area can take their classes on field trips to learn about the different plants. Maybe, in the future, school children could plant gardens (I remember having one in grade 7, in a cage at the back of the property of the American School. My group of 4 tended to our allotment once a week, during Estudios Ambientales. I used bricks to create a mini-path through it... a path appropriate for rodents, because the cage was about 2.5 metres square)
Would the Esperanza grade 6 school children be able to tend to their own caged gardens? I wonder. Would the community benefit from the education programs and the agricultural experience they could gain by having a plot of land in the garden? Yes, hopefully. Not just the fact that they can learn how to grow their own food, and set up gardens in their own yards, for their family, but that anyone can be responsible for life, and will learn to work together on something. I like that idea.
Well, this is my dream. I have been looking into funding options... grants to apply for, etc. So far, not much luck. I put a button on the sidebar for anyone who wants to donate. It will hopefully happen next summer. This summer, when I am in Ecuador, I will probably wander around looking for land in Bastión, and inquire about it.
Maybe it could happen this summer. I am not opposed to that idea, either.
It is nice to have things to think about on my repetitive walks/bike rides back and forth from school.
Friday, November 23, 2007
VOTE! It's your constitutional right!
Here is the first story idea:
"Matthew has lived his whole life in the village of Burnley, in the shadow of the unremarkable Pendle Hill. Nobody remembers the first half of his life anymore, which is probably for the best, but everyone knows that the second half he has spent, from 10 to 5, Monday to Saturday, in the Arcadia Used Bookstore. He would have spend more time there, if he could. He would open it in the evenings, he would set up a cot in a closet and stay there over night, he would install a shower in the tiny bathroom and keep his shaving kit in the cabinet, if he thought he could get away with it. But, of course, she knows where his shop is. She would come to find him. She would make him go home.
Matthew has been married to Miranda for 30 years. It was two weeks after his marriage that he bought Arcadia, back when he would have still had a bit of control over things like that.
Miranda is a worldly woman. She has made sure to involve herself in all of the clubs and committee’s that tiny Burley could muster."
Story 1 Idea: Set in Northern England, in an imaginary village. Three characters, the old couple and the young man/woman who arrives and becomes their tenant. Miranda is a villian psychologically terrorizing her household, with a calm mask of middle-class manners.
Something happens that drives Matthew or the narrator to kill her, and the two go off into the beautiful English countryside, fugitives. This section will be inspired by my epic hike with Brent, possibly climaxing with the finding of a wounded/sick sheep, floundering alone in the middle of a farmers field (this actually happened to Brent and I). What do they do?
(I am not sure if the narrator is going to be ironic, P.G. Wodehousey, or what. I hate what I have written so far)
Story idea number two: I came across it in a book of short stories by my prof (this might be a bit unethical: to appeal to his ego by writing a story that is inside one of his own ... but I could ignore that aspect, if the story I wrote was worth it).
Choyce's story is about a man who secretly tries to write fiction. His mountain of unfinished stories is discovered by a friend, who is amazed as he starts to go through them.
"The typing was bad, but I could begin to get a handle on things. The first story began with a long descriptive passage about an idyllic fishing village. The smells and sights were pleasantly intoxicating. There was a raw honesty that came through even though it read like a work of pure fantasy. I read three pages and then became entranced by the character of a woman who appeared almost out of nowhere. The writer had attempted to describe her, and then given up.
I started reading a second story. Different setting, different time. Everything was different except a sensitive style of writing that I found hard to tie to Ralph. The woman appeared again, same as in the first story, and then the story stopped"
So, he reads a few more... eventually the woman's qualities become plainer, she is not beautiful anymore, but she is kind, or caring...in a different setting every time. The typing and grammar improves as the stories go on.
At the bottom of the stack he finds the the only completed story.
"The typing was perfect, but it was as if written by someone totally unfamiliar with the English language. The woman was there but without any of the original traits. The setting was a small rural village in Eastern Canada. The details were obscure, incomplete, as if the writer was totally unfamiliar with the details necessary to flesh out a story. At the core of it was the woman. Only, not the same woman as before. A tormenting, cynical bitch of a creature who seemed to suck the life from every page, who ravaged her mate with criticism and abuse and turned him into something worse than her. In the end, she disappeared leaving the man she lived with shackled with her disgust for the world and making him feel that even she was too good for him"
What happens, of course, is that this man, the author of the stories, started writing the woman he hoped he could find, but with every woman he met, he chipped away at his ideal, hoping for less and less each time, until he eventually expected nothing at all for himself. Cool, huh?
Idea: I write the stories that Choyce's character is actually reading.
(amended due to an informed comment from a faithful reader)
Either way, I have to write a really evil woman. Idea #2 would be way more work. But hey, what do you think?
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
Rosemary drew this raven for me! It took months, but the promise was fulfilled (hover your mouse over it on her website and you will see I'm not lying. Good luck getting a bird of your own!).
I have less than a month of school left now. I will be done my only exam on the 5th. Of course, there is too much that has to be crammed into that month, but Remembrance long weekend is coming up, and I hope I will manage to finish some things then.
I biked to Books R Us yesterday and stocked up on used short story books. Alistair MacLeod, Truman Capote, Stephen Leacock and the man himself: Lesley Choyce (local celebrity, masterful jacket-photo poser, "Canada's response to the renaissance man", and my Creative Writing prof).
I have begun hunting for young adult novels I remember, because we talk about them so much in class (Lesley has written 65 books, most of them YA, so he believes in the genre). I bought The Chocolate War, but was not able to find Maniac Magee, The Giver, or The Girl Who Owned A City (HEY KATIE: This is the book where all the adults are dead!). I did find one Jacob Two-Two book, but it was the same one we had when I was a kid and I was hoping for a different one. I, of course, have a slight suspicion that they will none of them be as good as I remember them, but who says I am going to read them again? I just want to have them. Just in case. I mean, what if all the adults die for real?
Oh darn, would that have to mean me, too? No!
Friday, November 02, 2007
Saturday, October 27, 2007
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Friday, September 14, 2007
Thursday, September 06, 2007
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
Friday, August 10, 2007
"I hear a business man talkin' about service, I wonder who's gettin' screwed. Fella in business got to lie an' cheat, but he calls it somepin else. That's what's important. You go steal that tire and you're a thief, but he tried to steal your four dollars for a busted tire. They call that sound business." Al: "Ain't you thinkin' what's it gonna be like when we get there? Ain't you scared it won't be nice like we thought?" Ma: "No, I ain't. You can't do that. I can't do that. It's too much- livin' too many lives. Up ahead they's a thousan' lives we might live, but when it comes, it'll on'y be one. If I go ahead on all of 'em, it's too much. You got to live ahead 'cause you're so young, but- it's just the road goin' by for me. "
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Saturday, July 14, 2007
Thursday, July 12, 2007
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
There can be no just society without an effective Justice system.
The Guayaquil Penitentiary (Penitenciaria del Litoral) was built to accommodate 1,500-1,900 prisoners. Currently, 5,900 are trapped within its walls, sleeping on cement floors a foot away from each other, if they allow themselves to sleep at all in an environment where tension is suffused with fear and distrust.
The prison budget assigns each prisoner 75 cents a day for food. This is enough for one meal, prepared with the cheapest expired ingredients, every single inch of a chicken (whether it is edible or not), dirty water and the ever-present rice. Thus, the families of the prisoners are largely responsible for supplementing this diet, and they must make daily trips to bring plastic tubs full of food to their loved ones. Only those with families who care, who can afford this expense, and live in the city, enjoy this privilege. Others must rely on their ingenuity to bribe, steal or swindle someone for a bit of nourishment.
75% of the prisoners in the women's branch are for non-violent crimes (drug trafficking, mainly). This majority is true in the men's prison as well. Many of these people were merely mules, carrying packages from one person to the next for a price. The drug business doesn't care if they get caught, as they are completely expendable, hired help. They sit and wait for a chance to explain this to a judge.
Of the 16,000 penitentiary prisoners Ecuador keeps, 11,000 are awaiting trial.
What sort of rehabilitative environment exists in the Pen? Gangs. Crime and violence education (because if you didn't know how to before, you have to learn to defend yourself in this charged environment). The first thing that happens to you when you walk into the common area is you are attacked and all your clothes are stolen. Someone throws you some old shorts 7 sizes too big. You have to barter to find a piece of rope to tie them up with. You have entered a society where acquisition is so vital, and you have entered it with absolutely nothing. Of course crime breeds in this environment: it is a microcosm of the outside world.
President Correa is going to declare a state of emergency for the Justice system. This will allow him to seize funds that are frozen in other sectors and put them towards the prison system.
They need psychologists (there are none). They need rehabilitation education (there is none). They need fair trials. They need food and beds. They need to repatriate the thousands of foreign prisoners, so they they can be dealt with justly in their countries of origin. They need to completely replace the staff and guards: corruption has seeped through that organization too completely by now. They need to create records for each prisoner: no such system exists. They need to eliminate the double standard: "First category" prisoners in shirts and ties who pay monthly installments and are blessed with a 5 star prison experience.
Another huge task for you, Mr. President.
His popularity with the people is huge. His popularity with the press is dwindling, as he recently accused them of incarnating human misery. In his speech at the Penitentiary, he said
"I am here, not with the rich, not with the owners of the means of communication. What freedom of speech have you had, you who have never had a voice?"
Friday, May 18, 2007
Thursday, May 10, 2007
Wednesday, May 02, 2007
Monday, April 30, 2007
human plans are so fragile. why do we even bother. it is nice to think of things lined up like dominoes... decisions make themselves and you can't do anything about it. you can take a piece out now and then and avoid certain outcomes, but really... do you understand how that works? liberating. why do we need to control so much, after all? i think i don't have strong feelings either way... control or anarchy, plans or seat of the pants. which is why both seem an imposition at times. and life doesn't really fit in to polarized perceptions, anyway.
finally tomorrow arrives. and at the same time, more dominoes topple after that... anxious to begin that game, but not sitting in suspended animation until it occurs.
yeah, i still daydream about the same things. i might still be stuck in the same indecision, it is a new colour this year, though. so paralyzed by inability, so distracted by desire. the same old problem. how can i concentrate long enough to become what i want to, when i am still filled with this drive to something huger. but it will only ever be a drive, unless i succeed at concentration. like in everything, i guess. i am a bad loser.
Friday, April 20, 2007
Monday, April 16, 2007
Thursday, April 12, 2007
The first Vonnegut book I read was Breakfast of Champions. The quick humour, witty drawings and feeling-saturated ending captured my young affection. He wrote shocking, daring, hilarious, outrageously false stories about the truest feelings I knew. He would go on for a page about the genitals and reproductive history of his characters, include illustrations of his interpretation of assholes:
among other things. interspersed with the silliness were poignant images and TRUTH that hit you like a sledgehammer, because you weren't expecting it, you were expecting to laugh. The perception of the artist who put piece of day-glo orange reflecting tape on a bright green canvas haunts me still: "We are all unwavering bands of light." Simple, really.
I loved every Vonnegut book I read. His sharp, cutting sarcasm was always so infatuated with foolish hope, when so many people have taken the opposite approach. He was a misanthropic humanist. He was a doomsday prophet comedian.
I read Galapagos second, I believe. It appealed to me because it was set in Guayaquil. Of course, it diverged a bit from reality when the passengers on the cruise ship turned out to be the only humans on the planet with reproductive capacities. They settled on the Galapagos islands and evolved into seals, since all the miseries of humankind were caused by "the only true villain in my story: the oversized human brain."
Slaughterhouse 5 changed me just as much as it changed anyone who ever read it.
Timequake was another book I read over and over. I wanted to contain within myself the wisdom of the man who could write that, the humour, the comprehension.
All I can say is, you must read Kurt Vonnegut if you respect yourself at all as a human being. Read his articles about war, you can find them everywhere online. Read his short stories, read his interviews, they are always funny. Read his books. Just, read him.
Life here feels a little lonelier without him.
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
Monday, April 09, 2007
Saturday, March 31, 2007
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
Monday, March 26, 2007
Friday, March 23, 2007
Monday, March 19, 2007
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
I listen to the wind
To the wind of my soul
Where I'll end up,
well I think,
Only God really knows
I've sat upon the setting sun
But never, never never never
I never wanted water once
No, never, never, never
I listen to my words but
They fall far below
I let my music take me where
My heart wants to go
I swam upon the devils lake
But never, never never never
I'll never make the same mistake
No, never, never, never
Sacked opposition lawmakers in Ecuador have clashed with riot police while trying to regain their seats.
Tear gas was fired at a group of 20 former MPs as they forced their way into Congress. Two of their supporters were later shot and wounded.
The demonstrators were part of a group of 57 legislators dismissed for trying to block a referendum proposed by left-wing President Rafael Correa.
He has vowed to curb the powers of what he calls a "corrupt" Congress.
The congressmen and women fought their way through police cordons into the congress building in the capital, Quito, to take up their seats.
After failing to gather a quorum, they left the building and faced an angry pro-government crowd outside.
Later unidentified gunmen fired shots at anti-government protesters, wounding two.
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
Sunday, March 11, 2007
Thursday, March 08, 2007
Oh, Ecuador. First, the congress fires election court chief to try and stop the referendum in April. The referendum aims to limit the corruption and power in the traditional political parties, and re-write the Constitution. The Congress is, of course, filled with members of said corrupt political parties.
Then, Ecuador's electoral court sacks 57 congressmen for breaking the law, by interfering with an electoral process (in a Congress of 100 members). The President of Congress says this decision is unconstitutional and they will not pay any attention to it.
The Executive branch, however, supports the Court decision, and the Minister of the Interior Gustavo Larrea announced that the Police will be at the disposal of the Electoral Court to enforce the decision. The Congress building was surrounded by police at dawn.
Of course, politically, this battle is mind boggling in its complexities and possibilities. Some warn of civil war, some dream of freedom from the corruption, finally. Who is this President Rafael Correa...saviour? saint? Strong, at the very least.
Sunday, March 04, 2007
Monday, February 26, 2007
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
the cabin in the woods was a refreshing reminder that there exist places of beauty, even close enough to travel to for one night. you don't have to go too far to get away from yourself and see things new, so there are no excuses. you know there are no excuses, but its good to be refreshed. everything worked out perfectly and nature left some new impressions: the quiet of a forest at twilight, a secret you are spoiling, a story that has been unfolding quite contentedly without you, but lets you walk through and ruin its concentration. Very gracious, i thought.
night falls. Clear skies and a new moon make for a sheet of pinpoints of light that looks so fresh, you would guess how much they have traveled to get here. You get to see shreds of this fabric, because the silhouettes of the giant spruce trees cut into it, so it looks like you view it through a tunnel. just stand still for a change.
"i haven't seen stars like that since i was young and still believed you could wish on them and it would make a difference"
And the coyotes. Who are they? So wild and so close, in the middle of the night, to our box of a shelter, howling and yelping at each other. Fear is trumped by wonder.
Wonder was a big thing. It is unfashionable, to walk around in awe. I kept my cool, though. We were all pretty happy, so someone with their eyes open a little wider than the rest really wouldn't get noticed.
It is good to be learning still... to be amazed by nature and people and keep moving... to let that be a new part of you.
Sunday, February 18, 2007
Friday, February 16, 2007
recording for the university CD collaboration. The only blues band in town, and they practice in our nook-under-the-stairs. good for musical tension in a house, bad for people trying to learn new instruments: discouraging, to be so bad, amongst so much good.
ah, but the beauty. the beauty!
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
Monday, February 12, 2007
Sunday, February 11, 2007
Thursday, February 08, 2007
as part of today's Freeze for a Freeze protest, a huge puppet was constructed to illustrate the burden of debt. the puppet stole the show, and made for a very successful afternoon. Also, it was freezing, it was below freezing, i would have cried if i thought i could get away with that without looking like a baby.
towards the making of the puppet, i contributed the hand. was pleased with that.
but, of course, the protest was just a part of what made this day today. so many stories converged, so many pages turned. its a good day when you simultaneously get affirmed by people and disgusted with yourself. I think its a pretty honest experience.
Ah, and then of course there was The U.S. vs. John Lennon...first Sackville cinematic experience. I liked the use of photographs and stills, powerful montages and significant interviews (Walter Cronkite, Angela Davis, Tariq Ali, Geraldo, Gore Vidal and Chomsky) . Also, its always good to get a little Beatles exposure...and John Lennon quotations...can't complain.
I'm glad today is over, though. What a build-up. And what a sleep it is going to be. The built-up stuff wasn't half as pleasant as the surprises.
Monday, February 05, 2007
Wednesday, January 31, 2007
Monday, January 29, 2007
Saturday, January 27, 2007
Friday, January 26, 2007
Guadalupe Larriva, the Ecuadorean defence minister, has been killed in a helicopter collision in the Pacific port city of Manta.
Monica Chuji, a government spokeswoman, said: "We can confirm the death of the minister, of one of her children and two pilots in the crash of two helicopters."
According to local media reports, the two Ecuadorean military helicopters crashed in mid-air at about 9pm on Wednesday (02:00GMT Thursday). Rafael Correa, the president, was flying from the southern port city of Guayaquil to the scene of the crash.
Larriva took office on January 15 after being named Ecuador's first woman defence minister by Correa, the newly inaugurated president.
Correa appointed seven women to his cabinet, saying he wanted to promote gender equality in his country. Larriva was a university professor and leader of the country's small Socialist party.
She had promised to strengthen presidential control of military ranks, improve salaries for the armed forces and make the promotions system more transparent in a country where the military has helped to remove three presidents in 10 years.
Correa asked the country to "pray for the soul of Guadalupe, her daughter, her family and the government of Ecuador".
Source: Al Jazeera English Edition
Sunday, January 21, 2007
I am pretty behind on school work, after taking off for the weekend, also. How does that make any sense. I took my laptop and work with me, filled with good intentions...
I went to church this morning. I had some thoughts. My thoughts are growing less and less share-worthy. Neglecting all airs and appearances I could put on, I just don't get it anymore. Why is church this way? Why am I this way? Where is the lie, because it is somewhere, inside of me, or is it just everywhere. There is a lie floating around, I swear it, and once I can put my finger on it, there will be no more believing it.
Thursday, January 18, 2007
-How do I install fonts again? I downloaded them, clicked the little "Install" bubble on the font file when I open it, but it doesn't appear automatically in my Font window when I open Pages. I am missing a step there. In fact, I only have about 15 fonts for use in Pages, but about 50 installed if I open FontBook. Confusing.
-Copying a non-music Cd. Is there a proram I can use? iTunes is fine for music CD's, but making a straight copy of a CD or DVD seems quite the procedure.
<---also, I now have skype...for those interested. groundhog593
Monday, January 15, 2007
The photo is my dad...he was washing dishes with Daniel out at the well, because the running water ran out. This was the teachers Christmas dinner at the camp, 2006. Daniel will be taking over camp operations, and many other things, now that my parents are leaving. He's just one of the people, who will be taking on the many jobs and responsibilities that have undergone delegation. Daniel, Rolando, Franklin, Amaryllis, Janna, Alex, Freddy, Panchita, Dale, Willian, Ruth, Sandra, and Nikki, soon. Just names to you, perhaps, but after 14 years, this is what has been constructed. People, a network, part of the greater network perhaps. We're hoping that all works together for a purpose, now that things have been stitched together to account for us leaving.
I pray for these people that remain. I pray for safe travels tomorrow for my family. I pray for us, my sister and I, that this means something deep right now and that it leads to something real.
Sunday, January 14, 2007
Lots of white people trying to dance. The music was electric blues...and by electric, I mean it was a current that went through you and got your feet tapping...it was Chuck Berry, it was 50's, 60's and it was new, it was GOOD. It was filled with innovation. His fingers could bring anything out of a guitar...they were all over the place, they were active. It was a very enjoyable show.
The oil in our furnace ran out. We haven't had heat for 24 hours. We're baking cookies and sitting with laptops on our laps, in ponchos and blankets, doing anything we can think of to bump the temperatures. Toes are pretty frozen. The Mac trackpad doesn't work if I'm wearing mittens...damn.
Saw my future fold out before me. dreamt of darkness, felt for roads leading out. got bogged down in technocrap. moved on.
Friday, January 12, 2007
Monday, January 08, 2007
first snow I've seen fell today. it was very wet. that is the view inside my room and the view outside my room. i still haven't exactly unpacked yet...or maybe its just the usual mess, i can't tell. its a bit of both. outside, everything is really wet, because the temperatures aren't extreme enough yet for the snow to be permanent. I'm learning how to walk on ice and slush again. My English notes from my first class have disappeared because the ink was water soluble and the water solubled in to the backpack.
Saturday, January 06, 2007
Thursday, January 04, 2007
Ok, the "Unit" number down below is now different, it is now #866.
Everything else stays the same.
Day 2 here. I had 3 classes this morning, of which I think I will drop 1, Macroeconomics, because he talks really fast and said something about basic mathematic skills and Algebra being used very frequently during the class...scared me right away. Maybe in some other situation, I will brave learning something that is possibly difficult for me...but not this semester. Not today. The temperatures are wacked, 12 Celsius ABOVE zero...in Canada, in January!
The classes I decided to keep for today were Intro to Human Geography (no tests, and a cool prof) and Plato's Republic (I've always wanted to read it).