Sunday, December 30, 2007

2008 (1st 1/2): -Journalism -starting a novel -continuing to loathe Sociology class (while hopefully earning first Dalhousie A+) -sewing! -cooking for Phoenix youth -hosting my Colombian family with MISA -'capping -upgrading my rat's accommodations So, pretty busy. But all good, all good. News Years approaches! And although this year it is very much about the Chelsey/Clayton wedding, I still respect my favourite holiday for what it has always meant to me... stopping and thinking.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Deserving of its own mention


Is www.paulartson.com

One "-P." has finally begun posting content on the website that will be his internet home as he delves into the musical depths that await him. Of course, it is a must-see for all you curious people out there, and a vital bookmark for those who wish to continue to consider themselves music fans.

It is where Paul will post his songs when they are done (something I look forward to very much, as he hasn't really let me listen to them)

Happy clicking

-B.

Before leaving Halifax

, j
Janna and I HAD to finish our effigy, our offering to be burnt on the cusp of the year 2008, to gain favour with the new year by discarding all remnants of the last.

We chose to represent a man we both feel great distaste for, Iván Malo, once creepy stalker, now merely a legendary pain in the butt.

Friday, December 14, 2007

"I hate Christmas" (courtesy of Sam at explodingdog.com)



'Tis the season, right? As Stephen Harper sabotages the world's hopes of halting climate change in Indonesia, his loyal subjects back home go mad for the last tree in the lot, anxious to own that little dead status symbol that will linger in their living room for a few weeks, only to be tossed at the dawn of the new year we hypocritically wish will be good to us.

I signed a petition today that hopes to reach 100,000 signees before the end of the day.

"On Saturday, experts gave us the global "fossil" award for being the worst country in the world on climate change."- isn't that something!

At the same time, there is a Christmas tree shortage in Germany (blame the Arabs, the single person households, and the Chinese, of course! Don't blame the culture of disposability and waste that we export!)

A report from AP that says that the Earth may have passed the tipping point came out last week. Scientists estimate, after the record melts from this past summer, that the Artic may very well be completely melted after the summer of 2012. That is 4 and a half years away. I might not even be out of University by then.

What is the point of planning ahead when out world is decomposing and our leaders thwart all hopes of survival? This is like a bad Hollywood disaster movie... bad because it takes place over the course of 15 years, and nobody knows that it is going to end in disaster, so there is no tension.

Just boredom. We shuffle towards our own execution with boredom and shopping lists.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Paul has gone "home" for the Holidays, and thus Christmas starts: in a few days, a long train ride, and Ontario at the end of the tracks. Ahh... --------------- I had an evening nap, fell asleep reading, and now feel a bit like being awake is pointless. Tomorrow I will feel better, right? It is pointless to persevere with today, when the more sleep, the more great the morning will be. I have a feeling I will not feel great in the morning. That is why I go upstairs now to eat a green apple, in contradiction of my baser instincts.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Goodnight

This weekend I: -Did not leave the house -Watched two cars pop their tires on the curb, two run into stationary objects, many slip around in circles, and one girl wipe out on her moped scooter. Icy roads. -Wrote 20 pages, double spaced, size 12 font. Half in English, half in Spanish. -Watched a few episodes of Kenny vs. Spenny. -Banished my rats to the kitchen, twice, so their nocturnal habits would stop driving me mad. -Cooked a couple times -Showered I think I deserve to go to bed before midnight.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Crunch

I decided to work on the first story idea for Lesley Choyce. The plot is fairly different, I eliminated a character. I am not very pleased with my writing on it, but I am a bit more enamoured with the idea. The story-structure has some connectors and recurring ideas that prop it up, I like that. However, I have way too much writing to do by Monday, so I should not be on here. I am learning to exercise self-control. Hmmm, maybe I'll go make myself a sandwich. Vital bodily function, you know.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

One Dream



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

Another story for Creative Writing

Well, I am working on another story. Actually, I am supposed to be, but I am not. I am now wondering whether I should continue the story I was doing. I recently had a new story idea, and I am debating setting the first one aside.

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.

Think her:


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)

The End.

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"

Great stuff!

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

giving time

Volunteering in Canada: You feel like you are doing a job that someone else would do if you weren't around. You are not so much helping people in need as you are helping over-worked (paid) staffers. At least, that is how I feel about the food preparation gig I am getting with Phoenix Youth. They say they have a vacancy on Tuesday nights! How fortuitous, exactly the day I am available. What does that mean? That the kids have previously not been eating on Tuesdays, and because I have now volunteered to cook for them, they will finally be relieved of their weekly fast? No. It just means somebody on staff gets to go home earlier on Tuesdays. Same feeling at Sunday Suppers: yay, lets go walk some plates around on trays and feel really good about ourselves. Well, you know, it is not a very difficult job, and you know, if you weren't there, somebody else would be available to do it. I am not advocating for laziness and staying at home instead of getting out and helping something. Organizations really would not survive without volunteers. But do limit how much you feel good about yourself for doing something very minor. Perhaps our standards for actions that would make us feel good about ourselves should be higher. This leads me to my next sub-heading: Work that is not being done: It is a bit harder to think about those ideas, isn't it? Most of all, if you are doing so with the intention of following through on one of your ideas. I have heard about child-care collectives starting up in this city, so that single parents can become involved in social justice movements, just as much as anyone else. I have wondered about funding options for students from the global south wishing to study in a different country. What would it take to get something going? So many things. But for now, Phoenix Youth on Tuesday nights. I am not sure if I am punishing myself, or thinking about the future. I am in Canada and I wonder where all the money goes... families still get torn up, vulnerable people still get ripped apart in the modern scheme of things. And where are the people with ideas? On that note, maybe next time I post it will be about a certain idea that has been festering in my brain for a while now. Cheers!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Joya To The World



Afghan activist pulls for peace at Dal

Hero, teacher, activist, politician. Target. Malalai Joya has been many things in her life, but one thing she refuses to be is afraid. She spoke at an event organized by the Halifax Peace Coalition on Nov. 8.

The 29-year-old women’s rights advocate and former member of Afghanistan parliament is hated by powerful people in her country.

Two years ago, she was the youngest person elected to the Wolesi Jirga, the Afghan parliament. Since then, she has survived four assassination attempts, but continues to voice her people’s concern.

Joya was eventually expelled from the Wolesi Jirga last May for remarks she made during a television interview. She said parliament was “worse than a stable.” She said in the controversial interview that a stable was better because it had useful animals in it.

Roughly 350 people attended the event at the Scotiabank auditorium at Dalhousie University. Many had to find a comfortable place to stand at the back when the rows filled.

A table near the door was covered with pamphlets and white poppies pinned to cards that read: "Remembering is not enough. Work for peace!"

Stuart Neatby, a member of the Halifax Peace Coalition, introduced Joya.

"As people of conscience, it is incumbent upon us to amplify the voices of people who struggle for peace," he said.

Joya appeared small in front of the crowd that was riveted by her presence. They gave her a standing ovation before she even opened her mouth to speak.

She seemed to grow as she spoke powerfully about the current situation in her country. She said that her people are "sandwiched between two enemies - the US-loving Northern Alliance (currently in power) and the US-hating Taliban."

Joya believes that as long as Canada supports the Northern Alliance, they are engaging in the United States’ “dirty policies.”

"Canada must act independently and not follow the wrong policy of the US,” she said, adding that democratic parties in Afghanistan need support.
They have no means with which to campaign and are under-represented in a parliament made up of "war lords, drug lords and criminals."

Women’s status has not improved since the Taliban was toppled. One woman dies every 28 minutes in Afghanistan during childbirth.

Joya shared anecdotes about women activists assassinated in Kabul. She said these stories do not get covered by western press.

A woman with short black hair took her turn at the microphone during the question and answer session: "After 30 years of war, I fear there is no way for Afghanistan to defend themselves." She disliked Joya's qualification of Canada's involvement in the country as a "dirty policy."

Her name was Farida, and she left Afghanistan with her husband and daughter in 1998.

Joya was not shaken to run into disagreement in a crowd otherwise showing support. She intensified the earnestness in her words as she talked straight at the woman, who she called “sister.”

"If Canada continues it's involvement the way it is now, all people will stand up against foreign troops," Joya says. "We need the helping hand of democratic people around the world. We don't want occupation."

Later, Farida, who declined to give her last name, said it was an “excellent speech.” She said she would never return to Afghanistan. She left to be safe and her life is here now.

The next day, Joya attended an informal meet-and-greet at the Dalhousie Women's Centre.

She was asked "What are you afraid of?" during a round of introductions.

Joya thought for a few seconds.

"There is a list of people who struggle for good, and everyone wants this list to get more, not to get less," she said.

"It is important that my death affect others. Some will die and everything will die with them. I think that those people that are afraid, everyday die."

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Birds

http://birdsforbulbs.com/

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

I've decided that returning to keeping a regular journal would be useful if only to document the day on which I had my last shower. Things like that are hard to keep track of, sometimes.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Another paragraph

Writing has really come to take priority in my life these days... it is great! Yes, I work under a few deadlines, but the majority of what I write is not longer academic... I get to create stories (whether creatively, or journalistically... that word is made up) --------------------- I remember meeting him at one of these early morning rituals. Two careless kids, splashing in the shallow waves, stealing the littlest fishes out of the nets as the men struggled to pull them ashore. The little fish are so transparent, you can see the blue veins connected to the terrified eye socket, and through it’s flesh you see shadows of your own fingers. We would throw these delicate creatures into the air, and laughed at the gulls and pelicans that plunged after our offering, often tearing the meal from each other’s mouths. --------------------- It is fascinating to me how things get created... things you read that flow, flow because they were POUNDED with hammers and agonized over by some poor soul. It is an artificial process needed to create a genuine feeling. I am learning to be a much better reader, as well. Today we had a lecture about the future of newspapers. Don't be surprised if three years down the road, your newspaper is a sheet of soft plastic. A bendable flash memory you stick in a slot each morning and evening, that populates itself with an interactive front page. Wouldn't readership go up? Everybody loves their gadgets. It is always interesting to think about the future when you are in first year of university. The nature of the system is that you study the past, apply it to the preset, but the future... that field is wide open for speculation! And you are young and so anxious to GET there... imagining is nice. Personally, I was impressed in the lecture today by the need for a good photo. Good stories do not make the cover unless they have a good image to go with. This is the nature of information in a society that relies so much on images (being in a film class simultaneously to all this journalism talk really fleshes ideas like that out). Things are interesting in life right now, you know.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

First paragraph of a new story

Why is rewriting so painful? The part of me that writes just wants to write and deliver, write and deliver. That is why emails are so evil and consuming of creativity... they demand it in droves, and I can get away with sending the babies of writing away with no primping, minimum correction. How tempting! When really, writing anything that is actually good starts out as fun, and becomes WORK: scary work, because what if I don't find every error? What if I can't think of how to fix an imperfection? Oh, rewriting is not fun: I am compelled to write, obligated to rewrite. Obligated by the true spirit of any story or idea I have in mind... the first draft is rarely adequate. I am so impatient, I often settle for a less-than-perfect version. So, here is a paragraph. Some of it has been worked over a lot, some of it has only been written once or twice. So be gentle! --------------------------------------- Our lives are the ocean. We dream at sea and must live on land. We sleep cradled by the rhythm of waves, the damp salty sheets and the savory air, but wake to the church bells, the roosters, and traffic. The buses roll past and raise the dust on our narrow road that runs along the coastline and tilts to the west. Old Thomas built models, Canada sends them to our cities when they are too old for Canada, and the cities send them to us when they get too old for them. Local welders with artistic vision torch new life out of tired parts. They gut the carcasses to fit more rows of seating: more rows, more 25 cent fares. On the trip to the market, we lean left. On the trip home, we clutch out full bags and try not to fall on the neighbour to our right. It's a rough, violent ride. --------------------------------------- Sorry, I can't allow myself anymore. I just haven't re-written enough! This is very indulgent of me, very foolish, to publish something before it is really alive. Oh well, it has been a while since I've written at all.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Being Poor

My school fees this term were $3,601 ... that covers half a year, and includes all the extras. It does not include food, shelter or other living expenses. I got lucky because I could cover $1,051 of it with a scholarship cheque I get automatically for being an MK. However, second term I will not be so lucky. And next year I probably wont, either. So I have begun to worry about money. I decided to write it down so that I can maybe stop having bad dreams and coming back to the thought 50 times during the day. My rent is $280 a month. Records for the summer months were a bit sketchy, because of inconsistent habitation of the house, but during the past 2 weeks, my share of the grocery/household item has been $78. My share of the phone bill was about $15. So lets say that per month, I will spend $160 on food. My share of Rent+food+phone+power($20)+water bill($18)= minimun spendings of $493 a month. Of course, the power bill will skyrocket during the winter, so that figure is hard to calculate exactly. If I multiply $493 (a very conservative estimate) by 8 (September through April) I get $3,977. That is how much it will cost me to live, bare bones (this does not include movie rentals, eating out, developing photos, rat expenses, clothing, etc). Plus, of course, tuition for second term, which will be if not $3,601, at least dangerously close to it. I add the two figures and get $7545. Let's throw in a $1,000 margin there for extra projected power expenses (winter is cold): $8,545. I currently have $11,678 in the bank. I have to buy a plane ticket to Ecuador in May (mental health trip, not optional), so that could take anywhere from $700 to $1,000 "latas": That leaves me with $2,144 to live on come June (optimistically). I hope I will get a summer job. I am, however, not hopeful about being considered for any scholarships for next year. I can't even figure any out. Better people than me have gone through school with no celestial nods from upper management. Even if I get a summer job, it would be unrealistic to assume I would make any more than $1500. That is not enough for next year (not even close). So, options: -Student Loans (I am a bit morally opposed to going into debt, personally... remnants of parental indoctrination, of course. I am a bit spiritually unsettles by it, which comes from the fact it seems a bit unfair to have to pay back more than I used, in a system where education should be free, and it isn't because THEY (the people I am paying) decide it isn't) -Taking a year off (and working at what? Pizza Hut? Maybe I am too proud). -Selling eggs (It's illegal to sell body parts in Canada, but it is possible through American agencies.I think you can get roughly $8,000 from submitting to this highly unpleasant, invasive procedure. They hormone you up so you are on the same cycle as the person you donate to, then pump you full of painful fertility injections that make you produce like 20 eggs in a period when you would usually produce just one. I hate needles and selling stuff to rich California socialites, but I obviously considered this one enough to research it a bit). -Living out of dumpsters and food banks, sleeping in shelters, getting social assistance cheques (good ol' Canada. Good thing most of my books are still in Caracol). Well, this is enough wonderings for today. I have class to get to, and I payed about $50 for the privilege of being there, so I better show up. If I made any miscalculations, or have another option for financing the business of living, do let me know in a comment. I love to hear from y'all.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Cultures at the far edge of the world

Watch this video: (a TED talk) http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/view/id/69 "Do we want to live in a monochromatic world of monotony? Live to see the range of human imagination reduced to a narrow modality of thought, then wake from a dream to have forgotten that there were other possibilities?"- Wade Davis I love the stories of the world. If you do, too, now is the time to learn them. They might not be around in 20 years. Go, learn from a different imagination. The country you are living in is probably stifling a few ancient cultures at the moment that you could learn about and store as a part of yourself, at least for one more generation.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Oh please: be real!






Feared gang renounces its crime crown

Ecuador's mafia go straight in government pact

Rory Carroll in Quito
Sunday August 26, 2007
The Observer


Naming themselves after Aztec and Inca warriors, they deal in drugs, gun down rivals and glory in the memory of a cannibal jail feast. They are the Latin Kings, a Hispanic gang that has spread across the Americas and Europe.

For five decades they have intimidated opponents and baffled authorities with secret rituals, feeding the mystique about their identity and purpose. Dressed in black and yellow, the Kings have been implicated in killings in the US, gang wars in South America and riots in Spain.

Now, however, thousands of members want to enter mainstream society and go legit. An ambitious transformation attempt is unfolding in their heartland, Ecuador, where former gangsters are launching new careers as social workers, entrepreneurs and fashion designers. 'It will be a struggle, but nothing is impossible. We can make this work,' said Jostyn, a 29-year-old gang leader in the capital, Quito. 'We can live in the legal world and still have respect.'

The left-wing government of President Rafael Correa has decided to recognise the Latin Kings as a cultural and social organisation, which will now work alongside the police, social services and churches in the slums. Members will retain their distinctive salute - two fingers and a thumb extended to mimic a crown - their oath of allegiance and a hierarchy involving monarchs, treasurers and soldiers. The pact, the culmination of two years of negotiations between gang leaders and the authorities, with academics and clerics acting as mediators, is being touted as a model for the US and Europe.

A ceremony in Quito's council chamber inaugurated the accord last month. The mayor, a government minister and police welcomed about 40 gang members, most wearing baggy jeans and yellow T-shirts, as 'dear boys' who would make Ecuador a better place. Jostyn, who declined to give his surname, presented plaques to several officials, who beamed with pride. When TV cameras panned across the chamber several younger members hid their faces behind baseball caps. On Jostyn's command they all rose to their feet and bellowed allegiance to the Kings.

Critics say that the deal is a blueprint to mollycoddle hoodlums. Supporters say it is an enlightened attempt to tackle a complex problem, but concede transformation will not be easy. As gangsters many of the Kings had money and prestige in the slums of Quito and Guayaquil. There is talk of setting up cybercafes, micro-credit schemes and a fashion label with the initials LK, but going straight will narrow the chances for making easy dollars.

Mainstream society, which has long felt threatened and repelled by the gang, may not accept it has changed, said Nayla Versosa, director of a charity that rehabilitates troubled youth. 'I'm worried they will still be discriminated against when looking for jobs and that some police officers will still harass them.'

A minority faction of the Kings has refused to accept the peace deal and turned on their former comrades. Breakaway members are believed to have been behind a drive-by shooting that narrowly missed killing Jostyn and his followers just hours before the Quito ceremony. 'We know who they are. They have been expelled from the organisation,' said the softly spoken leader, sitting on church steps near the spot of the ambush.

Another potential threat is the Ñetas, a rival gang that has waged bloody turf wars with the Kings. But Wilson Alulema, a police colonel who has negotiated a ceasefire with both gangs, said the Ñetas were on the same path to legalization. 'They also want a normal life.'



Thoughts from Bethany:

I don't know if the admiration and idolatry of the Latin Kings on behalf of the park guys group ever graduated into actual commitment and inclusion in the gang. When I left, there were many rumours of it. There is no way I would be informed if it were the case, partly because everybody in the neighbourhood thinks they are Latin Kings anyway, and partly because I always made it very clear to the guys how distasteful the thought of the gang was to me.

If Correa is taking a constructive approach to the problem, then I am very happy. Putting community and business management responsibilities in their hands sounds interesting. I think, because of the power and reach of the gang, as well as the neighbourhoods most of its members come from, there is the dangerous possibility of the gang taking over ALL cyber cafe business in the squatter areas. They definitely have not had time to develop business ethics. I think there will be a huge temptation of corruption, and power. And the police will definitely do nothing to help them go straight. I do predict a fair amount of police bullying and bribe-fishing, which may destroy any intentions LK businessmen and woman of staying clean.

Who knows. This is far more positive news than the traditional news of murders and drug busts.


So be hopeful

http://observer.guardian.co.uk/world/story/0,,2156350,00.html

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The Horne's have flown

Spending a month with you guys was real nice. I'm sure much will result of this period, and we can only wait and see, but thanks for the time given. Communication indeed will be upheld. I'm different now, but still a daughter of something.

favourite poem for today

Monday, August 20, 2007

An afternoon alone


Do click on the pictures for bigger versions if you are too settled to go find your reading glasses. Sorry about the abundance of quotations on this blog in recent times. Truthfully, I have been thinking about a lot of other things these days ... a lot of other things besides myself I mean.

I went to the HCAP office this morning and it was staffed by Greg. I sat and wrote Clinic information on some pamphlets I was planning to take to the coffee shop, but that wasn't what resonated about the 15 minutes I was in there. Greg is an open, trusting, caring, clear-minded decided fellow. What a thing it was just to talk with him! He was very nice to me after he found out I was planning on taking some information over the Coffee shop, even as pure as he is, he still allows himself to be surprised by pleasantness. We had a nice little chat about the ideals of the clinics. He explained the importance of a blue form I might not know about as I haven't been at recent HCAP meetings, and told me how I should tell people to get it. Nothing about him is put on at all.... at all! Do you know how rare a naturally friendly person is? I mean, I live with a few of them, but out there, out there!

I have come to wonder what is so scary about people knowing how you feel about something. That you were really pleased to be invited to a spontaneous vegan dumpster Taco night. And other such examples. There is a cap on feeling, you see. You can only spend so much. And yes, I liked what this 85 year old woman had to share on CBC radio. What did I like about it? I liked that she is 85. That gives her so much more credibility. Some things fade and some gain importance as you go on. It is interesting to learn what has gained importance for someone like her. I have added her wisdom to the map with all the rest of the information on it, the map for living.

It would be kind of me to add a link: http://www.cbc.ca/tapestry/archives/2007/081907.html

And a thank you, Paul. It will be nice to read that book together. Thank you.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Grapes of Wrath

"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

Don't Panic

I've had to answer this question so many times: What comes next? What degree are you going for? What are you going to do with it? I thought by enrolling in university I would appease all those well-meaning doom-sayers that would leave a few too many seconds of silence after my answer of "I don't know". Apparently, they are not satisfied yet. I wish I could tell them all that I am not worried about what I am going to do. I wish I could stop them when I recognize the look of doubt, and tell them that no matter what happens to me, I am sure it cannot stray far from what I am built for. My life will always be consonant with what my capacities and my needs. I do not distrust my nature and my strength so much that I would compromise certain things, on any path that I choose. So stop making those faces! Stop asking me to scramble for the most possible future. I am not worried, do you really care enough that you are? What have you invested in my life more than I have? Or does the answer of "I don't know" just leave you without a socially prescribed response. If I said something you recognized: "Social Worker, Journalist, Teacher, Mother of 5", you would be able to say "Oh, my cousin did that at UBC and is now the happiest individual in the western hemisphere, according to Newsweek". Well, I'm not going to feel anxious about the future so you can have an easier time conversing with me. I know that those conversation are like games of Jenga... we take turns to make legal moves, removing and dealing with the normal questions and comments by saying them. The person who makes the comment that crumbles the tower loses, there is a moment of silence, a smile, and we turn to the person on our other side and start again. Block of wood #1: "Hi!" #2:"I know you from that wedding 5 years ago" #3:"What are you up to these days!" #4:"Oh yeah, what's next?". Let me just crumble the tower before you get too into it: I don't know, ok? And I don't care to know. So deal with it.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

.

I'm in Ontario, and everywhere, there are holes. I thought this visit would be very different from the last two, but it's like the negative of the previous image, the mirror's view, because everything is different, but not separate. Suddenly, you realize the mechanisms that held this house together have disappeared. Toilet paper runs out (I can never remembering being in that bathroom and running out of toilet paper, before yesterday). I do things I never would have had to before... serve the coffee, clean up the cake. Before, this place was so restful but now, there is so much to be done! So much to catch up on. Groceries, cleaning the bathrooms, changing the sheets. Where has the once unlimited supply of Kleenex gone to? This is not what a life boils down to, but this is what has struck me as I walk in to it all. I feel all our lives are that much more scattered, because the pivot is gone or moved, or lost for now. How to live with this scatter, with the shards inside that still cut once in a while. I agree that I would like to keep them... in fact, I find more shards all the time... things I thought I had lost. Memories of moments, of words... I can't conjure them, but they have come to me. I remembered those jeans she bought me that I loved and my parents hated. I remembered what she ate for breakfast, or what her hands felt like. I'm glad to have more of the glass shards. Yeah, they hurt, but they are supposed to. It means they are still growing, you are still moving, and the pain is that reminder.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Will It Blend?

Wouldn't it be great to throw Bush into that blender?

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Recent correspondence

We have just been at the shop opposite the internet cafe eating ice cream with Linder and his sister (Erika, second from the left). The ice cream dripped down my shirt. Tomorrow morning we leave. Nothing else changes here except that we leave and they will miss your Dad more than he cares to think. None of the poverty here changes. In some ways it gets worse and they don't notice. Everyone takes their share from the poor and they are left in the dirt and then blamed for it. I've been reading Failed States - Noam Chomsky. What a mess. We have to keep writing about it. Don't give up.

Love Gdad
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Hey Grampa,

Thanks for your email from Bastión. I hope you manage to get the ice cream off of your shirt.
And thanks for your encouragement. I have been writing lately. I have been trying to find what to express, but it doesn't come easy to me, I must have lost practice.

I just don't have fictions inside of me to tell. Everything I write has really happened, and it is hard enough to believe. I wrote two pages already about the Park guys, no individuals, just the pressures and the truth behind why they occupy a certain position in society. I wrote one page about my neighbour when I was in Caracol, the woman next door who took care of her 4 grandkids for years, the daughter/mother missing in the equation was in Spain, hadn't seen the 4 year old girl since she had given birth to her, pretty much. In Spain to get money. It all seems too disconnected from reality to be non-fiction. It strikes me as so wrong.

So I wrote. But I don't know what to write about next. And I don't know if I am cut out for Creative Writing. My point is, your encouragement came at a good time. I hope you had a good two weeks there. Yes, they will miss dad, but they know how to live without him. That is part of the process of standing up and moving forwards, I think. Poverty is a monster that cannot be beat if there is only one hero.

Love, Bethany

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Hey Bubber

You left a few paintings in Caracol...I like them. Can I take them home with me?

love Dad
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Yea, you can take them. I didn't leave them because i didn't like them, though, just so you know. I left them because i thought they might retain some of myself in the place.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

I figured that and that is why I asked you Bubber. Your influence is all over that house. Don't worry, it is ours and Uncle Paul doesn't want us to give it up so it will be ours for the foreseeable future.

You will be back B. Of that I am sure. patience.

love Dad

Sunday, June 17, 2007

black and white

I remember watching "Do the Right Thing" and being so conflicted because the message of the film is not clear at the end. It is Spike Lee's masterpiece about a hot day in 1989 when temper's flare and one New York kid loses his life due to police brutality. Who's fault is it? Who had the most power to avoid it? Was this the only way the tension could be released? Who did the right thing, in the end? At the anti-Atlantica march in Halifax on Friday, 300 or so people gathered and marched along the streets of Halifax to bring attention to the fact that decisions about the economic future of the region are being made behind closed doors. Most citizens have no idea what Atlantica is even about (please see http://resist.stopatlantica.org/about.html for a short summary), and politicians and businesspeople are already making plans and counting hatched chickens. After the march was concluded, 50 or so people split-off, moved away from the conference centre, possibly smashed some bank windows and threw light-bulbs filled with paint at cops (some I saw were dressed in riot gear, some were not). Twenty were arrested, and the next day the newspapers ran the story of the arrests and the clashing, with short mentions to the peaceful march and everything that led up to the conflict (http://www.herald.ns.ca/Search/841681.html). Now, within the movement, we are told to support a "diversity of tactics" (euphemism for violence. Why do we condemn and mock the establishment's usage of euphemisms like "collateral damage" and "friendly fire", only to make up some of our own when they suit our purposes?). We are told to not undermine those who are on our side who employ different ways of getting the same message out. It is called "direct action"... a broad term I think. A term I don't think applies to what the 50 militant minority did on Friday. I think direct action implies that something is directly being done to stop or hinder those involved in the negotiations that were going on behind the police lines and the closed doors of the conference centre. However, the only direct action taken on Friday was against the police. The police responded with brutality, and proved the point I guess that the black clad protesters were trying to make. I don't think they very much minded getting arrested or beat up, since that was their purpose in coming after all. But they use the experience to feed their anger, to justify their violence, to increase their bitterness. The cops, like those in the Spike Lee film, have the obvious power advantage. The decision to overreact was theirs to make, as well. We know that it is an overreaction to pepper spray and use a taser gun on a human being because they threw some paint at a window. But the protesters also knew that this was an overreaction that was to be expected. Were they successful in pointing this out? Did they do the right thing? (just because it is obvious that the cops didn't, as it is in the movie, it doesn't make everything else that leads up to it completely clear). I believe the black-clad protesters, and the police were both wrong. I believe, however, that one group had a choice about how to act, whereas the other group was obligated to react according to training, and with the whole weight of the corporate state bearing down on them. Cops are trained wrong, but we should be smarter than them. We can't beat them by playing their game and losing to them. We have to create a new game, were violence has no chance of competing, much less defining who comes out on top.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Year 2007-2008 - Villa Villekulla

New phone number: available upon request.

New mailing address: available upon request.

New roomies:





Old me


Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Crime School

The current realization of President Correa (largely brought to his attention by the "sicario" (assassin-for-hire) murder of the Director of the Penitentiary last month):

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

Temporary new mailing address

I took it down. the internet is too public. -Bethany Horne

Thursday, May 10, 2007

everything seems so much sadder sometimes

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

EVICTED

Yep, us. There is nothing like the thrill of conquering the moral high ground to give one enough energy to pack up a house and move it in 24 hours. We got boxes at the supermarket 10 minutes after being notified of the final decision. Friends have come to help with the process. Trailers and cars have been procured to help with the heavy stuff. Final destination is still unsure, but I guess we will know by tomorrow. We will have to, of course.

Monday, April 30, 2007

still travelling, it seems


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

the loneliness

"In the conflicts between man and man, between group and group, between nation and nation, the loneliness of the seeker for community is sometimes unendurable. The radical tension between good and evil, as man sees it and feels it, does not have the last word about the meaning of life and the nature of existence. There is a spirit in man and in the world working always against the thing that destroys and lays waste. Always he must know that the contradictions of life are not final or ultimate; he must distinguish between failure and a many-sided awareness so that he will not mistake conformity for harmony, uniformity for synthesis. He will know that for all men to be alike is the death of life in man, and yet perceive harmony that transcends all diversities and in which diversity finds its richness and significance." Howard Thurman

Thursday, April 19, 2007


things are maybe looking up

Monday, April 16, 2007

ICU

The ICU waiting room is a small tense box with uncomfortable couches... waiting room couches... the first item that struck me was the tiny tissues box. I have seen lots of tissue boxes in my life... but one would think they would need a bigger one in here. But the environment is so taut, maybe the bigger tissue box should be put outside, for the people who leave to be able to express their grief in a less tense place... the busy hallways, the bathroom. The drugs they are giving her paralyze her... she can't communicate, open her eyes... we think she can hear, but who knows? It is hard. We slept to have emotional energy. All we go is sit and wait, the only energy you need is emotional. To sit straight. To talk. To look people in the eyes demands enormous strength. My dad and my uncle slept in this waiting room. Grampa, Auntie Mary, my cousin Pip and my sister Katie slept at 1350 Sycamore Drive... it is strange. It is Grannie and Grampa's house, without Grannie and Grampa. Feeding yourself in a house where you were only ever fed by others. Sleeping on a couch... it was fine, but it was a big reminder of the unnatural situation. As if we need any more.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

It is going to be a strange day today.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

A Sad Day

Kurt Vonnegut. 1922-2007

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

caveat lector

It is nice to think that most of the papers on my floor could be safely thrown out, and it wouldn't matter, as they no longer belong to projects which need to be worked on, but rather to courses I have now written final exams for. There is a nice little limbo now, and the final deadlines will have come and gone by the 17th. There are a few things I have postponed mentally until after exams are done to think about... in fact, most thoughts have been pushed into future time slots, just for convenience. House search, travel plans, personal priorities, cleaning stuff up. I can't even spend energy thinking about things I need to think about, that would violate emergency procedures.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

What have you learned today? Never get involved in a land war in Asia. What have you unlearned? Buckets-full.

Monday, April 09, 2007

My Way

In the spirit of taking jokes too far: "If you know the words, sing 'em, if you don't: shut up, it'll sound crap."

1 down, 4 to go.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

My philosophy prof says I write using too many open ended questions, so I will end with this: The only way to keep our humanity is to retain our critical faculties.
(ring ring rrrrrring!!!)

Monday, March 26, 2007

Yea Katie

In solidarity RIMA LIII Volverán las oscuras golondrinas en tu balcón sus nidos a colgar, y otra vez con el ala a sus cristales jugando llamarán. Pero aquellas que el vuelo refrenaban tu hermosura y mi dicha a contemplar, aquellas que aprendieron nuestros nombres... ¡esas... no volverán!. Volverán las tupidas madreselvas de tu jardín las tapias a escalar, y otra vez a la tarde aún más hermosas sus flores se abrirán. Pero aquellas, cuajadas de rocío cuyas gotas mirábamos temblar y caer como lágrimas del día... ¡esas... no volverán! Volverán del amor en tus oídos las palabras ardientes a sonar; tu corazón de su profundo sueño tal vez despertará. Pero mudo y absorto y de rodillas como se adora a Dios ante su altar, como yo te he querido...; desengáñate, ¡así... no te querrán! Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer

Sunday, March 25, 2007

March 25th, 2005 Don't forget.

Friday, March 23, 2007

"I assure you, that the typewriting machine, when played with expression, is not more annoying than the piano when played by a sister or near relation. Indeed many among those most devoted to domesticity prefer it." -Oscar Wilde, 1897

Wednesday, March 21, 2007



write
write
write
write
write
write
write
write

Monday, March 19, 2007

Developments in Ecuador

The issue of the suspension of the 57 congressmen and women has gone to the courts. Judges are now in the news, weighing in on one side or the other. A Supreme court magistrate thinks that the congress-members should be allowed back in to sessions, while the Supreme Court considers the case. One judge, Wilson Mendoza, made statements about a suspended congress member who threatened violence if the suspensions were not revoked. The party this man belongs to has distanced itself from these remarks, and the judge has not pressed any formal charges. Mendoza is a provincial judge in Manabí who ruled to pass the case on to the higher Tribunal. He was invited to a meal with this congressman, who showed up accompanied by a former cop (a cop who lost his job for being involved in the coup d'état of Lucio Gutierrez, in January 2000) and said things like "I hope you don't regret your decision". Ah, and Barcelona lost 4-1 to Olmedo, for those more interested in the fútbol news. At least sports are less ambiguous: we know for sure Barcelona losing is a good thing.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

the wind


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

(Cat Stevens)

MPs clash with police in Ecuador

















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.


-BBC Americas



Tuesday, March 13, 2007

"It's the sun, stupid"

If philosophy is a threat, what kind of an ideology are you defending?

Sunday, March 11, 2007

?'s

I was going through old blog entries today, trying to remember good stuff I've written. I have to write some fiction. Pathetically, I can only think to begin with things that have already made their way through my mind and out my fingers. The best things I feel right now that I have written, are the questions. I have written a ridiculous lot over the past year. A lot of it is scattered across the globe, or in some garbage dump in Vancouver, because it was a letter to someone. Some is here in this blog. Some is in my journal. Some is in this cheapo orange notebook i filled with thoughts too fractured or scandalous to qualify for my journal (I am not wuite convinced of the honesty of the feelings in the orange notebook...which is the reason I subconsciously left them out of the main journal in the first place...but I hang on to them). And everywhere, so many questions. Those may have been the only original thoughts I produced...and they weren't even thoughts. They were pre-thoughts. I have few answers. I have fewer every day. The better I get at asking questions, the worse I get at answering them. And yet life is carried out amidst action and decision, inertia is defeated daily. more questions, more questions. they never stop coming. i want to know all the questions in the world, and then invent more. i want every action to be pure faith, forcing me beyond the doubt...you have to doubt, but you also have to act. and what can you trust in? sorry. the answer is nothing.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Stay informed


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

Many miles away, children sleep uneasily, expectantly, going through mental lists of toothpastes and favourite shirts. or have children even acquired that nasty habit yet? maybe it's images of water balloons and sand castles that keep them awake. too many memories, too many histories to sort out, stories to tell to themselves tonight. they chuckle to themselves and the younger ones who share their bed are shaken out of their slumber. they hear the stories, the jokes, the laughter. tomorrow is going to be charged, it is going to shimmer. a revolution without dancing is a revolution not worth having

Monday, February 26, 2007

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

a piece of a lesson


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.