Monday, December 22, 2008
Sunday, December 14, 2008
|Ukraine||Kiev, Kyyivs'ka Oblast'|
|Spain||Torrevieja, Comunidad Valenciana|
|Sweden||Eslv, Skane Lan|
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Monday, November 24, 2008
Thursday, November 20, 2008
I had forgotten how much I loved this song. By Juan Luis Guerra originally, but covered here by Café Tacuba and Alejandro Flores. It has such a cornucopia of agricultural events. Oh, to climb down the hill of shelled rice, y continuar el arado con tu querer. It's quite untranslateable, actually. Sorry, I tried.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Friday, October 31, 2008
This week is Atlantic Fashion Week in Halifax, but last week was the Pop Explosion, and Paul, Eva and I went out to see Josh Ritter. Apparently, it was his birthday. Paul ran into Josh in one of his trip to the bathroom, and reports that he is a real nice guy and a gentleman. We all had a great time.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Saturday, October 11, 2008
Thursday, October 09, 2008
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Thursday, September 25, 2008
This was written by Margaret Atwood:
"On Tuesday [Prime Minister Stephen Harper] told us that some group called “ordinary people” didn't care about something called “the arts.” His idea of “the arts” is a bunch of rich people gathering at galas whining about their grants. Well, I can count the number of moderately rich writers who live in Canada on the fingers of one hand: I'm one of them, and I'm no Warren Buffett. I don't whine about my grants because I don't get any grants. I whine about other grants - grants for young people, that may help them to turn into me, and thus pay to the federal and provincial governments the kinds of taxes I pay, and cover off the salaries of such as Mr. Harper. In fact, less than 10 per cent of writers actually make a living by their writing, however modest that living may be. They have other jobs. But people write, and want to write, and pack into creative writing classes, because they love this activity – not because they think they'll be millionaires.
Every single one of those people is an “ordinary person.” Mr. Harper's idea of an ordinary person is that of an envious hater without a scrap of artistic talent or creativity or curiosity, and no appreciation for anything that's attractive or beautiful. My idea of an ordinary person is quite different. Human beings are creative by nature. For millenniums we have been putting our creativity into our cultures - cultures with unique languages, architecture, religious ceremonies, dances, music, furnishings, textiles, clothing and special cuisines. “Ordinary people” pack into the cheap seats at concerts and fill theatres where operas are brought to them live. The total attendance for “the arts” in Canada in fact exceeds that for sports events. “The arts” are not a “niche interest.” They are part of being human."
Read the whole article here while it is still up (the Globe and Mail takes the articles down after a few days).
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Sunday, August 31, 2008
Monday, August 04, 2008
Sunday, August 03, 2008
Wednesday, July 09, 2008
Monday, July 07, 2008
From Joey Comeau's blog:
"The problem with a lot of the people I've met who are "romantic" is that they don't really treat the object of their affection as a real person. More like a prop in the romantic fantasy! This is all fine and good as long as things go fine. But if not, well! That's when the anger comes out, and you can see little traces of the cognitive dissonance going on behind the scenes! But I love you, you stupid fucking whore! "
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Here's Muddy (7 weeks, 8 pounds):
In a world of ideal pirated internet connections, I could upload a cute video of him eating dirt, or my toes. Alas, the internet has not quite reached that level of sophistication in this isolated corner of the world.
Speaking of this corner of the world:
Thats us. I am sure with a wide angle lens I could have worked wonders. I apologize profusely.
Correction: actually, that is not us. We are 2403. But ours looks very similar, sans barby.
I have also started to train to be a YMCA Day Camp counsellor I always spell that word wrong, and don't trust spell check).
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Sunday, June 01, 2008
Saturday, May 31, 2008
Thursday, May 29, 2008
I didn't burn water today, but I came pretty close: soy milk. In our favourite/only medium pot.
"Incinerated" Paul says. "It doesn't even exist anymore!" Paul says.
Yeah. I know! I'm the one who has been scraping the bottom of the damn thing for 15 minutes!
Things are a bit crazy figuring out things to take/buy/sell in preparation for moving. We have scavenged some wood to make a bookshelf out of, and have been riding the Kijiji hard looking for a circular saw, cordless phone, single bed, drill, french press and other accoutrements. Check out our new bike kart:
We will still build one, eventually, but it is important to be able to get groceries in the meantime.
COMMENT HERE/EMAIL ME IF YOU WANT MY NEW MAILING ADDRESS
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Thursday, May 01, 2008
I couldn't find a picture from this trip that communicated HEAT, but these two, taken together, communicate much of what the past week has been like for me, otherwise.
Different places, different people, but the general combination of a couple of people and a private place have made for many good conversations recently. Today Alexis was over (finally!), and we talked for a good chunk of time.
The heat: One day, I was talking to Julia for about five minutes on my way into the shower. Eventually, I got into the bathroom, undressed and into the stall. When I turn the water on, ten cents drop off my skin and on to the tile floor. It was hot enough that a dime would stick to me for five minutes (at least) and I would have no idea. Sometimes, you just feel so sweaty and dirty it doesn't matter, I guess. Often I rush home in between engagements for a quick turn in the cool flow of water... I feel like an addict rushing towards my fix, like I am going to die if I don't get that sweet relief in less than 5 minutes. It can be so good.
Yesterday was the only day since I have been in Guayaquil that I didn't have at least one shower. There has been rain every night, even thunderstorms, it is like the rainy season has been reborn. Yesterday I had a bad day, and I wonder if maybe it was because I was denying myself that return to freshness. Even 24 hours is too long for anyone to hold out in that climate.
There wasn't much sun today. It is a gentler existence. I still deserve my fix, though, and I am off to get that now.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Wednesday, April 09, 2008
Sunday, April 06, 2008
I hope that I don't miss too much in Nova Scotia politics while I am gone.
Something makes me believe, however, that little will change. Nova Scotian progressives ridicule Rodney MacDonald (and, indeed, refer to him with the diminutive, familiar name "Rodney") in much the same way liberal Americans ridicule Bush. It is just too easy.
Simultaneously, social services are being eroded, private-public partnerships are strengthened, real progress is being traded for artificial inflations of the economy. Whole industries are disappearing, and the band-aids distributed by the federal government are received by the provincial one with whoops and whistles. I haven't seen any recent reports on those $35 million that are going to help the forestry and manufacturing industries that are hemorrhaging jobs in this province.
Rodney was loving those millions in the press. More critical minds, of course, wondered how such a small sum could do anything for the numerous communities gutted by mill and plant closures. Liberals and New Democrats were disgusted at the politically motivated payout- only the party in power can effectively bribe its way to winning a hypothetical election.
While covering this story for my journalism beat, I was disgusted mainly by Rodney MacDonald, reading his blind comments and his daftly positive proclamation (much in line with the "My government would leave no Nova Scotian behind" statement that brought him so much flak in the home-heating debate).
However, I can't believe that ridicule is going to get us any further fighting MacDonald than it did fighting Bush. I think public denouncement would go much further than mockery. I think this is serious and scary at times.
That said, Kate Beaton does a great job at making fun of him (her familiarity with Rodney is a bit more understandable, as they both have homes in Mabou, Cape Breton).
Thursday, April 03, 2008
Tuesday, April 01, 2008
"Please Don't Pee!" - Bethany Horne, 2008.
"Anyone Could Mistake This For Affection" -Bethany Horne, 2008.
"Paul's Favourites" - Bethany Horne, 2008.
"The Only Way To Get Lyra To Stay Still" - Bethany Horne, 2008
Yes, I am procrastinating a little bit. But what can you do when you can't write? You can't write!
Monday, March 17, 2008
Friday, February 29, 2008
A tough lesson to learn.
A room darkened by a blanket pinned over the window, dozens of the Doppler-effects of moving cars traveling the space between my ears, a bright computer screen: this is my "zone." The repose of the room's mess lends geography to the wasteland of my imagination.
"A chapter," he says. "Somewhere from 1000 to 3000 words," he says. Our will and wildness must take us the rest of the way.
Today is leap day. This makes it feel special to me. Why do we have leap years? You may know the partial response to that, but maybe not the full one:
From The Straight Dope:
The leap year is a contrivance so that the calendar year (usually 365 days) doesn't get too far away from the solar (astronomical) year. You say: huh? Well, the astronomical year – the time it takes the earth to go exactly once around the sun – is not precisely 365 days. The ancients estimated it as 365¼ days. That wasn't bad as calculations go; it's actually 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes, and 46 seconds.
Now, you may think that crummy little fraction (almost 6 hours or 1/4 of a day) doesn't matter much. But every four years, the calendar would lose a full day against the seasonal year. Christmas (Dec. 25) would start to come a little earlier each year. After about 20 years it would come before the winter solstice; after 200 years or so, Christmas would come in the autumn (since the seasons are tied to the astronomical year, because they depend on the earth's slant relative to the sun) . . . and then in summer . . . and . . .
To prevent this drift between the calendar year and the astronomical (seasonal) year, we add one extra day every four years. Thus, over the four year period, we have 1461 days, not 1460, for an average of 365.25 days per year. That pretty much makes it come out right.
This innovation was imposed in the year 709 AUC (ab urbe condita, after the founding of the city), when Julius Caesar regulated the calendar. Nowadays, we refer to it as 45 BC. The Nicaean Council in 325 AD adopted that calendar for Christendom.
But it still wasn't precisely right. As noted above, the astronomical year isn't 365 days 6 hours (365.25 days), it's 365 days 5 hours 48 minutes and 46 seconds (365.2422 days). So as the calendar went along with its jolly add-a-day-every-four-years pattern, it gained about 11 minutes 14 seconds every year. After every 128 years, that was a full day. Note it's going the other direction – Christmas would fall LATER in the season each year.
This anomaly was corrected by Pope Gregory in March 1582. By that time, the calendar year was 10 days off the seasonal year. ( The real concern was not Christmas, but Easter, which had to occur near the vernal equinox and according to the lunar cycle, but that's another story.) They made two corrections. The first was that they just dropped ten days. The day after October 5, 1582 became October 15, 1582. (Some countries adopted this change later, in some cases centuries later.) This restored the equinox to its rightful place. The second change was to reform the calendar to prevent slippage in the future; and we use that same calendar system today, called the Gregorian.
(Footnote: The Russian Orthodox Church still uses the Julian calendar. Christmas comes out about January 7 in their calendar. About every century, the Orthodox Christmas slips one more day against the solar calendar. Currently there's a 13 day lag that by 2100 will become a 14 day lag.)
How does the Gregorian system work? We still have a leap year every four years, to accommodate the almost 6 hour difference that was known in Julius Caesar's time. The Gregorian correction is that every hundred years, we make it NOT a leap year. Thus, 1700, 1800, and 1900 were not leap years, even though they would have been in the normal four year cycle. Thus, every 100 years, there are 24 leap years, not 25. So that lets the calendar year average 365.24 days each year.
Does that do it? Sadly, no. There are still those extra seconds – the astronomical year is 365.2422 days. So every 400 years, we DON'T NOT add the extra day (double negative intended). So 1700, 1800, 1900 were NOT leap years, but 2000 was.
If you've followed the math, that gets us very close. Over a 400 year period the calendar will contain an average of 365.2425 days per year.
Every 4,000 years (the first will be the year 4000, then 8000, etc.) we make the century years NOT leap years again. And that gives us an average of 365.24225 days per year over a 4.000 year period. Still not exact, but the calendar year won't vary by more than a day from its current place in the seasonal (astronomical) year in two hundred centuries – close enough for practical purposes.
So the rule is:
Every year divisible by 4 is a leap year (adds an extra day to February),
EXCEPT the last year of each century, such as 1900, which is NOT a leap year . . .
EXCEPT when the number of the century is a multiple of 4, such as 2000, which IS a leap year . . .
EXCEPT the year 4000 and its later multiples (8000, 12000, etc) which are NOT leap years.
So, we had a special leap day back in 2000, and we didn't even know it. When will the next century year be that is a multiple of four? I wont live that long, that's for sure.
The crux of this blog entry, and back to the picture at the beginning, is that I have needed an extra day this year. Because a lot of the work I have chosen to do has demanded creative brain work (writing for Choyce, sewing, some aspects of journalism, letter writing to people far away)... and a lot of this "work" I have not learnt how to force. I have not settled into a routine, nor developed the discipline (like Paul) to be creative consistently and forcefully, to be productive even when the "zone" is not working.
So what has the extra day meant this leap year:
Last night, another night spent trying to scare-off 3D visions of zippers and pockets and seam allowances... trying to find sleep. Waking up slow to
another morning of sitting in the dark, trying to focus thought, pursue flighty inspiration.
But I can't do it alone. The headwork is all me trying to find places in my brain that contain the knowledge so I can do things alone... but I can't. "You need feedback"...
The internet is a double edged sword is these situations. Yes, I can surf around, find pictures of the steps people take to construct bags with liners and patch pockets... but two hours later, I have sewn nothing. I can look up features of geography and be absorbed by Wikipedia articles about history, looking for good descriptive details, but click click click and I am reading about Robespierre, who has absolutely nothing to do with a South American city in 1998. I can start journalism research on the internet, but will I really benefit from reading an article about the MMR vaccine and it's implementation in the UK? No. I will not write about that. I am wasting time.
So, feedback: from other people. Not the internet equivalent. I have asked my dad about details that will help me create a character. I have decided to focus on advice Anne gave me yesterday about the pocket, instead of trying to understand every aspect of the construction. I will let Paul read my chapter this time before I give it to Lesley Choyce. Hey, maybe even the prologue. Who knows.
And if there are any typos or mistakes in this here blog-post, please let me know.
Thursday, February 21, 2008
Saturday, February 16, 2008
Friday, February 15, 2008
Friday, February 08, 2008
Sunday, February 03, 2008
Sunday, January 27, 2008
Lyra goes for the treat.
No, she didn't do that herself, but I thought if I hid treats among the debris I could blame the mess on them.
In other news, I got the Ogrant (thank you, all), and have started sewing. Pajama bottoms. Nothing fancy.
I have been torturing myself lately about topics that are worth writing a novel about... a story that could be developed, a character that would be worth that much writing... I feel very inadequate for the task. So many sentences, so many stories need to be invented! I don't generally develope ideas that deeply... I consider myself unable to complete a story that complicated in any meaningful way. How can you craft details to complement each other perfectly, and have some sort of combined meaning? I don't like to think about it. I have been studying the elements of Creative Writing for months now, but still think of the work of writers as some magical concoction, for which I possess neither the correct ingredients nor a recipe for combining them.
And I recently tore up a book. It was a slow process, and forced me to read fragments of sentence, chapter headings, words... In conclusion, books are not mystical, many people write them, they are made up of paper, ink, and printed with combinations of 26 letters, ten numbers and nine or ten punctuation marks... but that doesn't help me figure out how to create one.
I've had nightmares of plot outlines, character flow charts, prologues. And I am feeling very antagonistic at every thought of Lesley Choyce. I had to remove his book of short stories from my bookshelf and turn it around so that the spine would face the wall, to avoid the negative thoughts that surge up from within when I see the name.
If I could hide in a friendly white tube, I would, but the swamp of words beckons.
Saturday, January 19, 2008
Unions unite for city students
Bethany Horne Staff Contributor
Mitch Gillingwater, Tara Gault and Mike Tipping want to write a tenancy policy for students as part of the new Halifax student lobby group. / Photo: Josh Boyter
Students in Halifax are now members of another lobby organization run by their student unions.
The student unions of Dalhousie, Mount Saint Vincent University, Saint Mary's University, Nova Scotia Community College and the Atlantic School of Theology decided to combine their efforts and represent students at the municipal level.
The student union executives formed their own group, the Halifax Student Alliance (HSA), in November after learning Mayor Peter Kelly's roundtable on violence would go ahead without any student representation, says Dal Student Union President Mike Tipping.
"They'd given out a survey on that, back in the summer when the students weren't here," says Tipping, one of the group's founders. "We thought that was very unfortunate. The students are a huge population here in Halifax and their voice needs to be heard on issues that affect them everyday."
The HSA conducted an online student survey about crime in Halifax and presented the results on the last day of the roundtable discussion in late November. The group hopes municipal policy makers will take note of their student survey when drafting new rules.
The DSU is already part of two other lobby groups, the Alliance of Nova Scotia Student Associations (ANSSA) and the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations. But Tipping says those groups only focus on federal and provincial post-secondary education issues.
"There are issues that exist only on a municipal level that are very important to students," he says. "Things like transportation, safety and housing. There wasn't really a collective student voice on that until now."
The group hopes to draft a tenancy policy, Tipping says, because a lot of students are uninformed about the rights they have when renting their own places.
"As you probably know if you've rented in this town, it is stacked toward the landlord, and students often have a difficult time navigating that," he says. "I think there needs to be a bit more openness in the process."
"There are organizations right now that work on poverty issues and housing," says Tipping, mentioning the Halifax Coalition Against Poverty and the Ecology Action Centre. "We would be focusing more on specifically student issues, although in some ways they overlap."
Mitch Gillingwater, president of the SMU Students' Association, says students make up 2.5 per cent of the city's workforce, which he says is "very significant." He says it's important students are represented on the municipal level.
There are no students, aside from union executives and council members, involved in the new lobby group. Gillingwater says members will try to attract more student volunteers "once the organization grows." The group doesn't collect student fees and currently has a tiny budget and a 400-member Facebook group.
Engineering student Dave Cormier, a member of the Facebook group, says he would try to get involved if he could make room in his "ridiculous" schedule.
"It's one of those things, once you get [it] going on, it will have to pick up," Cormier says. "Most students aren't really informed about a lot of things."
Keith Stevens, a third-year political science student, says he hasn't seen a particular "grassroots" call for another student lobby organization at Dal, but that it's worthwhile for student leaders to represent generally less-informed student bodies.
"Our city council doesn't really get a lot done, in my opinion, but it's worth a try to get something done," he says. "There's potential in it (the HSA). Similar organizations didn't have a lot in the beginning," he adds, comparing the new union to provincial lobby group ANSSA.
"Holy ANSSA Jr., Batman!" Stevens commented on the HSA's Facebook page.
The Halifax Student Alliance is only the second municipal student lobby group formed in Canada. Student unions of public universities in Edmonton made the same move in August.
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
If you have a Canadian University email-address, please register for the site and vote for me, there are only three days left in the competition and I am first, but only by a couple of votes.
The competition is over. We'll see how it goes. I won the rating process by 19 votes. Good stuff!
Wednesday, January 09, 2008
But they do seem to enjoy their new habitat. I think the dryer-vent tube is their favourite, with the cardboard box coming in close second.
Saturday, January 05, 2008
NYE is always a day I look forward to. In Ecuador, it is the most important day of the year. Many traditions, superstitions, visions and transitions hinge on it. It was January 2nd, 2007 that Katie and I left Ecuador. It was January 2nd, 2006 that I decided I wasn't going to be a tool of a certain contingent of well-meaning, noxious friends anymore.
Though initially skeptical about the whole idea, not THEIR marriage, but marriage as an institution, I have been converted to recognize the beauty of a simple promise, and a powerful union. If the wedding wer simple a lavish party to celebrate the fact that Chels and Clayt are together, it would have been worth it. But I think the most moving part for me, and others, was the ceremony (I didn't see that coming, not even at the rehearsal).
It was just such a thunderbolt. Clayton's father did a wonderful job. Every time he was dangerously close to tears he would pause, press a smile, first with his lips then push it into his eyes, then shake his head. Apparently it worked for him, but it made me want to to weep every time, because the emotion was just released into the crowd. The vows went smoothly, with Carol-Ann tearing up gently to my side, but something snapped (according to accounts) in Chelsey first, and then in Clayton (spactacularily), Fred, Eva and others during the giving of the rings. The rest of the promise-making after that was just throbbing with environmental emotion, and you didn't know which surge would send whose sobs into overdrive.
Oh, but it was SO GOOD! Who knew that a promise could mean so much! Who would have predicted that stating the obvious could wake such feelings! Who could have given so much meaning to those words we have heard too many times, tarnished and polluted by usage and by sarcasm... only C + C. So, thanks guys. For that. And for what is to come.
I had fun.