30 Nov 2004, 8:01pm
Citizenship
Comments Off on GW Bush State Visit

GW Bush State Visit

Nothing seems to increase well being than mounting the mounting fears and inertia, getting tough, getting off the duff and moving. The radio people reporting live must have been expecting differently so were struck by how many women and kids and university people were at the protest. About 40 busloads from out of the city were reportedly coming in for the protest.

With that expectation in mind, I was then struck by the fairly even cross-sectionality of the crowds. A lot of inflow and outflow was happening. It’ll be hard to count. I was struck by there being a lot of mid-life people, a lot of grey-hair mixing with punked hair and metal studs, drummers with a dancing circle of mostly but not all under-30-year-olds with placards chanting “peace” and a very merry busy hotdog vendor nearby.

The cutest placard I saw said “Beavers against Bush: Make Love not war” and “Make love not war: go home you warmongering fascist”. [lol. A loving message if ever I heard one. How will that help peace?] Informed dissent(?) at its most biting? Protesters by 6 were far outnumbered by more police than I have ever seen in one place. They seemed a messy crowd, littering as much as at Canada Day and the spray paint had been out again saying “Bush not welcome” and the like, which was immediately removed again.

Most grafitti was in mutlicolored chalk on the sidewalks. There was only one shoving scuffle I heard of. Worst fears are rarely borne out except in the histimine streams of chattering talk, anticipatory rumor that’s good for newspaper business, TV ratings, to be a trifle cynical. 10 or so were arrested. Thousands were out. Only a few stores protescted their window glass with boards. Less, I beleive, than did for the easiest comparison point, the G8 summit.

So, moving along, the need for peace is daily and in the everyday interactions adn going out of your way to build community and caring everywhere, even among the “unnoticed”. Hello day and friendship week were this month but the world kindness movement is year round

Want to hear a few pick me up stories of people being good to each other?

30 Nov 2004, 4:32pm
Citizenship Life Anecdotes
Comments Off on Out of the Ordinary

Out of the Ordinary

Around here a few glassfront stores have boarded up in case there is rioting. It seems to me like an outside chance, but pack mentality is when dogs and humans are most alike. It could be an easily provoked minority, that without any sense of irony of what they do, will become violent for peace protests and against satellite missile defence and Bushian policy.

My conscious-unconscious ratio is off. I’m a bit edgy. There’s my to-do list burgeoning of course but topmost is the military presence. Military helicopters and police are swarming — it all threatens to seriously collapse my humor-energy fields. There are at least 3 groups protesting the state visit of George W Bush to town and one pro-group welcoming him.

It all seems terribly exciting in a minefield sort of way. Overall, while civil disobedience in a Gandhian sense appeals, group action alarms me. Solidarity is all nice and all, but so long as thought, choice understanding and individual culpability doesn’t get left behind. I’m not often fond of the anonymity of a crowd, it being beauty and malaise like Spencer Tunick captures.

One further admission before I get to more cheerful bits. I used to get a sick-angry-fearful pit in my stomach at the sight of a uniform. (I’m speaking of police or army fatigues worm by a person of military bearing with “the walk”. Flight attendants, no, chain store workers, no alarm. Mailman. No.) Although exposure to the military uniforms of the Department of national defence and the bar scene police that are daily on my street, I’ve gotten desensitized to from overexposure. (Not interaction with).

The editorial that ran to say that the protests are a waste of energy and misguided and will be ignored by both sides of the government (i.e. the US side and Canadian side). It was sufficiently disheartening. If I get my polenta casserole and some laundry done, I’ll go out for the candlelight vigil most likely, but my senses of curiosity or adventure weren’t enough to push me to poke a nose out this afternoon more than I have to. The radio reports of thousands in local roving crowds looking to impress with their prescence doesn’t strike me as useful. The $3 million of security and entertaining could have built homes for 100 households, if people behaved and if money could shift from one hand to another readily.

On a good note, Socialist free medical care for all, leader Tommy Douglas.

So, on a long awaited brighter note:

Web Finds: Alternate history of what if someone else would have won the wars and successfully colonized for centuries? A map is at Nov 10th’s Head Wide Open with thought titilations.

Jump at the chance to do something different? It’s is one of the more joyful sites I’ve seen lately.

Although this is not laughs exactly, it is pretty admirable unicycle stunt riding.

Thought of the Day: LMAO is the best weight-reduction strategy I’ve heard of.

28 Nov 2004, 8:22pm
Divertions On the Peace Path
Comments Off on Smile You’re On Candid Life

Smile You’re On Candid Life

Doing a lot of structural changes here and in other sites I work on. So think I’ll go with an entry as substantial and insubstantial as a smile. I got the idea from 101 things that make Allison smile (I think I’ll start out with, say, 51 just for the health of it). Let’s see, what makes me smile?

  1. Bananas. Well, they make me laugh not smile, actually. Fairly consistently.
  2. Ok, soooo… off to a perilous start. Like perilous starts.
  3. Like ballsiness. In for a penny, in for a pound.
  4. Smile at weird unexpected connections.
  5. And bus connections that are just perfectly timed.
  6. The salt-and-pepper-haired self-declared "devil" with dimples who recognizes regulars on his bus.
  7. And it makes me smile to work out a convoluted absurd pattern of connections, as between busdriver and bananas.
  8. I’ll leave it to your mischievous imagination.
  9. Before I get myself in hot water.
  10. :-) Long long long scalding hot showers as my last landlady will attest to.
  11. Tests, quizzes, surveys, statistics, graphs, charts, especially ones with fun connected graphics like buying power compared with proportional stacked bundles of money.
  12. Punny titles like "Our Secret? Spys!" about making an apple crumble dessert from the variety of apple called Spy
  13. Shaggy dog stories and stinky puns that may not actually "mean anything".
  14. A forced rhyme for a limerick is the best use of force
  15. An eyebrow wiggle makes me smile.
  16. The funny pages (the page of comic strips in the newspapers.) That’s obvious but the obvious is important to not overlook.
  17. When I “get somethin”g that makes who I’m with laugh too.
  18. When I’m inside a wave of laughter, feel myself as I bob along inside it, like at a comedy club, when I remember how it felt to be taken breathless by an outburst of honking laughter.
  19. Seeing in action any person who flirts with the world, man, woman, young and old and obviously is enjoying living
  20. Seeing a mom stay all loving, warm and fuzzy when her kids are hot and fussy.
  21. Seeing a dad positively glowing with love watching or explaining something to his toddler.
  22. Seeing my dad talking like that to his horses.
  23. Seeing a kid’s eyes bug out when they feel how soft a horse’s nose is.
  24. Good lord, discovering something as I speak.
  25. (Do I actually like kids after years of fearing the short treacherous creatures?)
  26. The adventure of never knowing what I’ll say or think next but enjoying the ride and neural fireworks.
  27. Real fireworks, even a photo of them.
  28. The sound of billiard balls’ opening crack. I swear I can almost smell the sulphur.
  29. Think I’m hitting them too hard?
  30. When the stars so close that it looks like the sky will catch fire completely.
  31. A red moon.
  32. A red just about anything if its a saturated intense red or burgundy brocade.
  33. A very particular sagey pastel green for the cooling feeling like being in the understory of a summer forest.
  34. The solitude and stark beauty of a winter forest by ski.
  35. Or a cobalt blue in a pillow or bottle or food, or… for that purple-blue I’ve bought clothes that don’t even fit or pens that I know won’t write for long.
  36. I like the tingles of That Blue – it can raise the hair on my head.
  37. That kind of scalp tingle can be caused by Dagoba chocolate too.
  38. Seeing fairtrade on a label makes me smile.(Air punches are looked at strange mid-aisle. 😉 )
  39. (Thinking of doing it anyway.)
  40. …Smile…misty rain on my face like a kiss.
  41. Walking in the rain and time running down a sewer drain.
  42. A phenomenal kiss.
  43. The road taken without questioning.
  44. Ok, 90 degree turn to something new –like the gross-cool foam collecting where lake waves pound.
  45. The feeling of slime of algae or after-rain slime mould.
  46. That smile and slime are anagrams.
  47. Any mixing of the vaguely inappropriate, like fresh cracked black pepper on a strawberry/cashew butter sandwich.
  48. Small acts of asynchonous interactions, like chalk drawings on sidewalks, messages on bathroom walls, email, the miracle of communication without body language.
  49. The way other mammals and cetaceans interact so quickly though touch, proxemics and eye contact.
  50. The way people in synch can communicate at a distance so well.
  51. The sound of drums or a single instrument, like a bass, or bodhran.
  52. That doing things half way can still be a good thing.
  53. Doing a smidgen more than I set out planning to.
  54. Realizing that my mental and physical muscles have been used and can rest.
25 Nov 2004, 9:29pm
Consumerism
Comments Off on Buy-Buy Buyer?

Buy-Buy Buyer?

And as a further addendum to tomorrow’s Buy Nothing Day, there’s this: The Corporate Research Group survey of 430 Ottawa people, (accurate to 4.3% 19 times out of 20), gives a broader perspective on this whole commercial Christmas thing.

Almost half, (42.6%) found it more difficult to buy for friends and family than previous years. About half (54.7%) expected to spend more on Christmas gifts this year than last year and almost half (47.8%) prefer to get a traditional Christmas gift and about 1 in 5 (17.5%) are indifferent over gift vs. cash/gift certificates. Buy Nothing Day seems more show than go. Our underlying notions are expansion, improvement, change not maintanance of permanency.

We expect inflation. We expect raises. We expect to get more than we give if we possibly can. We expect people to float along on others good graces and the sturdy social net to catch seniors for the last 20 or 30 years of their life. We nod that of course we need to distinguish between want and need, greed and good. Everyone needs to "treat ourselves" and good things comes to those who work and those who wait. As the bumper sticker says, "Hard work pays off later. Laziness pays off now".

Blech. Getting knockers in a knit. Or is that nickers in a knot. Knot in the knit? Knock in the gnat? Anyhew. On the other hand, to continue that thought a few hours later, free Word Association is instructive but I want the biofeedback program Wild Divine. (Still.) It’s frightfully expensive. I can donate a whack to charity. Or I can easily fritter away $200 in cheap things, a dollar or three at a time but to curb that to a curve of larger items and stop the small gratifications. Like $30 a month on chocolate (but I don’t smoke, don’t drink, don’t gamble, don’t do lotto, bingo, blotto, don’t golf, don’t spend on arcades so my budget’s fairly cheap).

The key is balance of physical and non-physical. To make choices that meet the needs of mind, body, heart of self, companions, tribe and of wider society. Like to repeal and reform systemic vegetable cruelty

Songtrack: Taking Care of Christmas by Tom Jackson (pun of Taking Care of Business), Knocking on Heaven’s Door (Bob Marley and Led Zepplin)

Menu: Taking a break from tomato sandwiches on walnut bread and having shallot, pesto and roasted red peppers on a funny looking pasta

25 Nov 2004, 7:22pm
Consumerism
Comments Off on Buy Nothing Day

Buy Nothing Day

They used to say wealth is land. A man without land is nothing. At least that’s what people with land said. Now that 90% are urban on land temporarily, probably renting and will move for work, wealth is redefined in a practical sense… No money, no funny. Security is cash on the barrel head. No rain checks, no credit, no promissory notes, no mortgages or other loans hanging over the head. Maybe a stash of gold jewelry, dowry or something you can hawk in a worst case scenario for food. Better a bunch of liquid
assets to get what you want when you want it. If we were to get less concrete, security is unconditional love, transferable skills and useful connections and high energy moja.

As conspicuous consumption gears up, time to temper the McDs-like message.As Adbusters put it,

"For 24 hours, millions of people around the world do not participate — in the doomsday economy, the marketing mind-games, and the frantic consumer-binge that’s become our culture. We pause. We make a small choice not to shop. We shrink our footprint and gain some calm. Together we say to Exxon, Nike, Coke and the rest: enough is enough. And we help build this movement to rethink our unsustainable course."

Buy Nothing Day is on Nov 26 where the focus is live consciously and buy wisely not frivolously. Live simply. People before stuff. Brains before marketing. That sort of thing. Hear it set to music in, Buy Nothing At All by Artist: Joel Kroeker.

Shall we take it that far? Everyone loves a deal and to not be taken in by hucksters. On this basis Adbusters has a strengths. Because of the way the mind works, appeals works for the dollars go a lot further in Guatemala or in Zambia or with the Ten Dollar Club with micro amounts given where it is most needed. Think of what a deal it is to get that much bang for your buck.

Ah, now get some shopping in before that all that not spending starts. 😉

More radical departure is the Buy Nothing Christmas. I may be pessimistic but I don’t see that going over too well in our families even though we all say annually we need nothing and struggle to come up with ideas. With more family exchanging cash cards for certain stores in lieu of gifts for "hard to buy for people who have everything", maybe the switchover to a gift to the charity of our choice instead is almost in hand. First it has to be a group someone genuine cares for the well being of and is excited to see helped or else the personalized connection to the person as symbolic exchange of caring and caregiving is lost. The season if for freedom of generosity not guilt, not getting. It’s for sharing and time with loved ones.

Buy Nothing Christmas is an American national initiative started by Canadian Mennonites but open to everyone with a thirst for change and a desire for action. There’s even a catalogue of things you can’t buy. Like Mastercard priceless ad series but without the credit expenditures up front.

Getting is nice. That’s why lotteries work so well. It works both greed and generousness and sense of hope simultaneously. The adopt an animal, child or tree of your choice works similarly — it tweaks this mechanisms for only giving if you get something in return. The Guatemala Stove Project lets you share the wealth and you get a personal connection in the shape of a photo of the family you helped. You see the result of money. No one likes to give and not see what is gotten. How many times have you been given cash and reported back to an auntie on what you bought with the money? It gives closure and appreciation, gratification that she made a small difference. It greases the social wheels and makes everyone feel good and connected.

There must be some way to harvest those principles for Christmas so amusement, gratification and bonding are satisfied without walling individuals up behind more stuff and polite smiles of what they didn’t really want. Getting one charity matched for everyone could be as hard as picking exactly the right belt or shoe. Hm. I’ll ponder it and pitch it harder or differently this year. Meanwhile, let’s look at why women live longer than men. Proof is in the photos.

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