31 Jan 2005, 4:35pm
Life Anecdotes
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Car wash purifies the soul

Feel run down? Dry skin? You may be dehydrated. Drink water. There’s something purifying about water. Cleaning the laundry, cleaning the car, cleaning myself and somehow I feel comforted. No wonder water figures into so many religious rituals. Powerwashing the car felt as good as a long soak in a bath, (which is next on the agenda).

A micro-mini H20 quiz:
Canada uses a) the same b) half as much c) twice as much water per person than someone in France.

Sweden uses about the same amount of water per person as Israel does. True or False?

Go to the pdf on water use to check your answers.

Water, inside and out, is a good antidote to finding my work cabinet broken into, my stereo missing, doing the running around of reporting it, reconnaising that the pothead(s) had been in again in the wee hours and left the building unlocked when they left (again). Small (but present) comfort is that we got off lucky (since another community centre had $15000 damage of things smashed and spray painted).

I’m malcontent, but less than I could be. So long as they don’t gut the place. Even still, I’m tempted to take every last bit of paper and book from work home where it would be safe just in case they light up more than a doobie on their daily visit. Eek. They could cook my books! [A groaner on loaner. Use it as you will. Why be pensive when you can be punsive?]

But back to the car wash event. It was more than a half hour wait but with the radio on, that’s only a few good tunes. One of my favorite song even came on. (If you’re gonna play in texas, ya gotta have a fiddle in the band).

The sun’s warm. The sky is bright blue (which usually means sharply cold but not today). It’s -2 degrees. This means it is so warm people are wearing shirts not sweaters, no hats, no scarves and people have coats unzipped. The cold doesn’t grip your lower back and kidneys like some pitbull cramping your walk. The only thing missing are singing birds who have yet to come back from winter migration.

The inside of each of the 5 wash bays were sheeted in half an inch of wavy ice, except by the foaming soap brush that has a bubbly frozen smear around where it hangs. The nozzle gun was warm to the touch and had a kickback of spray for the slot machine feeding of dollars into its wall. It had seen a lot of action from the salt and mud caked vehicles.

Even at 2 pm, a continuously replenishing line of a dozen was at the car wash. They all go in clay-grey and come out with chrome and a rainbow of colors. Ours would stay grey but that was to be expected since it has “silver” paint. Some high pressure spray and we got back the sparkle to it though. Millions of tiny suns reflecting the one still in the sky.

The sun’s in the sky, the water surrounds me
I’ll win now but sometimes I’ll lose
I’ve been battered, but I’ll never bruise, it’s not so bad

And I say way-hey-hey, it’s just an ordinary day
and it’s all your state of mind
At the end of the day, you’ve still got to say,
it’s all right.

Soundtrack: Eurythmics Here Comes the Rain Again, Doris Day’s Que Sera, Sera, Alabama’s If you’re Gonna Play in Texas, Bon Jovi’s Living on a Prayer, Charlie Pride’s Kiss and Angel Good Morning, Leonard Cohen’s Morning Glory , Kenny Rogers’ Morning Desire and Great Big Sea’s Ordinary Day(excerpted above)

30 Jan 2005, 9:28pm
1 comment

language form links

Did you know my toque is called a toboggan in Texas and N. Carolina (and here a tobaggan is a snow sled). Elsewhere you would call the toque or tobaggan a wooly hat. for more, check out CBC’s Canadianisms radio stories while you can. They will be archived until mid-February 2005. Another useful page for you may be: Sonnet Forms.

I finally updated My Poetry Writing Statistics. My! but 6 months zip fast. The layout is rather nasty but its functional until the next whole site overhaul.

I really should update my wordy romp defining poetry. It seems to get a lot of hits but I’m not sure if it serves wonderfully or terribly for those people. Want to look? I daren’t. I haven’t actually read it in a long while and I’m a bit nervous to since the bulk was written 5 years ago on a lark of a mood. Might be a case of Can I take those words back now? — like these folks who see that hindsight’s 20/20 and sometimes mortifying becomes funny even to them as well as to the rest of us.

Words of the Day hawk phlegm on hocked hot kockey gear or hokey hackneyed huffs

28 Jan 2005, 11:45pm
Architecture Consumerism On the Peace Path
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LEED building standards

When someone buys a dog house, they often consider where to put it. On a bit of a hill, not a low spot, placed so that the doorway doesn’t face the north wind, maybe with a door flap, or entry L-shape to block wind if they are really lucky dogs. They might even have, as our dog did, a summer dog house that is white and in the shade, and a darker house with a darker roof and insulating straw on the south side of a building for winter warmth.

So why am I thinking of dog houses? I am not in one. It is because, on Monday night we heard an architect, Mr. Busby who espouses the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards and it strikes me as ironic that some put more care into their dog houses than their homes plopped down on a tracthome grid regardless of sun or lay of land or climate or need.

I’ve been mulling and am ready to share a bit of what we learned. This LEED is something I hadn’t heard of in this form until this week, but in my understanding, it is simply a straightfoward formalization of sensible design to make a positive impact on the physical and psychological environment by being responsive to place and need. Ok, that doesn’t sound simply put like that but bear with me.

Rather than the quick modern uniformity that hasn’t essentially changed since post-WWII-boom, this LEED is a reconceiving of how achievable it is to live cheaper and more genuinely better. Like a greenhosue that self-regulates temperature or like a flower that opens and shuts day and night, the well-designed building should not need so much fiddling and maintenance. (Can you tell I’m impressed? Ok, I’ll quick effusing and get down to brass tacks of getting greenie points)

LEED is measured by these criteria,

Sustainable Site: x/14
Water Efficiency: x/5
Energy and Atmosphere: x/17
Materials and Resources: x/13
Indoor Air Quality: x/15
Innovation and Design Process: x/5

The score for the building out of 69 determined where the building ranks on the scale (Certified level, Silver, Gold or Platinum level).

Ideally, by this way of thinking, a building is not only energy efficient but off the power grid or a producer using photovoltaics as well as adds ecological space for plants and local fauna to move in through green roofs. (Quite the contrast from pigeon and deer scarer devices built into factories). You target not wasting and using what sun and water you get instead of shunting them away. Ideally a structure adds more oxygen than it C02 it produced, even in the use of equipment and materials. The emphasis is limiting impact on resources and maximizing impact of beautiful design for a space that is more ergonomic to live and work in. There’s a focus on designs using bounce lighting and positioning of building and windows and atriums to light indoor spaces well. The design includes passive solar and using natural convection currents of the shape of the space to circulate air naturally to insulate and to heat for comfort without a need for blowers or fans or other noise pollution. Using natural materials and no toxic finishes that can cause allergies or chemical sensitivity keep the environment safer. Low impact of cutting back on needless waste comes in further in capturing rain water, grey water reuse, fly ash cement instead of typical highly off-gassing cement. The idea is based on innovation. Now I want this kind of condo

To be continued…

27 Jan 2005, 9:02pm
Life Anecdotes

Grocery Observations

Do you ever stand in a grocery line and think, the person in line with you is going to have a much better evening than you? The man behind me in line had 4 items: 4 liters of water, breath mints, a small box of chocolates and a package of sensi-thin condoms.

27 Jan 2005, 8:03pm
On the Peace Path
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Crime and Capital Punishment

A few kids made some bad choices. [Beware some of these links are far more details of this particular case than you may want to know.] After a party in 1992, at aged 16, Timothy Carr ended up in a back of a police cruiser with his girlfriend, Melissa Burgeson. They were recorded by police after stabbing and beating a 17- year-old for cash under the influence of alcohol and magic mushrooms then smashing up the car they stole from the man who later died of injuries.

After receiving a 2 year wait for trial, they and one other person were sentenced to 18 months in a juvenile facility then Ms. Burgeson got life in prison while Mr. Carr joined the over 100 people in death row in Georgia. Appeals were denied by the state of Georgia. Recently, he got 9 days of notice that his time on death row was to end. Amnesty International and family of an American man tried last minute appeals but on Tuesday Timothy Carr was given lethal injection.

The “consent of the governed” bans killing by the state here. Today, 118 countries are abolitionist in law or practice. We have had no death penalty in Canada since 1976. In contrast, the USA has carried out 945 executions since resuming judicial killing in 1977. (Georgia where the Carr and Burgeson sentencing occured accounts for 36 of these executions.)

Our divergent paths in national approach to justice also shows up in number of prisoners per inhabitants.

  • Canada has 105 prisoners per 100,000,
  • the EU on average has 87 and
  • the U.S. has 685 per 100,000

(source: Rifkin’s The European Dream via Ode, Jan/Feb 2005 issue).

How does one reconcile and impose order and balance on a violation of your sense of Right? When something bad happens, one sometimes feels we can’t just ignore it. Actions must be done whether apology, voodoo dolls, lawsuit calls, punishment, confession box time, punishment, social isolation, mental self-flagellation, ritual purifcation, meditation, mediation or restorative justice service to make up for the wrong. Attitude on capital punishment boils down to your relationship with your sense of god, forgiveness of self, your comfort zone, attitude of what limits should be, as well as your patience and insistence in waiting for pain to melt away leaving behind the goodness of grass’ new growth.

Sometimes the “mistakes” made are willful, premeditated, aiming to harm. Sometimes they are careless or exploratory. (These aren’t mutually exclusive). Sometimes it’s a lesser or other evils and a safety valve from worse. Sometimes things just get out of hand and more sh*t happened than the person conceived of. Sometimes, at the speed of life, it’s anyone’s guess how anyone got in the position they did but is a sentence of Capital Punishment effective for improving society? Farkers discussed his case and capital and state punishment generally.

In reacting to hurt, often one gain (strength by suffering) and one is made better for it, or else someone else be made to hurt for it. That’s the basic divide. IMO, Capital Punishment is based on vengeance justice not deterrence or reform foresight. The rate of offense was no worse after it was made illegal. Do not punitive reactions only cause more shock and stress through the system, losing hope instead of encouraging non-destructive healing of both “victim” and “perpetrator”?

Could one just drop preoccupying thought of the hurt that causes offence to our sense of fairness and goodness? One could shrug and let oneself settle into conciliatory calm of denial. One could insist on loving, downplaying the wrong, accepting the outcomes are neither good nor bad but opportunity for all to grow.

Or one could work together assuming all are injured parties and extend self into the discomfort zone until it becomes a freeing comfort or too toxic to worth bearing.

Words of the Day Flinch at filched, pinched, nicked, pilfered, purloined, snafued, robbed and stolen hot goods

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