28 Feb 2010, 9:07pm

Picturing (of) the Slow Getaway

hung up
The grain pan is a hung-up bodhrán.

A noodle post; scattered brain. Long day. Seeing mom.

And her cat. The cat, for some reason, after years of running from my presence and biting me as I feed her, was slobbering like a St. Bernard and insisting on my petting her today. Go figure.

hatted tree part 2
You may remember this little protected tree from mid-December? Finally it’s got some snow around it.

An ok today. Canada won at The Hockey Game. You may have heard? 😉 3 hours of screams, woots and horn honks in this neighbourhood. Wild.

I’m pooped tonight. But it’s been a fabulous last 3 days…Time with friends and with good food and great music and entertaining poetry.

Some photos I’ve slapped up on FB, which I’ve largely yet to label from rough sort. I’m hopeful about putting them up on Flickr and here tomorrow.

Quote: From the long commutes with hubby, something he said:

Brian’s Rules for the Unruly
1. Say what you really want
2. Do what you really mean
3. Be what you really care about
4. This installment only has 3 rules

26 Feb 2010, 11:06am

Meeting Meat and Vegetarianism

I remember collecting eggs from the henhouse as a teen, and how displeased some were with me, flapping at my arms with their wings with surprising force.

I was never really trusted even tho I threw feed to them. We were feral to each other. Posturally, they’d be clearly divided between wanting to approach the food and stay as far as possible from me.

Except Rusty. His bright red eyes would blink at me as he cocked his head and inquired with his cross-billed beak. He never could fly reliably so much as make a brief flutter, and that, usually to my shoulder. We’d walk around outside with him roosted on my shoulder or on my head where I’d protect him from bullies and feed him by hand.

Even the chicks picked on him. I swear I could see them laughing at him as they fledged and took their first graceful swoops towards the horse stall’s top, a line as pretty as sparrows. Then Rusty would take his mighty scrambling leap and if he made it that far, sometimes would catch the top with his claws and fall back on his tail. He’d pick up his dignity and try again. Sometimes he’d succeed.

I’ve never been the same about eating chicken since hand-raising that runt of the clutch.

Yet I can.

Every few months or years I eat his species.

Even moderation should be in moderation or else it becomes phobia and blinding rule rather than consideration.


I’ve been vegetarian since age 8 or 9, on and off. (Mostly on.)

I tend to avoid conflict and that manifests in diet of not attracting attention with dissent. I try to take a monk’s position if served some meat without prior checking, that the sacrifice is made. To waste that which is given is a greater dishonor.

But life if simpler if we can just proceed without qualms or denials and eat safely, uncontentiously.

At the same time I don’t want to add moral aspect to food. That is unnecessary complexity.

And yet the heart itself and the viscera are complex.


I realized that it’s been about 25 years since I’ve had pork chops. I found out the other week that the memory is still there and entirely intact. I had a all-sensory dream of it. Taste, touch, smell, seen the sounds of eating that fat-rounds. John primed it with his rhapsodies of pork.

My parents both thought fat was the best part of the meat and would leave thick rounds around the chops. They wanted a chicken that was rotund, greasy. When I was little I loved pork rinds, the crisp snap of skin, the dryness of fat and the smoosh of fat underneath, the scratch of hairs.

I’ve been trying to find any sort of hidden memory but I don’t think I ever ate a steak.

That is odd since dad raised his own beef. We would have got the entire back from the slaughterhouse. Unless they took all the best cuts as payment for killing but that seems disproportional. We mostly got hamburg and tough cuts. I wonder why.

In the early 90s I ate meat, the more abstract the better. Even part of some elk and some beefallo. I’m curious about tastes. It’s not the taste I have issue with but the implications and implications are in place with vegetables as well. Does the land it comes from have nutrients left? Why wash an apple when the pesticides are components of every cell? In this mini-doc of Bryson Farms the owner talks about practice and generations of no killer chemicals put on the land. This sort of farming practice can make me unclench.

I want to source my own food and yet I am no green thumb. I have to outsource and that relies on social contract, trust in good decisions on others and their making the decisions I would have made. Iffy, probably and yet one has to make a peace with that.

There is this common disjuncture between animals and meat and it widens. People eat, but have never seen an animal in person, let alone the animal on the hoof or foot.

That is about as radical to me as Jamie Oliver finding pass it on trial-town families that owned no pots or pans and lived on potato chips and takeouts. Didn’t even know how to make toast and didn’t see any issue with that. One fellow on the show declared he’s never eaten anything on this plate before, except the lemon and that on a cocktail. Lovey, that’s a lime, he was told.


Self-reliance for meat used to be more direct. In the market in Ottawa, when they did road renovations, they found goat and cow bones under the street. People could take home sheep, goats and chickens to slaughter in their yard when ready until a few decades ago. “Butchers would set up shop and slaughter animals right in front of you. Livestock selling continued until the early 1980s.” [source]

In a generation, that’s a habit disappeared.


I’m not convinced either way of the need for meat or the human need to not have meat. Or perhaps I’m convinced in both direction. I’ve been on both sides. Neither seem entirely sound. More ideological than deriving from sustainable practice or health. Maybe it is asking the wrong question.

The more I hear about Omnivore’s Dilemma the more skeptical I become of my old position. People are rigorously surviving regardless. Does the 2 oz per day of egg, dairy, meat make sense?

Larger food makes my conscience feel better. It’s as if, our tribe brings down big game and the whole village eats for a week. We thank this soul. That makes ethical sense. The model of me being a whale and siphoning hundreds of lives of krill for a snack puts me on a different rung of ecological ladder. That’s a lot of thanks to give. It’s a lot of lives to take. Maybe I should eat something my own size. Or fruit.

Seafood gives me the willies still. Old testament injunctions against some and lack of access being raised inland being part.

It seems a stretch to recognize the humanity in an animal when we struggle to do so to another who speaks our language and culture.


If knowing individuals personally by name wasn’t deterrent enough to my eating her or him, seeing the treatment and attitude towards them commercially in sales barns and slaughterhouses, was. Visiting the slaughterhouse is probably what most put me off meat, the smell of death and blood that filled the fields around the barns. Electric buzzer and sticks and dark confinement and the slaughter itself was nothing of proper respect for the act.

Apparently what I remember is becoming obsolete. stress-free slaughter is now done in half the practice. Humane-killing requires a kind of respect, a difficult mental act.

To eat an animal, you need a certain kind of mental separation but denial rather than respect isn’t the separation.

Commercial slaughter wasn’t the only way to do it. Our neighbour would sell his sheep to Jewish and Muslim people from the city. The very act of prayer and meeting the animal in an open pasture is a very different death act.


With fear we don’t digest. In flight or fight or nearness of aggression, the body doesn’t afford the resources to digest efficiently if at all. Appetite goes more towards speculative opportunist eating for the famine that may come or no appetite at all to keep light on the feet. (Perhaps this models skews genes too much on human as warrior.)

We are chemical baths bound by skin. Other animals are no different. Which hormones of reactions pump thru effect the whole. The Kobe beef, so well-marbled, it’s said, as a result of selective breeding but also after a life of pampering, sleeping on soft surface, hearing music, getting soft words and massage, is tender.

This makes sense. It’s like what hunters say. Kill a deer when it is at rest and doesn’t know its end is near. The meat tastes better. Chase a deer, frighten it and the meat itself is tense. The fear itself colors the meat. Theirs and ours.

What kind of system do we want to build to hold ourselves in?


Quote: “People can die of mere imagination.” ~ Geoffrey Chaucer

22 Feb 2010, 12:54pm
Glad Game
Comments Off on Glad Gaming

Glad Gaming

parking rates
Signs are such wonderful organic evolutions. They come from the print shop standard, then get taped over, new rates pasted over, or something forgotten gets added, like the arrow.

Also interesting how the rate is $3 per half hour, or $3 for 7 hours, off hours.

Glad Game: Pleasing things:
Breakfast in bed from salad and bread prepared ahead last midnight.

The postman rings once. We got new years/birthday presents in the mail from a friend in Korea. A startle in the contents was that bit in the note saying that it’s been 11 years since we’ve seen each other face to face. Whew. That would account for why his face is older. (So much time slipped in.)

Glad to figure out why I couldn’t postdate a post. Only took a couple runs at the “software problem” before I realized, ah, this isn’t a leap year. March 1st, it is. Voila.

A nice little link: L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E poetry at textetc.

A teehee: “Men Are from Cliché; Women Are from Stereotype” is a chapter title from How Not to Write a Novel

The reserved look on the face on the cashier as I said I didn’t need a plastic bag and proceeded to fit a dufflebag on groceries into the pockets of my coat. Pockets, they’re like integral bags, yet not.

A teehee of well said:

The Unkindest Cut
I have accidentally shaved off my sideburns. 

To be strictly accurate, I only accidentally shaved off one sideburn – to accidentally do both would have been either particularly careless or astonishingly ambidextrous – but when you are looking in horror at your unfamiliar, unsymmetrical reflection in the mirror, turning your face slowly from side to side, mumbling “sideburn… no sideburn… sideburn… no sideburn”, the second sideburn’s fate is pretty much sealed” – Salvadore Vincent

Stealth humming — I’m so off tune no one could guess the soundtrack of my head.

The meeting with the financial planner where he asked, x sum into managed aggressive? and I lost it into a shaking gigglefit. He was baffled. I asked, Managed aggressive? What is that passive aggressive after therapy?

An evening of lights off. The stars unfold out the window. Me folding laundry in the dark. The forks of static coming from hands. And how static sweater near the florescent bulb makes it dimly light up. Must do this more often.

Tomorrow is the Tree Workshops — the usual deal of free drop in to the round table, ideas, prompt, focus aspect of poetics, from 6:45 to 7:45 at floor 2A of the Arts Court, with a break before the speakers. Except this time is facilitated by TA Carter. This week the 8:00 Tree features are Stuart Ross and Stephen Brockwell. You won’t want to miss any of that.

This trade book of my poems is coming steadily forward. Yee/Yay.

Quote: “On the day when a young writer corrects his first proof-sheet he is as proud as a schoolboy who has just got his first dose of pox.” ~ Charles Baudelaire

20 Feb 2010, 6:59pm
Arts Ottawa
1 comment

A Play by Joanna McClelland Glass

The play itself, puts me in a conundrum.

I do not want to oversell it — since overselling is never a good thing — yet it is the likely the most elegantly rendered, superbly acted play that I’ve seen.

IMG_8554The actors last acted together over 30 years ago. They report clicking well then and they click well now. The sense of suspended disbelief was immediate. The characters were people. There wasn’t the sense of and here the plot says the character should say or a false note of words into the characters mouths. The voices were distinct.

The play has presence, real complexity, yet was uncluttered. It felt poetic in the sense of nothing extraneous being there and how parts worked together not bluntly telling but dropping seeds here and there so inferences could be made.

In a way it is funny to think of it as one act, one monologuing actor, second act, other monologuing actor. The time flew and they held the space. The stage felt very populated as people not visible were addressed out the window, by phone, by thinking aloud at the person not present.

I can’t say it was a comedy per se, nor dark drama per se. It was both. It had meat and humour that descended from the characters rather than the plot. It talked of changes of stage of life and death and changing relationships with a compassion for those involved. Hard subjects not flinched from and not made maudlin either. They are two capable strong, surviving women.

It felt made by a mature mind in the best sense.

The next Hinterview podcast will be this interview (below) between Artistic Director Peter Hinton and the playwright, Joanna McClelland Glass and the Director, Marti Maraden. It was held at the NAC this afternoon. Nice how the microphones on the headsets didn’t give reverb, distort sound or need continuous instructions on how not to move to stay audible. Plus they don’t obstruct photos. Wonder what the chances are that the Writers Fest could get funding to upgrade.

talk with playwright and producer
In this interview afterwards, the playwright said she took a note from the page of Anton Chekhov to write with malice toward none and charity for all. An admirable route ti sustainable health for all.

Often in upstairs/downstairs dramas or comedies there’s the them and us which has barely concealed contempt for the inferiority of the other class. These ladies stayed each in their own class yet have navigated into feeling endearment towards each other.

In interview she also said that in the transition from page to stage, she had to cut 10 minutes from its length, or about 10 pages. Like a seamstress taking in one area, affecting the other, it was a complex process of editing so it all fell smooth again with that amount removed.

In being asked by an audience member, what led her into being a playwright when she grew up in a household with an illiterate mom in the prairies. Her mom had grade 2 education. She grew up in Saskatchewan with an alcoholic father. Glass in response quoted W.H. Auden’s In Memory of W.B. Yeats “Mad Ireland hurt you into poetry.”

After the performances of Feb 24, 25, March 3 and 4, there’s an informal Q&A with the actors and production team.

Quote: “Nothing is worth more than this day.” – Goethe [via]

20 Feb 2010, 5:55pm
Arts Glad Game Gnomes
1 comment

Diary of an Afternoon

IMG_8511 water glass
Tulip and Hub and color from placemat and a pleasant lunper. (lunch+supper) at Peace Garden which reminded, that, my good fellow, is how you do that. That came to be something of a theme for the day.

set before the show
The set before the show. Which show?

Mrs. Dexter and Her Daily. It was wonderful. Here’s the scene at intermission. The cookie is an olympic gold sugar cookie, a mix of 40th anniversary of the National Arts Center celebration and the Olympics.

Olympics on big screen at NAC
In the evenings of shows there is free big screen viewing of sports in the lobby. Lots of balloons. Many sports. Anyone who gets to the level before Olympic stage has already exceeded my expectations for excellence.

I think there should be an expanded roster, like Figurative Skating where people stand around on something that may or may not involve blades pensively, then break into a sweat of ribbon swirling jiggy action. And a Ski Jump for the less able where one hops back and forth over skis. A Skeleton alternative is best black-light costume of bones. And Cross-Country skiing where people are rewarded for appearing most post-zazan and points for dawdling long enough to make the best flowing sketch of a bunting or crow.

Anyhew, dawdling at the NAC you can toddle about, throw 3 pennies in the fountain…
more than 3 coins in the fountain
Or, in this case, yes, a spoon. (Which is the universal traditional good wish for more pudding, right?)

More in next post…

Glad Game: Glad for what I didn’t do. I didn’t scald myself when pouring water from the pot. I didn’t drop the plate of food. I didn’t get red-cold hands having remembered my mittens. I didn’t forget the spare battery. I didn’t get whiny from lack of meal. I didn’t let my library book get overdue. I didn’t take any of the 4 calls that came in one hour (but they were answered). I didn’t lose my notebook, nor my pen (secret pocket, tricky dodging pen!), nor the bus tickets. Glad I didn’t fail to reply to a couple emails. I didn’t have a nightmare. I didn’t wake up at 2 a.m. “done sleeping”. I didn’t change my mailing address to one place still, and the mail got to me. Glad I can’t overwhelm you with too many new posts since something about the next post breaks the sidebar and I’ll have to iron that out first.

Quote: “People who fight fire with fire usually end up with ashes.” ~ Abigail Van Buren

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