16 Oct 2014, 12:10pm
General
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Kingston Writers’ Festival

Kim Thúy (with festival organizer Kate?)
Kim Thúy gave a few talks in Kingston. Some takeaway thoughts:

“In in order to cook, you have to know how to eat, know what you’re looking for.”
“There’s always a moment of beauty, even in the moment of worst atrocity.”

She lived thru war, refugee camp, going from a house/family compound of servants and a chef for each cuisine to living starting again from nothing as part of an immigrant family in Quebec.

Less verbatim she said, we can choose. There’s enough beauty in life to occupy us. An abyss can happen at any time. You can die looking down the abyss or die with the last image being the beauty of the sky. Why would you want to see the abyss all the way down?

7 Oct 2014, 4:16pm
General
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Pop, pop, pop

after the yard sale
An After-the-Yard-Sale sort of feeling.

Kind of elated, kind of tired. Kind of incomplete because there’s so much left.

Still, headway is headway.

Our renovation is coming. We have a floor most of the way across a room. Camping out in the downstairs is actually kind of fun. There’s a nice morning light there. There’s a heating vent shooting right at my elbow all night.

I have slept well for feel-like-unprecedented 4 days in a row. Good sleep = optimism.

I’m knee deep in 3 different manuscripts of mine and in the layout of 2 others for others. Knee deep isn’t nearly deep enough to swim but it’s a start.

I have sent out the second newsletter. (If you want to sign up, here.)

Return to the gardening’s slow lane. We’ve only have the slightest lightest touch of frost. Kale, cucumbers and tomatoes are still producing. The beans would have been too had we got to them first.

PA070006
The slugs are having a party on the tomatoes that are so many and so ripe that they split open for the licking. Beautiful creatures of pure muscle and mucilage, like slow gracious blue-tick hounds.

PA070004
Dangling like a strange cherry tomato, a striped snail.

Not your type of thing? This for type geeks may be fun to explore: Typewriter Database.

There’s also this rather delightful article on punctuation. Beth Hill writes, “the semicolon brings a rhythm to sentences that other punctuation can’t offer[...] sometimes you want the feel that only a semicolon produces.”

Yay Words has flash fiction hybridized with haibun. Interesting dense effect.

It’s hard to remember to not keep busy-busy momentum going until depletion. Full stops have their uses too.

6 Oct 2014, 12:02pm
Citizenship Equity Ponderings
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What my Canada would look like once it gets done

A minimum standard of living guaranteed. If the system isn’t trying to trick you, then people don’t need to scheme back to get through its loopholes.

Call me a dreamer but I’d like to see a safety net of basic living wage where the objective of the system is not to drum people out or make hoops to prove they are trying to learn a skill, a language, or get a job. Cooperation rather than presuming only those who don’t need it won’t sign up and those who would cheat would. What does the person need from the width of the system? What other parts of the person need to also be prioritized?

A network of quality of life of public water fountains, bathrooms, public showers, heated indoors spaces without programming. Shelters which are guaranteed no questions asked without religious indoctrination as fee. Signs of washrooms for patrons only all over the city is hostile and miserly. The only option of sugar drinks, caffeine drinks or plastic bottled water is unnecessary.

A culture where cycling and walking is the default. A habit of people dancing and exercising in the parks and squares.

Well-being embedded in schools and the everyday. To train citizens on conflict resolution, compassion, principles of logic, numeracy/budgeting, and the nature and biology of hundreds of species.

Funding to cover and easy access to dentistry for life, physiotherapy, abortion, therapeutic massage, autism programs, medicines, home help support for seniors, and counselling for mental health issues. Funding for faster on demand service. If a pet needs an MRI, it happens that week. A person with compromised health may wait months. There’s a bottleneck that could be addressed.

Two years of paid maternity and paternity leave. Universal childcare. Recognition of the fluidity of family where a child is raised somewhere in the extended family or step-family or can be adopted with more ease.

One system of education, public. Or two, public and privately funded, whether elite, science, arts, or based on religious or linguistic lines. Earlier apprenticeship. Some children are held in the school system past the point of use. If cultural principles aren’t across by age 13 or 14, another few years won’t help. Options for all children to learn hands on skills in any field.

Suffrage for children. Voting by age 10 so that they don’t spend their first 20 years exiled from having a say and being sub-citizens.

Continued budget for measuring things: the full census, status of women, the polar measurements, the assessing of state of water and ocean.

A culture propelled by curiosity. Research for its own sake to learn in field biology, astronomy, other hard sciences, art, social criticism and literature.

Top-down and bottom-up controls on sound. Mandated enforced sound pollution laws so that planes and busses and motorcycles and etc, all run at lower volumes. What can be done for the engine design and tire design. Air shows, fireworks, music concerts. We are overcompeting for noise we don’t even care about while drowning out other species that need to use sound for communication and finding mates.

Light pollution control. There’s no reason lights need to blaze while businesses are closed. Rollback the culture of always-on to presume 6 weeks of universal paid vacation. Leading up to new years might be good. That way the consumer mania of Christmas could be tempered.

There has to be a certain amount of top-down or else people will continue using toxic but cheap paints, importing tomatoes and apples from Brazil and Mexico during peak tomato and apple harvest season here from economic contracts with corporations ahead of getting the freshest food to the nearest person.

Protecting lakes from factory effluent to motorboats that leak petroleum that isn’t maintained. A conscientiousness of citizens.

Should the state get out of the business of marrying? Naturally, but if in it, it should marry whoever wants to pay the licence, regardless of gender. Three or four marrying if they choose.

A habit of gender neutral names, an animate gender neutral pronoun as default, a shift in ingrained assumptions of gender so people enter careers independent of gender baggage.

What to do with religions? China and Russia have had limited success in reenculturating to non-superstitious minds. Luck is a pervasive thought-gnat. Our brains are pattern seeking. How to tilt them towards a Carl Sagan balance?

What to do with the 88 languages and the cultures tethered to them and what they have to say about what the world is?

What to do with gun lobbyists and those who want a model of “strongest surviving” and justify bullying in all forms as a symbol of strength? What to do with dissent in all forms? How to respect the disrespectful? How to nudge those who celebrate brokenness into considering less violence?

What to do with the fisheries? Or general natural resources exploitation that is major industry, the mines that poison waters and the forestry pressed on as market demands toilet paper to printer paper that isn’t post-consumer fibre?

What to do with Quebec and its history? Regarding natives? What to do with nation versus international? The continued mass consumption of the U.S. media? We can’t be safely blissfully oblivious to trends there and people are one people moving through these lines we draw. Some Canadians are also American, half time or have family in various countries.

What elements have I missed?

1 Oct 2014, 9:13am
General
3 comments

Renoing

As gratifying as it was to get my LinkedIn profile updated, and some submissions sent out, and books read, and poems edited, physical work feels like more was done.

To take a page from Kate Braid, these hips were made for carrying flooring. The lot of it carried upstairs. Sometimes by 5 boards when I felt strong. 3 boards per load when I felt like resting. Another stage is done. Woo. Whew.

sparkly tiles
Now the carpet is all torn up, the nail strip edges, the baseboards.

yes, environmental enrichment
Naturally the cat believed this was all tunnels of enchantment and environmental enrichment for her sake. (We made sure she wasn’t in there when we hauled it out.)

The best part of teamwork, beyond doing something together might be the get hot, shirtless parts. A perk.

And under the carpet and its underpadding, there are surprises like:
a sketch under the carpet
We were in the running for a corner Jacuzzi from the previous occupants? But got a closet there instead. Ah well, easy no come, not go.

All that tile is ripped out. Places on the floor look as dodgy in person as they did thru carpet. They are still to fix or shim or something.

We’re trying to take it bit by bit to not overdo it. At the same time, we’re eager to get it done and get the dander and allergen collectors gone and good solid, unsqueaky bamboo in. That’ll be sweet.

30 Sep 2014, 1:54pm
Citizenship Equity
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Ottawa Elections, Advance Votes

fly in a large world
Don’t be a fly on a wall, Ottawa.

You can vote starting tomorrow. Special Advance Vote Days are Oct 1-3, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. in the East, West and Central:

  • City Hall, Jean Pigott Place, 110 Laurier Ave W
  • Ben Franklin Place, Room 1A, 101 Centrepoint Dr
  • Ottawa Public Library, Cumberland Branch, Lori Nash Room, 1599 Tenth Line Road

Want to keep up to date on the election? There’s an app for that. Search
“Ottawa Elections 2014″ for Android, Blackberry & Apple. It has all the mayoral candidates, all the councillor candidates and the potential trustees for all 4 school boards.

At this time we have running for Mayor (in alphabetical order): Bernard Couchman, Mike Maguire, Rebecca Pyrah, Michael St. Arnaud, Anwar Syed, Jim Watson, Robert White and Darren W Wood.

Because I must do gender head counts, that’s 7 guys throwing their hat into the ring and 1 woman.

Ottawa has 23 wards so I won’t list every councillor. The city website has a listing of all candidates here.

Kitchissippi has: Katherine Hobbs who is the incumbent, Jeff Leiper whose signs and flyers are all around the area, Ellen Lougheed who is profiled in this week’s Kitchissippi Times, Michelle Reimer who I’ve seen no sign of, and Larry Wasslen (who has no website listed).

Headcount: 3/5 are women.

If you can’t decide or can’t vote this week, there are 2 more advance voting days: Thursday Oct 9 and Saturday Oct 18th. You should have a voter notification in the mail, or it will come shortly.

Voting day itself Monday Oct 27th, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

The voting officials take ballot boxes to those who can’t readily get out, such as to senior care centres and emergency shelters.

At the vote sites there’s usual accessibility of large print ballots, magnifying sheets, Braille listings of candidates, Braille ballot templates and the right to ask to be assisted more privately in the case of anxiety disorder.

This year they have added accessibility devices including a voting machine with 19″ screen and large type, tactile buttons with Braille, a sip/puff device, a rocker paddle and audio option to hear candidate names through headphones.

If for some reason you can make it to the voter site, which is accessible, but are too fatigued to make it out of your car, you can request the voting materials be brought to you by officials.

If none of that works you can set up a proxy.

If the third of people who can’t be bothered to vote, voted, how different would our communities look? Consider it a practice run for the national vote soon.

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