Wednesday, November 28, 2012

My Five Second Relationship.

Last week, in my teenage angst, I was invited to a meeting with this super-elite writing group. Okay I perceive it as super-elite, because the group is comprised of people I perceive to be super cool. As per this perception, the invitation made me feel super cool. So I wrote this up this piece for the meeting, thinking I was pretty witty. But then the weather turned. Literally, there was a blizzard. That's not a metaphor for my self-esteem. Anyway, I didn't go to the meeting - also because I was tired, and the first thing to go when I'm tired is sociability - and I didn't present my piece. So I've been sitting on it for a week. So here it is. It's not my favorite, but it actually happened and, you know, that makes it kind of awesome. 
My Five Second Relationship
As a child of the nineties, my life has been largely ruled by Romantic Comedies. Staples of our family viewing were While You Were Sleeping, Father of the Bride, You’ve Got Mail, and Sleepless in Seattle. Men like Hugh Grant, Tom Hanks, and Steve Martin – the father though he was – have bled my romantic expectations to the point of death. I have though, seen these movies so many times that if a real life experience mirrors a scene from one of those movies, even slightly, I will carry it out to completion, leaving anyone in my sight line confused, but admittedly entertained.
A few weeks ago, my mother and I were dropping off the recycling. The reality of living in a city without curb side recycling is that you have to gather your cardboard and your tin cans and physically take it to the drop off. I’m certain we all carry through on this mandate because of our “killing-the-earth” guilt complexes. This guilt however enables a sort of superiority among those at the drop off. It’s a weird measure of connection and community knowing that you have all done your part to ensure the renewal of these resources. You are all awesome.
In emptying a box of cardboard into the bin, a beautifully bearded, plaid-shirted hipster caught my eye. He gave me a knowing smile and in that moment, I did know. I knew our lives would be beautiful. We would shop locally, buy organic or grow it ourselves when the weather was nice. Our house would be filled with beautiful things, old or new; we wouldn’t care, as long as they were filled with memories of love and togetherness. And we would tell the story of how we met, saving the planet, to our children, and their children, and our friends and their parents. Everyone would know the power of working toward a better world. That power is love. 
And in that moment, as our boxes emptied of paper and I continued to imagine the beauty awaiting our togetherness, he turned and walked away. My eyes followed as he headed back to his car – a hybrid, I’m certain. There waiting for him, was an equally perfect, beautifully dreaded, plaid shirted hipster-ess, and then I knew; the fantasy was over. 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Generalization, Judgement and a Lack of Understanding.

Today in my teenage angst, I address an issue I was presented with a couple months ago. This issue is really important to me. So important that, as I write this, I feel a little nauseous and I'll probably cry before it's done. I present to you the following graphic.
I have a problem with this for a number of reasons. But first I need to explain where this graphic stems from. It first appeared on my Facebook feed shared from a page called "Goodbye Obama 2012". That says a lot. I'm willing to assume that the creator of such a Facebook page is largely opposed to the social change that Barack Obama is desperately working toward. Opposition to social change is something that I've never understood, barring being a Supremacist, but I like to think I don't know any supremacists. Graphics like this, however, really make me think that I do.

The problem here is that the message discounts the social implications of growing up in a low socioeconomic environment. Young people who grow up in low socioeconomic environments aren't taught decision making skills, budgeting, or proper spending. They are however availed to opportunities for underage drinking, cigarettes, drugs, etc. By the time they are no longer wards of their parents or the state, no skills have been gained to warrant the ability to live off of food-stamps or welfare. While there is a lot to be said for self-investment, working your own way forward, etc, blah, blah, blah, we need to be willing to accept that this is the exception, not the norm.

Beyond this, I'd like to address the inclusion of tattoos in this graphic. I kind of love that this was identified as an issue because it too is less of an issues than an opportunity for understanding. The reality for a lot of kids in the lowest socioeconomic brackets is that permanence is a nice but fleeting idea. They deal regularly with continual change in authority figures, places of residence, places of employment, friends, significant others, family members, etc. Tattoos represent a point of permanence that could not otherwise be achieved. By getting a tattoo young people are able to express their body's permanence in a world that offers little else with staying power.

People who are agree with statements like these have never had this kind of experience. People who agree with statements like this were taught the value of a dollar, the importance of putting your needs before your wants, the danger of impulsivity and so many more valuable but rare lessons. What I want us to admit here is that we understand very little of what goes on for people who require the use of social assistance. We don't understand it because we haven't been there. When it looks like people are abusing the system, it's evidence of a social experience that has not provided the opportunities to act otherwise.

When I responded with this sentiment on that Facebook post, I encouraged a more verbal discussion and dialogue about these kind of issues, rather than passive aggressively stating this kind of opinion on Facebook. I was met with a harsh statement that Facebook should be a place where we share our opinions, thoughts and feelings. The problem with this is that it promotes misunderstanding. Tone cannot be carried virally. Ground breaking, right? But when we promote misunderstanding, we promote division and we are already swimming in a sea of divide and drowning. Do you hear me folks? We are fucking drowning in division of our own creation. It's detrimental. And it's killing us.

Please, please, please think about the people you are including in statements like these and acknowledge that they are worth so much more than the blatant label you are placing on them. In this case, "system abusing bastards." I realize those are my words, not yours.

So I'm closing down my newsfeed. I don't think I fully understand how much work this is going to be but it hurts me too much to know that people I respect think this way.

Thursday, November 8, 2012


Today in my teenage angst, I'm too lazy for anything else. I have so much to write about. So much to tell. But I can't. Because I'm tired, and taxed. And when I'm tired and taxed all I want is to sleep and watch Modern Family. Which I have been doing. So. Here we go.

Oh, I should preface that I care a lot about American politics, even as a Canadian. I hold duel citizenship which gives me a vested interest in their process of government. I have though, discovered, through this ever important election, that I have a lot of Canadian friends who care a lot about American politics, and they would say, especially as Canadians. Because of our proximity to America, we cannot distance ourselves as much as we'd like to. I find it frustrating when I meet Canadians who "don't like Americans." I always try and draw out the actual meaning of this absurd statement, and I've never gotten a legitimate defense. What has generally been successfully communicated is that the age and power of America is intimidating and thus their influence seems threatening. So too their ethnocentrism seems arrogant, but I would argue that the fraction of sincerely ethnocentric Americans is so small it hardly matters. I just want us to think harder about this. And if we want to assert that we "don't like Americans," I want us to have a solid reason why, and consider those reasons in relation to how we view members of other countries.

Anyway, the links I'm presenting include a lot of solid (and some humorous) info about the Election. I'm a Democrat so it includes a lot of Probama stuff. I just made that up. Legit. I am so awesome. Patented. PrObama. I'm the best. Anyway, I think that now that the decision has been made and our anxiety levels have gone down, we need to be making a concerted effort to continue in the passion we had during the election.

Alrightyo. Here we go.

HTML Tips for beginners.

21 Pictures Of Adorable Disney Animals In Real Life.

This doesn't have a title but I will call it Tina Fey being awesome.

You guys. Lisa Frank is back.

Tom Hanks performs Slam Poem about Full-House on Jimmy Fallon.

Megan McArdle: Keys to the Economy

Boom, Roasted: Here's why you don't ask a Feminist to hawk your sexist product.

IKEA Playin' with my friends music video.

9-year-old Jimmy Mizone, playing the banjo. As if. These three are far too much.

The Human Jukebox.

Halloween Commercials from the 80s and 90s. 

Understanding the Nation Debt and Budget Deficit. Thank the Lord for John Green.

Anakin the two-legged cat vs. the paper bag. Proof of evolution. Watch her adaptation. Legit.

Are you there, God? It's me, Azita.

Ellen is Sofia Vergara!

The 21 most awkward situations in history. I laughed forever. You have to let the GIFs load for it to really have its full effect.

Literally the best thing ever: Shows within shows.

Kate Nash does Buffy: Once More With Feeling on Halloween. I so wish.

The World's thinnest home has been built in a Polish Alleyway.

The Importance of Grieving Openly.

Hey Jimmy Kimmel, I told my kids I ate all their halloween candy, again. Best kid ever award. Right here.

How to start a blog.

The Options of an Unplanned Pregnancy.

Wrapped Paper: AKA Ready-Made Art.

Alright. Well that's all. Nova always thanks people for leading her to the places and the things, but I don't pay enough attention to know where I got these. So I will go ahead and guess.

Thanks to!, Nova, Hello Giggles, the Rookie Writers . . . OH! and Tumblr in general. I'm so happy to have gotten involved in the Tumblr world. They are good.

And so I will leave you with this photo. Which speaks of my heart right now. Love and goodness and hope for our political and governmental future. Which because we live in a democracy embodies every aspect of our existence. Mostly.