dreaminghope: (Zoey)
What follows are some of my reflections on the post-Stanley Cup riots in downtown Vancouver. The Facebook and Twitter posts are uncredited because I don't know what's locked under privacy locks and what isn't. If you see something you wrote and want credit, let me know. All spelling and punctuation are from the originals.

We're about a ten minute drive from the heart of downtown, where about 100,000 people had gathered to watch the big game on Wednesday night. We aren't hockey fans, but we flipped over to the game a couple of times during the course of the evening. When we saw that the home team had lost, Russ looked out our living room window, up and down the street: "It looks quiet out there."

I went on Facebook and read the following updates over the next couple of hours:

All I can hope at this point is that all of the people downtown are behaving and continue to behave like civilised folks.

oh come on Vancouver! don't trash the city! street fires and vehicle vandalism?

Car fire at Hamilton and Georgia

Its apprantly getting bad. Police cars getting flipped now..

So... The first can of tear gas has been fired. I'm downtown.

Ug.. now the cop cars are on fire...

Vancouver, this is why we can't have nice things.

St. Pauls hospital is apparently at Code Orange and locked down. :(


Russ slept in until about 6:15 on Thursday morning. He would have slept longer, but I let the cats into the bedroom to keep him from going fully back to sleep after his 6 wake-up call. That was wake-up number two; the first, to the alarm at 4:50, was rough for him and he stayed in bed. He hadn't slept well: couldn't fall asleep, couldn't stay asleep, and between, had nightmares about the riots. Russ wants so badly for this city - his city - to be a place where we can celebrate or mourn together without it becoming a police event.

And it goes on. )

This isn't a holligan town. It's OUR town! Peace & Love. (one of many messages written on the plywood over one of the broken windows at Chapters)

There's a lot of plywood up as businesses wait for new windows to be delivered. All over the city core, the plywood is scrawled with hundreds of messages: people expressing their shame in the rioters, their anger in what's been done in the name of hockey, their hope that it will never happen again, and their faith that our city is better than this. Mostly, the messages were reclaiming this city as being a beautiful and peaceful one, and not what was seen on the international news on Wednesday and Thursday.

Maybe we're a little less apathetic today. Maybe we're taking our city a little less for granted. As I ran errands all over downtown today, I saw a lot of people adding their messages of hope to the plywood, a lot of people taking photos, and people adding thank you notes to the police car. I also noticed that everyone looked at the plywood as they walked past it, even if they were obviously in a hurry.

Last night was not what Vancouver stand for. I am still proud to be a Vancouverite. (one of many messages written on the plywood over one of the broken windows at The Bay)
dreaminghope: (Confused Zoey)
Today I received an email with the subject line "Perfect Last-Minute Gifts".
dreaminghope: (Zoey)
The facts were these...

To add to my list of little quirks*, I've developed a minor fear of the light bulb in the bathroom at work exploding and somehow electrifying the drippy faucet and electrocuting me when I go to wash my hands. I do wash my hands anyway, because I hate dirty hands more than I fear death by soap, hot water, and bad electrical wiring.

Despite my zinc lozenge regiment, which usually prevents me from getting sick, I succumbed to a nasty cold this weekend (at 3 AM on Friday; it woke me up), which meant accomplishing little and watching a marathon of Bryan Fuller's Pushing Daisies. I've owned the DVDs since they came out, but never watched them because watching the last episode - which I missed when it aired on TV - meant that there were no more episodes to look forward to.

Two days of "Pushing Daisies" let me get lost in the world, including the always present possibility of bizarre death. The same thing happened when I watched a marathon of Dead Like Me (also created by Bryan Fuller), after which I developed a minor fear of tripping at the top of the basement stairs while wrestling a full laundry basket through the narrow doorway, tumbling to the bottom, and getting impaled on some of the old venetian blinds we keep stored at the bottom.

I'm still very careful descending the basement stairs, especially if my hands are full, and I'm pretty careful about what media I consume, especially in binge forms.

*Quirks that include, but are not limited to: An inability to sleep in a room with a mirror because something might come through from Mirror World; a deep reluctance to read new books by my favourite authors because I can only read them once for the first time, to the point where I have two Charles de Lint books on my bedside table, both unopened; a physical inability to blow my nose; and a disturbing fascination-revulsion relationship to rotting food.
dreaminghope: (Default)
I blame Margaret Atwood.

Don't get me wrong; I'm a fan of her books. But she's still wrong about one thing.

It's not even necessarily current-Atwood who is the problem - she has apparently softened her stance somewhat - but past-Atwood, who insisted that The Handmaid's Tale and Oryx and Crake aren't science fiction books but are instead 'speculative fiction' because "Science fiction has monsters and spaceships; speculative fiction could really happen."

I blame Atwood for making it sound like science fiction is a limited genre and that any book with literary merit - or literary pretensions - actually belongs to a different genre: "speculative fiction", "distopian fiction", "magic realism" (the academic name for a certain kind of literary fantasy).

It's good marketing: Ms. Atwood surely knows that science fiction fans will read "Oryx and Crake" no matter what she calls it, but literary fiction fans and awards committees don't take genre books seriously. It just bugs me that so much well-written, intelligent science fiction gets pulled out of the category, furthering the (incorrect) assumption amongst much of academia that what's left is pulp. To some, if something's not trashy, it can't actually be science fiction, and if it is science fiction, it can't be smart or thoughtful.

It is also interesting that distopian science fiction is often elevated over more optimistic visions of the future. Not to say that their writing is equal, but consider that The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood is held to be literary, where Stardance by Spider and Jeanne Robinson is firmly situated in the science fiction and fantasy section of the bookstore. That doesn't surprise me; cynicism and pessimism are often considered marks of intelligence, where optimism means that you aren't smart enough to grasp how awful things really are.

I like science fiction, whether it be literary or trashy or something in between. So whatever, Atwood: You have written three science fiction books. Distopian speculative fiction, sure, but that's a science fiction sub-category. Deal with it.
dreaminghope: (Giggle)
We wish to offer our congratulations and support to all Canadian athletes, especially those participating in an international cold-weather-sports competition on the west coast in the year between 2009 and 2011.

If you aren't an official sponsor, you can't say "Olympics". You can't say "Vancouver 2010". You definitely can't use the Olympic rings, and using the rings' colours is risky.

Those who've never lived under the rule of the IOC (International Olympic Committee) may not know what goes into protecting the Olympic brand. It's quite the process to prevent ambush marketing, including demanding family restaurants change their names (sorry, Olympia Pizza), forcing banks to take down pro-Canada ads (naughty Scotiabank), and accidentally creating strange new alliances (what do Roots and MasterCard have in common except that they both aren't Olympic sponsors?).

This has led to a new hobby of mine: spotting the "not-Olympic" ads. That consists of carefully scrutinizing the ad for the official marks that mean it's an approved ad, then squealing "it's not an Olympic ad!" and making Russ take a picture of it.

Sears welcomes the world... for no reason at all. I haven't got a picture of it (yet), but Shell Gas also welcomes the world, also for no reason at all.












Scotiabank was forced to remove the phrase "Show Your Colours" from their posters, but they were allowed to keep their expression of "random" patriotism.











(Left) Despite their claims to the contrary, Lulumon's "Cool Sporting Event That Takes Place in British Columbia Between 2009 & 2011" clothing line seems like a big "Take That" to the IOC after Lululemon lost their bid to become the official clothing outfitter of the Canadian Olympic team from 2006 to 2012 to HBC.



(Right) Waves Coffee... I wonder what that could that be a reference to?










This one's my favourite, though. In case it's too small, it reads: "Welcome to Vancouver, a world class city. We wish all athletes successful performance in their pursuit of golden dreams."



After taking the picture, we noticed something odd. The ad had been modified with flaps pasted on the original banner. We could make out the original ad from the back:



"Welcome to Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games. We wish all athletes successful performance in their pursuit of Olympics Dreams."

Well, can't have that! After all, this is not an Olympic ad.
dreaminghope: (Labyrinth)
Vancouver's rains are days of misty, drippy weather or days of downpours that never seem to end. Our rain is a drawn-out gray.

Today we had a rare spring cleansing: a sudden shower against a blue sky background. I watched the rain from the bus. When we stopped at a red light, I watched the sunlit rain drops bounce off a line of newspaper stands: "Massacre on campus".

By the time I had reached my destination, the rain had stopped. The air smelled of damp spring green and everything sparkled a little. It was a beautiful evening. I wish rain could fix everything.
dreaminghope: (Waterbaby)
Disclaimer: I've been away from LJ for about a week and I haven't had a chance to look at my Friends' List yet. Any resemblance to people living or dead, or situations current or past, is purely coincidence. It's all about me, after all.

Context: I'm coming back to LJ after a week away, so I checked out [livejournal.com profile] readers_list* first, because I'm a slut for good writing. I read the new posts, then got to this one and remembered something I've been meaning to write since I first read it in February. This desire was further compounded by an article in Saturday's "Globe and Mail" about Generation Me.

Princess time: I've been away from LJ doing self-indulgent things like getting Russ to make me extra fancy breakfasts, receiving gifts from people, going out for huge rich meals (with dessert), and spending birthday money from Grandma. For a week, I was the birthday princess. Now I'm ready to go back to Real Life...

Real Life is where I am not a princess. I'm important to some people, but I'm not objectively important. Anything I do well, someone else does even better. Anything I am suffering through, someone else has suffered through worse. Any list of adjectives and labels I can use to describe myself could probably also be used to describe someone else in this world. It isn't that I am not a unique and special person, but that everyone else is too. "If everyone's special, no one is."**

I have more than a little self-obsession. Of course my problems seem more important than anyone else's – they are mine. In that, I am perfectly average.

Sometimes when I'm writing a rant for LJ about a stupid or mean or ignorant customer, co-worker, family member, friend, acquaintance, or stranger on the street, I wonder what they would write in their journal about me or about the situation. Sometimes that means that I don't post the rant.

I do feel better when I listen to someone else's problems and can make them feel better, even in just a little way. But sometimes when someone wants to talk about their problems, I want to back away so I can keep thinking just about myself. This is probably perfectly average too.

I have a motto – a kick in my own ass when I get too self-involved – that I try to follow:

Stop whining that no one understands you and try understanding someone else instead.


In the "Globe and Mail" article, the writer uses blogging as an example of self-involvement, and that certainly can be true if each person dwells only on their own life and point of view. But blogging can also be a way of seeing that so many of us are facing the same kinds of problems, and that we are all celebrating and hurting in turn. My pain isn't bigger than yours, nor even that much different. We are both people who are sometimes in pain. And my successes aren't greater than yours, and you want me to cheer you on when you win just like I want to be celebrated when I win.

In the [livejournal.com profile] readers_list post, [livejournal.com profile] cadhla wrote: Because you're amazing. And you deserve to know it. In my opinion, life does have inherent value, and so does every person on this earth. Everyone is a little different from everyone else alive, present, past, and future.*** But being born and having unique DNA and fingerprints isn't an accomplishment.

I am only as special as I make someone else feel.

I am only amazing when I make the world better in some way.

And so is everyone else.

*If you don't read [livejournal.com profile] readers_list, go add it to your Friends' List. Go ahead now; this post will still be here when you get back.

**Wisdom from The Incredibles. If you haven't seen the movie, go see it. Don't worry, this post will still be here when you get back.

***Barring cloning, of course.
dreaminghope: (Cave Gargoyle)
My workplace couldn't receive any deliveries yesterday afternoon because our whole block was cordoned off.

Vancouver has recorded its fourth homicide of the year after a 64-year-old man was found shot Tuesday in an illegal booze den he operated in the [xxx]-block of [street name].

Inspector Tom McCluskie said friends found Richard Bezanson lying in a 600-square foot basement suite at about 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, February 27th.

There was no indication when the shooting occurred as no one reported hearing shots fired.

The premises contained a number of tables which police believed were used for after-hours drinking.


That murder took place directly across from where I work.

The Boss used to fight with Bezanson over parking spaces.

A couple of cops came to talk to us today to see if we'd seen or heard anything. We hadn't. Just as we didn't see anything when someone burned down the suspected crack house down the street this past summer.

"Sometimes, with all the crap we deal with, we forget that there are legitimate businesses down here," one of the cops said to The Boss as he left.

Well, as The Brit said: "On the plus side, between the arsons and the murders, this neighbourhood will be empty pretty soon."
dreaminghope: (Cave Gargoyle)
In light of the shooting at Dawson College on Wednesday, all kinds of issues are being stirred up in the Canadian media: teen violence, gun violence and the gun registry, sub-cultures, alienated youth, and past rampage killings. I tried to read the many news articles about it all from my Saturday "Globe and Mail", but I'm finding it all very overwhelming. I'm hoping that writing it out will help me where reading hasn't been.

There are two main comparisons being made to past rampage killings:

December 6th, 1989: A man walked into L'Ecole Polytechnique, Montreal, and killed 14 female students: Geneviève Bergeron, Hélène Colgan, Nathalie Croteau, Barbara Daigneault, Anne-Marie Edward, Maud Haviernick, Barbara Klucznik Widajewicz, Maryse Laganière, Maryse Leclair, Anne-Marie Lemay, Sonia Pelletier, Michèle Richard, Annie St-Arneault, and Annie Turcotte.

This comparison is made due to physical location and the horror of the citizens of Montreal, facing their second rampage killer. However, the Polytechnique killings were committed by an anti-feminist who specifically targeted female students. I don't think anyone believes anything similar about the Dawson College killer.

April 20th, 1999: Two students entered Columbine High School, Colorado, and killed 12 students and 1 teacher: Rachel Scott, Daniel Rohrbough, Cassie Bernall, Steven Curnow, Corey DePooter, Kelly Fleming, Matthew Kechter, Daniel Mauser, Isaiah Shoels, John Tomlin, Lauren Townsend, Kyle Velasquez, and William David "Dave" Sanders. They also injured 21 others.

The newest rampage killer is said to have admired the Columbine killers. He emulated the things about them that were focused on the media immediately following the Colorado crimes, such as the "trench coat mafia" and the Goth images. Some of the first news reports to come out following the shootings described the shooter as a man in black, with a mohawk. I said to Russ: "Why can't they dress like a preppy when they decide to go kill people?"

In the days immediately following Columbine, the Goth kids and similar sub-cultures of high schools in the US and Canada (and probably elsewhere) found themselves more on the defensive then usual. They, who had probably been the victims of bullying for years, suddenly found themselves suspected of being the next ones to blow. The bullying continued or worsened.

Many of these bullied teens found themselves in a weird situation. They want - need - to condemn the murderers and distance themselves from them, and yet... what bullied kid hasn't fantasized about revenge?

Russ and I, two years out of high school at the time of Columbine, and many of our friends, found ourselves sympathizing with the killers, though we didn't want to. We knew who they'd been before they were murderers; we'd been through the kind of things that made them into monsters.

September 13th, 2006: A man killed 1 student - Anastasia DeSousa – and injured 19 others at Dawson College, Montreal.

In the aftermath, revelations that the killer was a member of VampireFreaks.com has left the Goth community scrambling. The home page of VampireFreaks has two messages about the tragedy. The Officers of Avalon, a Pagan organization, has been preparing information about Vampyre spirituality. Other organizations have press releases circulating.

Many of the counter-culture people seem to be saying to their tormentors, as represented by the mainstream: "You can't reject me; I reject you." There's a lot of angry, disaffected kids growing into adults within these communities. Some find a place to belong. Some use the sub-culture as an excuse to be deliberately bizarre, to shock "the mundanes". Some stay angry. Eight years after he finished high school, Anastasia's murderer was still expressing anger at the "jocks" and "preps".

Knowing from experience what teens sometimes go through, I feel undesired compassion for the killers. This competes with my disgust at what they've done and my empathy for the families who have lost loved ones. Is it possible to feel bad for the criminals without being disrespectful to their victims?

We have to find a way to do exactly that, I think, because if we keep making the killers into monsters, unworthy of our compassion or understanding on any level, we will continue to seek ways to blame their crimes on their internal flaws or on a variety of external factors (pick your favourite: violent movies, video games, Marilyn Manson, the Internet, lax gun laws) that have nothing to do with what made these kids so angry to begin with. And if we act as though these kids are natural monsters, then it is too easy to label kids in the same sub-cultures, with the same taste in music or fashion, as potential monsters too, and maybe think that we have to target them to fix the problem.

At the same time, I don't want to give the individual killers more fame for their crimes. Though I feel bad about what they went through prior to picking up the gun, their choice is still their responsibility. That's why I haven't named any of the gunmen in this post.

I could get Wednesday's killer's name from dozens of articles in Saturday's paper, but I had to do a web search to find his victim's. It was probably in all the articles on Wednesday and Thursday, but was already gone by Saturday. I had to do a specific search for the victims to get the Polytechnique names; a general search for information about that crime gave me information about the killer and his motive, but not anything about who he killed. Columbine was a little quicker, for there are memorial sites for a lot of the victims.

I was only ten when Polytechnique happened, so I don't think I knew anything about it at the time. Dawson College hasn't hit me very hard on its own: maybe because the victim was a little older, maybe because only one person died. But it is taking me back to the day of Columbine, when I cried during hours of coverage: news footage of the kids running out of the school, the parents and students sobbing on screen, and the news reports that followed, analyzing the killers. And that's when my anger started, as the killers were called "Goths" and everyone talked about their violent video games, and reports started coming in about new school dress codes, increased problems with bullying, copy-cat killers, suspensions over behaviour that would have been considered innocent the month before. And little being done to cure the problem.

Will this time be any different? Some of the analysis articles are talking about the bullying, the isolation, the anger, the disaffection. Others are still talking about gun laws (not that greater gun control isn’t a good idea, in my opinion), video games, etc.

I wish I had a conclusion to draw from all of this. Tonight I'm going to post this, hope that the links help clear up misconceptions, and then I'm going to pray for the families of the victims and for the lonely kids who aren't sure that they will ever belong anywhere.
dreaminghope: (Confused Zoey)
Does anyone else listen to ZFM in Vancouver?

I listen to the radio at work. I try to ignore the inane chit-chat of the DJs. I chose the current station for the ignorability of the DJs. But, a day or two ago, the afternoon guy caught my attention:

"I should have known my marriage was in trouble when my wife decided this was her new favourite song."

And I know that he knows I'm unfaithful
And it kills him inside
To know that I am happy with some other guy
I can see him dyin'
*

"That's an interesting way to introduce a song," I say to myself, since there's no one else in my office to say it to, before returning to my fascinating credit card charges.

The DJ returns: "When your wife tells you she wants a divorce because she's fallen in love with your best friend, I'd say it qualifies as a bad day."

Cause you had a bad day
You're taking one down
You sing a sad song just to turn it around
You say you don't know
You tell me don't lie
You work at a smile and you go for a ride
~

The afternoon guy appears to be taking the rest of the week off.

*"Unfaithful", Rihanna
~"Bad Day", Daniel Powter
dreaminghope: ("I hate everything")
Doing for writing what America's Next Top Model did for modeling, what So You Think You Can Dance? did for dance, and what The Bachelor did for romance: America's Next Great Novelist!

Thirteen sexy, struggling young writers live together in an isolated cabin for three months, filmed 24 hours a day as they struggle with writers' block, distractions, purple prose, constructive criticism, and deadlines. Under the influence of sleep deprivation and stress, and excessive amounts of coffee, they laugh, cry, fight and have nervous break-downs. They make new friends and break each other's hearts.

Every week, the eager contestants experience new activities, face fears, and do things they never dreamed of. Watch them go bungee jumping, eat meal worms, or do amateur night at a comedy club! They use these experiences to inspire their weekly writing assignments.

At the end of each week, guest actors – such as Thomas Haden Church (Ned and Stacey), Wayne Knight (Seinfeld), and Heather Graham (Boogie Nights) – will offer dramatic readings of the writers' assignments for the judging panel of book reviewers.

The judges will subject their two least favourite writers of the week to an additional test: the two will have one hour to choose and edit a piece of their ongoing novel in preparation for the panel's scrutiny. The one with the weakest novel will be sent home, so the stakes are high.

In addition to watching your favourite authors on the weekly episodes, you can also visit our website to read their profiles and see their pictures, as well as view exclusive additional video, too hot and controversial for TV! Then, talk back in the forums, where you can talk back about the best and the worst writers of the week.

Follow these aspiring writers from the start of their dream to the moment when one of them will be presented with a major publishing contract and will become America's Next Great Novelist!
dreaminghope: (Zoey)
We went to the Purdy's Chocolate Factory today for their annual open house. About the open house, suffice to say: Purdy's makes excellent chocolate, chocolate factories smell wonderful, and chocolate makers aren't generally public speakers.

While standing in line to get into the factory, we watched the marketing efforts of a local dairy, who had sent a woman in a farmer costume and a person in a cow costume – Daisy. They were there to entertain the children with the usual silliness: What noise does a cow make? Who knows where milk comes from? Everyone dance like Daisy!

Daisy made me think of going to Disney.

I am about seven or eight years old. I cling to a belief in Santa Claus, against my emerging common sense. I know – really know, deep in my gut – that the Disney characters are just people in suits, but that doesn't make them any less mystical.

I have a mental list of the ones I absolutely must see in order to make my trip feel complete. Surprisingly, though I am a girly-girl, I do not have any of the princesses on my list. The list isn't very long, either, consisting of Goofy, the dwarves from Snow White, Thumper, and, most importantly, Mickey Mouse. My vacation would absolutely not be satisfying if I didn't see Mickey Mouse.

Three days in Disney, and I gradually check each character off my mental list, except for Mickey Mouse.

Every time we find one of the big colourful suits, my Mom urges me to go up to them and get my picture taken with them. She thinks I'm shy, or scared and overwhelmed by the oversized creatures like some of the younger kids are.

I don't know how to explain that I just want to see the characters. I don't want to touch them, or talk to them, or get my picture taken with them. I just want to see them, file that picture away in my head, then check them off my mental list. From a distance, from outside the clinging group of children, I see the wonder of them, and I don't see the costume seams. They are real, like Santa, as long as you don't look too close.

Mom gets me close and we take the pictures. I see that the mouth is a screen, and the eyes are flat plastic, and what I know is true – in my gut – is now also true in front of my eyes. It doesn't crush me, for I already knew this about them, but it isn't satisfying to see them this way. I don't feel the magic.

On the last day, I am empty and despondent: we never managed to find Mickey Mouse. We climb on the tram to head out of the park. My sister and I have window seats, one in front of the other, one next to each parent. Suddenly, as the tram begins to move down the street, she squeals excitedly and points out the window: Mickey!

He is about half a block away, surrounded by little kids pawing for his hands, bouncing excitedly, posing for pictures. The tram passes by slowly, getting no closer then ten meters to The Mouse and his entourage of fans.

Mickey Mouse is magical. I don't see the costume, I see the beloved character of my Sunday nights in front of the Wonderful World of Disney.

To this day, Mickey Mouse is untainted. He is still real to me.

Unfortunately, I cannot believe in Daisy the cow.
dreaminghope: (Giggle)
I can't even explain how funny Craft Corner Deathmatch is. If you haven't experienced it, you really should (on Home & Garden Television in Canada).

Why you need to see this show:

The host is nuts. I think he is on speed.

The crafters try so hard to be serious and competitive and tough... while wearing their adorable self-created aprons.

Everything is just over-the-top.

It makes me laugh out loud – I can't remember the last time that happened with a sitcom.

Some of the crafts are so ugly or so accidentally hilarious that they have to be seen to be believed. (Astro-turf purses! Pasta candle holders! Jewelry out of candy!)

I love watching Russ during it: he just looks dumbfounded the whole time.

Seriously: Watch this show!
dreaminghope: (Thinking Zoey)
In the past week, I have seen two dramas on TV (one a couple of years old, one brand new) about child killers. The CSI franchise seems particularly fond of this storyline. That got me thinking... of course.

I was a Disney child. Many people in their 20s probably were. We grew up watching Disney's animated movies. Disney's films are known to be lacking in active parents: in the vast majority of cases, one or both parents are missing or dead. A lot of the child heroes are orphans. In fact, the death or absence of the parent either launches the child's adventure or is crucial to allowing it to happen.

Forward to a more recent phenomenon: Buffy: The Vampire Slayer. In the final years of the show, in order to allow the "kids" to complete their process of growing up, the show killed off or sent away all the parental figures. The heroes are not completely independent and grown-up, despite everything they had accomplished in the course of the show, until all the adults are gone and they are left standing on their own.

I suspect that the fate of the adults in Buffy isn't unique to that show, though I don't watch a lot of the teen and coming-of-age shows that would prove it. Feel free to provide evidence for or against my theory on this section.

The result is that we have a media set-up where children or young people are the heroes, but they cannot completely take that role until the adults are "out of the way". The Disney phenomenon alone is a pretty strong cultural driver; any other shows are simply reinforcing the theme.

It is my theory that this may pose a subconscious threat to mainstream grown-ups. After all, who wants to think that they are merely an obstacle to be disposed of so the next generation can get on with it? This subconscious threat is reflected in the current crime shows, where there seems to be a trend of showing ever younger killers and an increasing number of youth killers. In my livingroom, it has become cliché: if there's a person under the age of 25 on a CSI episode and they aren't the victim, then they are the killer. The shock value of seeing a cold-blooded killer of 12 in a TV show has worn off - we can predict the outcome of more and more episodes - and there must be plenty of stories that can be told that involve adults, so I am convinced that there must be something else behind this trend.

Any thoughts, anyone? I invite evidence to support my theory, evidence to refute it, and any alternative explanations for the rash of child killers on TV.
dreaminghope: (Happy Bug)
Has anyone ever changed their opinion about an issue because of a bumper sticker?

I saw one of those cars with a thick layer of bumper stickers across the back. This one was an environmentalist vegan car (Go vegan!, Save the whales!, Save the animals! Stop "sport" hunting! *, etc.). Setting aside the actual content, upon seeing it, I wondered if anyone has ever read a slogan on a bumper and gone: "Oh my God! I never thought of it that way!"

Perhaps a sport hunter in a beat-up, mud-coated pick-up truck is heading back from the woods with a cooler of freshly butchered wild game (let's pull out a whole bunch of stereotypes... or we'll just refer to my sister-in-law's boyfriend, who fits this description perfectly). While stopped in traffic, he ends up reading Stop "sport" hunting! on the back of the hybrid car in front of him. And maybe it's the power of the sarcastic quotation marks, or maybe it's the eye-catching colours, but suddenly he regrets the death of the animals he hunted and he renounces his hobby and all the parts of his lifestyle associated with it. He goes vegan and stops wearing leather.

Perhaps a young environmentalist on a bike, heading home from their socially- and environmentally-conscious work, sees a Save the whales! Collect the whole set! sticker on the back of the SUV that cuts them off. And maybe it's the witty sarcastic slogan, but suddenly he realises that he has been wasting his whole life and hasn't been making nearly as much money as he could have been. He becomes an advertising executive and buys a Hummer.

Ah, the hypothetical power of bumper stickers!

Really this is all idle wondering. I think people put bumper stickers out there to advertise who they are, not to convert anyone else.

*On a side note, I think that's the only correct use of sarcastic quotes I've ever seen in public. How many grammar geek points do I gain because that's why I noticed the stickers? Or do I lose vegetarian points for not noticing the stickers for their pro-animal stance?
dreaminghope: (Clueless - Get Fuzzy)
I was writing another post, but I have had to interrupt myself to comment on something. I was watching the start of Chicago on TV again. I saw it on an American station a couple of weeks ago. This time it was on CBC.

On the American station, they were so paranoid careful with the language that they edited "you've been screwing the milkman" to "you've been seeing the milkman". It isn't a swear word, but, you know, having all those half-naked women in lingerie dancing in sexualized ways isn't as suggestive as the word "screwing".

On CBC, on the other hand, they left the word "shit", so they probably left "screwing". I didn't get far enough through to find out; I turned it off in frustration. They cut to commercial 30 seconds into "Cell Block Tango". I wonder who made the plan to cut the movie in the middle of a song and how stupid they feel when they see the results.

I think I'll just rent Chicago next time I want to watch it.
dreaminghope: (Playing Zoey)
Better late then never - some notes on my fandom weekend:

Friday night: As previously mentioned, we went all the way out to Langley to see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in IMAX. We got to the theatre at about 5 PM to buy tickets for the 7 PM show, and basically went straight into the line. As a result, we got good seats, and all five of us could sit together.

Saturday: Russ was so sweet to drive me to the store to buy the new Harry Potter book. I read it in between box packing.

Sunday morning: Got up early to finish the Harry Potter book. I'm not going to say much about it because I know a lot of people haven't been able to read it yet, but I would recommend that you count on reading the last 60 or so pages all at once without interruptions.

Sunday afternoon: The Buffy sing-a-long at the movie theatre. It was so cool to see Hush and the musical with that many Buffy fans, on the big screen.

I did manage to cram a bunch of packing and sorting in too, but the weekend was definitely dominated by my favourite media and pop (geek?) culture preoccupations!
dreaminghope: (Sleeping Zoey)
I will always have a special place in my heart for the original movie, which I must have seen at least a dozen times. It's one of the only movies from my childhood that I love for itself, and not for the book on which it was based. I actually only vaguely remember the book, though I will be seeking out a copy to read now. But I do remember other Ronald Dahl books and the spirit of them.

That said, I loved this new version of the movie! Much more true to the feel of Dahl's books, for one thing, but also, just a colourful telling of a good story.

Though I love the original "oompah-loompah" songs, I enjoyed the new versions, especially the dances and costumes. I loved the colours. Oh, and I think this new version actually makes more sense. I always thought the crime of "constant gum chewing" didn't seem like reason enough to condemn Violet; this new movie makes her actual shortcoming much more obvious.

Favourite bits, hopefully without giving anything away: the opening of the factory doors; the boat ride; the elevator rides; the scenes right after the elevator leaves the factory.

I saw it in IMAX in Langley, but I don't think that's necessary to enjoying the film. It was really neat, though.

Oh, and after the movie we went to the Olive Garden, so now I'm really full (yummy breadsticks). Hopefully I'll still sleep; I'm exhausted.
dreaminghope: (Default)
When I was a boy, I scared the pants off of my mom,
Climbed what I could climb upon
And I don't know how I survived,
I guess I knew the tricks that all boys knew.
And you can walk me home, but I was a boy, too.
(Dar Williams, When I Was A Boy)


I never was a tomboy. I've always been a girly-girl: delicate, tidy, scared of getting hurt, not wanting to be dirty.

I didn't climb trees. I didn't get muddy or grass-stained, or catch bugs, or whatever it is boys do. I don't even know what boys do.

I feel like maybe I missed out.

When I was born, they looked at me and said
what a good boy, what a smart boy, what a strong boy.
And when you were born, they looked at you and said,
what a good girl, what a what a smart girl, what a pretty girl.
(Barenaked Ladies, What a Good Boy)


I've never been strong.

It's a good thing I was born a girl, as this kind of weakness is still OK in the "weaker sex", but would mean humiliation for a boy.

So we're sitting at a bar in Guadalajara
In walks a guy with a faraway look in his eyes
He says, "I got a powerful horse outside
Climb on the back, I'll take you for a ride
I know a little place
We can get there 'fore the break of day"
I said "In these shoes?
No way Jose"
I said "Honey, let's stay right here."
(Bette Midler, In These Shoes)


Sometimes I feel the feminine bits and pieces (high heels, bras, short skirts) as fun and sexy.

Other times they seem to be too literally the "trappings" of femininity.

Girly-girls don't have the kind of adventures where they jump on the back of a horse and ride off into the wilds.

And he says, "Oh no, no, can't you see
When I was a girl, my mom and I we always talked
And I picked flowers everywhere that I walked.
And I could always cry, now even when I'm alone I seldom do
And I have lost some kindness
But I was a girl too.
And you were just like me, and I was just like you.
(Dar Williams, When I Was A Boy)


I wish I had a past where boys and girls seemed the same.

I think I'm going to start weight training this fall.

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February 2014

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