Sunday, September 30, 2007

I don't think I'll ever be a pig owner.

how I spent my dayI woke up this morning from a dream in which my cat died and my parents surprised me with a paper bag full of live pig. And with that, I became a pot-bellied pig owner.

It weirded me out at first, but then I looked down into the paper bag, past the snout and into its deep brown eyes and realized we were meant for each other. The pig, the paper bag and I had a magical ride on the Stanley Park mini train. It was love.

I came home, apartment trained my pig and immediately suffered scathing criticism from my friends. Sure, I knit, I crochet, I talk to my cats and my houseplants, and consume an average of three litres of tea per day but a pig? How could one of their friends possibly step into the abyss that is pig ownership? This just would not do.

Luckily I woke up before the epic conflict, curled up on my side with my quilt bunched and wedged up against my stomach. For whatever reason, that's the only way I can sleep on my sides these days. If I don't have something wedged up against me I'll wake up in the middle of the night with the bizarre feeling like my guts are slowly squishing their way toward the floor, and the sort of uncomfortable stretchy feeling in my hip that is really similar to the feeling you get when you wear an old, saggy bra. That's a lovely image, I'm sure.

My bed's really comfy though. Ten times comfier than the bed I have at my parents' house. I sink into it under the weight of a really heavy quilt. If only that was the cure for insomnia and somnambulism. Oh well. If you're going to lay awake all night isn't it better to be comfortable? And if you're going to be walking around oblivious, doing who knows what to get the weird bruises you tend to wake up with, wouldn't it be nice to have a comfy bed to come back to?

I think so.

I've spent all day with the copy Adorno and Horkheimer's Dialectic of Enlightenment to your right, and it's filled with good words like fungibility, ineluctable and cthonic. In. Every. Sentence.

And in other news, Abaniko made my day.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

I'm sorry, you have to bear with my blog for another couple months

IMG_6339_1I have a high school friend who faithfully participates in NaNoWriMo every year. When all us kids used to use livejournal for everything, she would post upwards of eight times a day with updates about her wordcount, choosing character names and such, such that I'm pretty sure we all ended up blocking her.

It was this enthusiasm that eventually led to her dropping out of college. Sadly, I do not share this enthusiasm or those priorities, so once again, I'll be doing NaBloPoMo instead. It's the national blog writing month where you post every day for a month.

I already post pretty much every day so why do I do this? Well frankly some of the posting at some of my favourite blogs is getting pretty sparse these days and I need some more stuff to read. Last year I found some pretty cool people like Fussy and Schmutzie and I was actually quite impressed with a lot of others overall. Who knows? Maybe I'll find another blog I think absolutely rocks.

If anyone wants to join me, feel free. Here's my profile and maybe one of these days I'll put some sort of clever description of myself, something other than:

I am Erin.
I am a student.
I have three cats.
I knit sometimes. I draw sometimes. I write sometimes.
I do pretty much everything else sometimes.
I'm interested in pretty much everything.
Hear me roar.

This has not been a very exciting post. Mea culpa.

Friday, September 28, 2007

A study in contrast

IMG_1469Abby used to annoy me so much that I couldn't for the life of me figure out why my parents didn't send her back to the hospital where they got her.

Now I know. She was cute.

Look at her. Would you send something like that away if you suddenly found it in your house? Wouldn't you rather sit it up on top of a bucket of drywall filler in the corner of your living room?

Don't lie, I know you would too.

Coincidentally, the little sweatsuit set that she's wearing there is something my mom made for me originally. The white thing on the front is a fake fur applique that looked like a bunny. The bunny had a pink plastic eye.

The first time I wore it the kids at daycare thought the eye was funny so they poked it a lot and made me cry. I never wore it again.

Abby didn't go to daycare when she was little so she never had to brave the gauntlet of poking kids. She stayed home with my mom, wrote a master's thesis and listened to Jane Fonda workout tapes.

And people wonder why we're different.

Thursday, September 27, 2007


IMG_6330_1I took this picture yesterday. It was grey outside and I was looking for colour and found none. It's a little strange how sometimes my camera finds vivid colours where I never remember seeing them.

Suddenly on my computer things take on bright auras and for a split second I always wonder if I'm hallucinating. Maybe my camera's the real artist here.

I went to an all day dialogue about Afghanistan today and here are my thoughts:

1) we never should have gone there in the first place, but now that we're there pulling out rapidly will leave a vacuum, which won't be any better.

2) we need to be putting a ton more money into development of education, healthcare, self government, sustainable agriculture, infrastructure, etc. It's the only way we're going to make people like us and the only thing that will actually contribute to any sort of long-term stability. Otherwise we're dead in the water and should just pull out now. You can't bomb people into supporting you.

3) if, as the representative from CIDA said, we are actually accomplishing lots of really, really good stuff there like allowing 5 million more kids to go to school than previously, why aren't we hearing about it? All we ever hear about Afghanistan is dead bodies.

4) There is a critical lack of information out there with which people can make informed decisions. The media isn't doing a good job and neither is the government.

5) I thought the dialogue itself was too structured. The time constraints and only letting the experts talk meant that not a lot of people got to ask their questions and it wasn't really much of a dialogue.

No easy solutions to anything.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

I can post this because no one reads my blog anymore.


The day is grey. The geese here don't fly south. I wouldn't either.

Lentil soup with pumpkin puree and beefsteak tomatoes from my balcony last year. Something about the way I froze the tomatoes made them incredibly sour. In retrospect the tomato pumpkin combination wasn't a good idea but it doesn't matter because all I'm having is one rice bowl's worth and two saltines. I'm just never hungry these days.

Today I'm interested in the geography of places that don't exist. I'm picturing webs and graphs and coloured lines around my head, geographic, thematic. They follow me like a cloud. Baudelaire, boulevards, modernity, street photography, Fred Hertzog, Susan Sontag. Cross-cultural perspectives on memory and rememberance.

I gave a presentation today and a whole bunch of people came and told me that mine was the best, at least so far. I can't say I'm not pleased to hear that. But mostly I just brought in a slideshow of some of my photos, talked about them and coincidentally said some stuff that some people hadn't thought about before.

Random strangers talk to me all the time. I guess I have a friendly face. Today it was Joseph who is getting the runaround from university admissions because they won't accept his proposal of experience in liu of high school graduation, because he's doing research and writing a dictionary for a native language. But getting into university's a bitch, especially if you're adult and returning to school.


I have my own university admissions story. I applied to a bunch of schools and then all of a sudden I got notice that every single one had rejected me. I went to investigate and found out that credit for Latin 11 was missing from my official transcript in Victoria, and even though I had 100% in Latin 12, language 12 doesn't count for university admission, only language 11.

I went down to the office to see if whoever communicates with Victoria could fix it up, but I guess they didn't understand what I was asking for so one of the principals was called out and she said "You got 94% in French 11," and that was that. I never ever got credit for the 96% I got in Latin 11.

What's more is I failed the English provincial exam the first time I wrote it and I didn't do particularly well on my second write. But fortunately for me, I was in the International Baccalaureate Program, and when you're in IB, English 12 shows up as three separate courses on your transcript. You get automatic credit for regular English 12, which includes your provincial exam mark, and then credit for IB English 12A and 12B. IB12A was your English mark without the provincial added in, and the difference between the two marks for me was a good 25%.

In Creative Writing 12, I wrote a story about how all men are bastards because that's what my teacher believed and I got a really good mark.

I didn't bother to study for the Geology 12 provincial but I had one of the top scores in the province so I got $1000 for it.

And those were the four marks I used to get into university. So when people say university admissions are bullshit, I'm inclined to agree. But to be fair, I know a lot of people who entered university with legitimately good marks who flunked out after a semester or two, so I'd say at this point it doesn't matter. My gpa keeps climbing.

Up, up and away.


Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The word of the day is blasphemy

IMG_4595_1Wherefore art thou, people who used to read my blog? I mean, I'm sorry, really sorry that I showed you my feet and blasphemed on this, my blogtatorship.

They're playing The Acorn and banjo tribute fugues for Glen Gould on the CBC, and now all of a sudden it's Broken Social Scene, sounds like something from Feel Good Lost but I can't remember which song offhand. This is all irrelevant.

My brain is spaghetti. There be structure in there but things kind of loop around all over the place. I find myself thinking of things that are random as shit, only to have them tangle and twist up into something else. There's no coiling them up because then the sauce just leaks out.

Where am I going with this? I have no idea. Sometimes I just type and type without any real plan in the hopes that something interesting comes out. Judging by the number of people who stumble by this thing each day, I'm not doing a very good job of it.

Today at a restaurant I asked for tea and the waitress asked if I wanted cream or milk I said milk. It came out and I poured the milk in, only to discover they'd tricked me and brought out Earl Gray instead of orange pekoe.

And thinking it was orange pekoe and not Earl Gray, I had put milk in it which is sheer blasphemy. Blasphemy!

I'm currently writing a paper about the above photo. It's a cemetery in Alert Bay, BC.

Other than that, I don't feel all that good these days. Landlord troubles, school troubles, life troubles. The usual, sadly.

Monday, September 24, 2007



When I stand beside the busstop it takes a lot of willpower for me to resist stepping into Sikora's and buying an armfull of records. Studying makes me crave music that doesn't have drum beats or lyrics and a general lack of classical music in my collection makes me want more of it.

The problem, though, is that at first I was faced with an overwhelming selection of things that are probably good, but that I didn't know enough about to be able to choose. Now I have a much clearer concept of what sorts of things I would buy but alas, being the inherently practical person I am I have so many better things to spend money on.

Like socks. I should buy new socks.

I know I won't buy new socks until my toes start to poke out the ends though. It's only then that the holes will really start to bother me.

Humility, poverty and voluntary simplicity are such huge parts of so many big world religions, and though I'm usually one of the first people to criticize religion for being the opiate of the masses and the root of all sorts of prejudice, violence and conflict, as well as the means by which a hell of a lot of social inequality is perpetuated, I can and do appreciate the premise found in pretty much every religion that people should be good and humble.

So be aware that underneath my silk, cashmere and pashmina scarfed exterior (and goregeous hair) there exists a humble person with holy socks.


Sunday, September 23, 2007


IMG_1473_1So today at the CBC Radio Orchestra's recording session they were playing works by and inspired by Haydn. Haydn, though kind of old-fashioned, makes music that I find really nice and easy to study to. The concert was as follows:

Haydn • Symphony No.3 in G major
Brahms • Variations on a theme of Haydn
Schnittke • Moz-art a la Haydn
Haydn • Symphony No.80 in D minor

After the show an old man found one of the CBC staff out in the lobby so he could complain about the show. He had his knickers in a knot over the Schnittke piece, because he was upset that someone had dropped some "jazz" into the program.

Personally, I thought that piece was easily the most interesting part of the concert. It was distinctly modern and untraditional, and that made it a little more challenging to listen to. The CBC Orchestra has a tradition of showcasing compositions that are not often heard and commissioning new works, so I've come to expect that they'll play things that I've never heard of push the boundaries a little.

The first thing that you notice with the Schnittke piece is that all the players are standing. There are two groups of five violins on either side of the stage with two cellos and a bass in the middle. The piece starts with the lights off and the first notes you hear are quiet, atonal and dischordant. They become gradually louder and slowly they begin to form two distinct melodies, one on each side of the stage.

Gradually these two melodies become closer and closer together, until they are the same, and the players move closer together until they are standing in a line. Eventually though, the two factions begin to disagree. There is a fight as the two melodies compete with each other and finally the two break apart and play music that is increasingly dischordant, and the lights fade as the music fades and the players walk off the stage, detuning their instruments as they go.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

I like

IMG_1472_1cheese that is so sharp it makes you screw your face into knots

the smell of sterile bandaids just out of the package, fresh baked bread and hydraulic oil

the hard, crunchy baked on cheese that gets stuck to the dish when you order lasagna in a restaurant

eating brussels sprouts with my fingers, picking off each leaf individually

old photographs

big mauchly dogs, preferably the dumb, drooling kind

really heavy, bulky quilts

Cowichan and curling sweaters

people with good posture

fingerless gloves

soft wool

argyle, plaid and tweed but not houndstooth

Alfred Hitchcock movies

wooden buttons, and really retro plastic buttons, preferably bakelite or similar, and the bigger the better

Hengstenberg Knax pickles

cheese that smells like feet


more cheese

but not spreadable or spray-on cheese

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

People gravitate toward my awesomeness.

IMG_6317_1I'm writing a paper for a course on a topic that is similar to one that I wrote for a course last year. Same topic, different focus, different analysis, but I can use the same background information and I can use a lot of the stuff in the bibliography, so that's half the battle right there.

Some people call that plagiarism, but I say if you can squeeze two separate papers and a presentation out of one paper's worth of research that's just resourcefulness and good time management. It would be different if I was using someone else's work but I'm not. Since when is building on one's own previous research dishonest?

It's funny what a little bit of distance can do when you're evaluating your own work. I have a habit of taking everything I've previously done and ripping it to shreds for its faults. But I'm reading through the old paper and it's still not that bad. There are a few phrases here and there that I would change today, but most of it I wouldn't touch.

I have now come to the conclusion that I deserved a far better mark on it than I originally got, and if our ta had gotten the papers and marks back to us on time before exams ended I would have disputed it.

Ah well.

Apparently due to people moving and things, my apartment is now the place to be. I discovered this by accident when after an unsuccessful search for a bowling alley that will take three girls in pyjamas and crocs we kind of gravitated there because it seems to be the only place these days. I guess this means that I should clean more often.

Hanging around my apartment has the added advantage of being by far the cheapest entertainment available, as well as equipped to deal with the weird restrictive diet my friend's been on since her visit to the hospital and coincidentally, it's the best place I've found for me to crash. Secretly though, I think people just gravitate toward my awesomeness.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The Hockey Sweater

Being such a sucker for Canadiana of any kind, I'm really, really glad I finally found this video on youtube. It's classic.

Monday, September 17, 2007

This is a test; don't adjust your screen

IMG_05831_1Frame 1: Doug is holding a fish he caught in the Smilkameen River. It's a whopping eighteen pounds and he looks mighty proud in a green mac. The trees behind him are scrubby, their knuckled roots cling to the rocks beside the river. Thoughts of the reification of consciousness abound.

Frame 2: Granny's holding her bingo chips. She talks with an accent even though she was born here. She's wearing a fresh coat of lipstick, a pinkish colour called desert rose. She smiles, rearranging the contents of her huge purse. Secretly she's contemplating Luckacs and Heidegger (like I am while I write this).

Frame 3: Gord, caught midair before hitting the lake ass first. He'd never admit it but that hurt like hell.

Frame 4: The look you gave me before you curled up and fell asleep, the weight of your head on my breast, the smell of your hair as it brushed my lips, how you turn me into an envelope.

Frame 5: Joni playing her guitar in a circle of friends. Shortly afterward, tragedy will befall some of the group but for now they're playing David Bowie songs and forgetting the words, switching to that Green Day song that everybody knows because everyone knows it. Her glasses are new but the scenario isn't. They never are.

And that's where they say that the word's derived from the Latin word rem/res and that's where it all begins to make perfect sense. As opposed to this post, which doesn't.

Sunday, September 16, 2007


IMG_1474_1If I was a guy I'd probably look like Cousin It only with nicer hair.

If they'd actually let me skip grade 3 instead of just talking about it I probably would have had friends in grade 6 and I like to think that would have made all the difference in the world. Who knows? Maybe I wouldn't have been so weird, and maybe I would have had an easier time of things. Maybe it wouldn't have changed a thing.

But I find these people on facebook and I think damn and then after that I'm not sure what to think. I highly doubt that I'd be friends with a lot of these people if I met them today, but maybe if I'd skipped that grade I'd be the sort of person who would.

And maybe I'd be the sort of person who actually goes out and does things and not the sort of person who sits at home at night, gets set up with the wayward sons of middle aged women hoping I will somehow reform them and who ironically enough, gets asked for relationship advice by 14 year old boys from Moose Jaw.

Dwelling on this stuff is stupid, I know.

I pulled out my sketchbook today but from then on I went blank, so the page is just as white as when I started. It's frustrating.

I keep thinking that I should turn this blog into more of a sketchbook or scrapbook or something, make it more random with more of my drawings and less thinking in general, but I can't seem to bring myself to do that. I think too much. There's no spontinaeity here.

These days I feel like I just need to talk. I pick a random person on my msn that I haven't talked to in a while and dump a bunch of stuff on them. The further they have moved away from here and the longer we've gone without talking, the better.

I really shouldn't do this. I realize that everyone always says "You can call me if you ever need to talk," but I'm pretty sure they never expect you to actually take them up on the offer, at least that's how it seems when I do.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Old pictures

The more I think about it, Frick's never been a cute cat.





Friday, September 14, 2007

And with my wig thus unpowdered...

IMG_1479_1I am having a nice, quiet evening with some tea and my Marx reader. We are having a conversation, it and I, because everything is a conversation and we are trying to come up with some questions for seminar on Monday because said questions must be emailed preferably Friday, maybe Saturday but not Sunday subjectline: question to the prof and there's the 50% of your 60% for participation.

I stand up. "Green tea tonight," I say, filling the kettle, "because the milk's starting to smell funny and besides, haven't we had enough orange pekoe for the time being?"

"When you negate a powdered wig, you are left with an unpowdered wig," the reader replies.

"Now honestly, where do you get off dropping an a sentence like that in the middle of a paragraph? You're dense enough as it is!"

"Don't blame me. I'm an unfinished manuscript."

I've never been particularly good at asking questions. It's a skill you're supposed to learn when you're young, but I'm very used to understanding things right away. I was always the person you asked for help if the teacher couldn't be bothered. I always knew the answer or was able to bullshit my way into looking like I did.

This isn't to say that I don't have things I want to know, just that they never end up as fully formed questions. I like answers better. And as far as questioning things goes, I'm about as skeptical of everything as they come.

I have a good friend who's hellbent on having me ask him questions about himself. I always say that he should just tell me what he wants to say seeing as he wants me to know things so badly, but he never bothers. In all honesty I want to know everything, absolutely everything, but that isn't a directed question, is it?

I'm writing a reference for someone who is applying for a scholarship. I guess technically I'm eligible for it as well, but I'm not applying because I'm a retard and I wouldn't get it anyways. That doesn't mean I can't help someone else out though. I had all sorts of wonderful things to say about her until I replied to the email saying I would do it. Since then the words have evaporated but I have to come up with something decent otherwise I've just branded myself an asshole.

It's getting cold at night again. I go out to water my plants in the morning and they're covered in dew. It's been a crappy summer gardeningwise so the tomatoes on my balcony are still green. For some reason today I switched to using two fingers instead of one to work the microwave. Today it feels more natural to do it that way.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Close encounters of a Jewish kind


Yesterday at school I was sitting in the Convomall when all of a sudden a completely random guy walked up, handed me a paper plate covered in apple slices, a small plastic container of honey and a chunk of challah and said "happy new year!"

"But I'm a gentile," I said.

"I don't care!" he replied. He walked away beaming and was gone before I could say thank you.

It was actually kind of surreal but who am I to pass up free food?

So yom tov and happy Rosh Hashanah to all you out there.

I like multiculturalism. I really do. It keeps life interesting.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Holy tired, Batman!


This school thing's hard. I've come home every day so far completely exhausted in every sense of the word. I'm not sure if it's that I'm expending a lot of extra energy doing a lot of extra running around or that I've been thinking extra big thoughts or that it's just the heat outside but my brain is fried and my skin is burnt and I just want to sleep.

Maybe I haven't been eating enough. I really have no way of telling anymore. If I eat until I'm not hungry I gain weight. If I don't then I'm always hungry. I really don't have much in the way of food that I can take with me to school these days and I don't like buying stuff at school so this one's probably true.

I've been pretty manic these past two weeks. I really have no idea what I'm running on but I've already scared some people with my over the top enthusiasm and I've read a bunch of Marx and Marcuse of which I have absorbed nothing because I can't focus. Either it will pass or maybe I'll have to look into getting some medication for it.


On top of school and mentoring first year students and student union stuff and teaching sewing classes and everything else there's still the brochure that I have to do for my dad. I came home fully prepared to see him there with his stuff all spread out across my table only to find him not there, and the list of changes/suggestions/additions I had asked for also remarkably absent.

I suddenly had a whole bunch of free time. One of my plants was climbing out of its pot so I repotted it. It's happy now.


Monday, September 10, 2007

The terra cotta army


These things were at Ikea for the longest time. No one liked them so finally when they were marked down to about 20 cents apiece Mom took pity on them and bought 10 or 12 and gave them names that sound vaguely like some sort of Jewish-Scandinavian hybrid. Now they pop in and out of the foliage where you least expect them.

I thought they were really ugly at first but now they're really starting to grow on me. I wish she had bought a hundred so we could have assembled a huge terra cotta army of spikes? gnomes? vaguely phallic shaped objects? I'm still not entirely sure what they are. I guess they're gnomes.


Lou has a short tail. We bought her for a handful of nickels because Dad's a sucker and he likes cats.


I worry about Frick. She's not well.


After class on Thursday I stood under the streetlight at the busstop and watched the colours in the leaves in the tree overhead - yellowgreen, glowing orange on a deep blue canvas, fading to grey. It provided a bit of welcome distraction from the fact that I really, really don't like spending time down there after 9 at night. It's not the homeless people that bother me. It's the kid wannabes that irritate me. That and waiting an hour and twenty minutes for a bus that's supposed to come every 15 minutes.

But the leaves, I'm going to paint them.

And then maybe I'll post a picture that doesn't involve my sister, the garden or cats.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Reasons why I'm not your girlfriend

IMG_6306_1I knit. I crochet. I cook. I sew. I garden. I fuss over people. I make jam and preserves and huge batches of cabbage rolls to save up for the winter. I mend old clothes so I don't have to buy new ones. In short, I'm your grandmother. No one wants to sleep with their grandmother.

I'm smarter than you. I delight in boring you with all the crap I read for school, or detailed descriptions of the research methods I use for my papers. It's so much more fun than talking about sports or tv or people we know.

I don't have time right now, but maybe I can pencil you in in three years or so.

I'm all talk and no action. I'll say "hey, we should do ___ sometime," but I'll never be the one to organize it. I'm the world's worst person for follow-through. I forget all but the most useless information.

I have a blog, and let's face it, blogging isn't sexy.

I can go months and months and months on end without shaving a single thing, but shhh, I didn't tell you that. When I'm particularly down I can go a week without leaving the house, showering or changing my clothes.

Even the most mundane and familiar social situations make me nervous, awkward and paranoid. I do self-medicate. I will say the wrong thing and kick myself later for it. I'm shy. I have a twitch. I blink too much. My voice cracks when I talk. I often fail to make a lasting impression of any sort.

I'm silly, random and childish. Sometimes I'm downright gross. I know no limits.

I think my taste in music is better than yours and I'll come across as fanatical. Same goes for movies, art, food, design and fashion.

I rather like tofu and lentils, thanks, and I will cook them and you will eat them, damn it.

I'm passive aggressive. I'm moody.

I talk to my cats, sometimes in their own language.

I never do anything interesting. I just stay home. People scare me.

And as far as looks go I'm average at best.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Time to break out the power muffins

IMG_6302_1I'm making applesauce in a pyrex measuring cup inside a microwave that's older than I am. I used to live on homemade applesauce when I was a kid because no one could make me eat that bottled crap they call "baby food". Applesauce is good with yams or strawberries or turnips mashed into it. I never peel the apples because a little bit of fibre never hurt anyone.

I'm knitting some of these because my hands get really cold in the winter when I'm taking notes at school. I'm convinced that they don't heat the buildings there. Actually, I know they don't because last year some of the pipes froze and then flooded a bunch of offices.

I'm gradually warming up to country and other music I've never particularly liked.

I'm excited about the new Beirut album that's coming out in a month, because Owen Pallett is playing on it and Mr. Pallett is awesome to the power of eighteen and not to be missed if he's playing anywhere near you. That being said, I tend to miss him when he's in town, but that's because I don't pay very good attention to who's playing and when tickets go on sale. Oh well.

I was reminded today of my quest to make better pie crust than my mother does (which isn't hard, I'm sure). I need to find a decent recipe. It's starting to get cold at night which means I can finally bake things, which is good because I have night classes on Wednesdays and Thursdays and I starve through them.

I like to make power muffins where I substitute yogurt and blended tofu for the butter/oil and load them up with brown flour, nuts, flax seeds and fruit. They're a lot more filling, I find. Good for studying.

Why are lectures at school not like this?

I saw this video in class yesterday and found it to be quite interesting. It's 20 minutes long, but watch it if you have the time, because the way the information is presented and visualized is really quite powerful. It's called Hans Rosling debunks third-world myths with the best stats you've ever seen, and it's about the idea of third world development and how we need to 'help' people, and about how the idea of third world poverty is perhaps no longer supported by UN and census data, and should be rethought.

It raises a few key points. First that we aren't doing people justice by lumping entire continents or regions together. What we think of as "Africa" has some of the richest people in the world as well as some of the poorest, but that overall, things seem to be improving there, just as they are everywhere else. Development and aid should be attempted at a more regional scale and directed at the people who really do need it.

Another thing he does is look at the effect of health programs vs. economic development programs on economies, and found that in many cases, the best way to move an economy forward is to have healthy citizens first, and let wealth follow. This was most obvious in countries most affected by AIDS, which has thrown their economies into tailspins, but also in China, where a focus on improving health came before a huge burst in economic growth, and in one of the countries in the Middle East (I can't remember which) where they had all the money in the world, and yet a crappy life expectancy.

The other thing I liked about his presentation was that he stressed the value of making information public and putting it in a format that is easier for regular people to understand. Our taxes funded the collection of this information, so we should be able to see it, and making it public would help entrepaneurs and humanitarian organizations to spend their money more wisely and to more effect.

I do have some criticism though. I would be interested to know if any of the per capita income amounts have been controlled for inflation. I don't know if they have been and it was never mentioned. But if your annual income has risen, it will do you no good if the cost of living has risen faster. So if inflation has been left out of these stats completely, they may look a lot more impressive than they actually are.

The other thing is that I would have liked to have seen is environmental indicators plotted out on these graphs. How much has this economic growth affected the environment, how much is growth linked to the environment, and what is the effect of the environment on human health? As far as I'm concerned, the three can not be separated.

While watching the world's population bubbles bob to the top fills me with a lot of optimism that people are living longer and healthier, it's also pretty scary. There's just not enough resources out there for everyone to have a North American lifestyle, and it's our choice as to whether we want to make changes to the way we live, set a good example and make new, energy efficient technologies available to the developing world at a low cost. We've made a lot of mistakes and it doesn't look like we can afford to let them do the same.

Anyways, that's pretty much what I got out of it. That and one more question:

Why can't lectures at school be like this?

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Just another night at the emerg


I spent a large portion of last night with a group of people in a hospital emerg waiting for a friend. She'd been in the day before but someone had discharged her and a doctor had called and told her to go back. Something about bile in the urine which can't be good.

We were sitting in the waiting room, watching bloody and limping people drag themselves in, and each time someone new arrived, we knew she was bumped. I quickly developed an itchy eye which became very red and dry. Purely psychological, I'm sure.

We read the classifieds out to each other for lack of anything better to do and the most noteable one was probably:

Free room in exchange for pet care.

So damn vague. I mean, I realize that classifieds cost money and that you have to be brief, but still. What kind of pet? What kind of care? I'm frightened just thinking about it.

But mostly it's just sitting around. People complain about the wait time at hospitals but last night it was really not that bad, especially considering the fact that it's free.

And still you wait. A family walks in with a young boy in tow and no English. A digestive thing. Possibly constipated. Kathy and I went on a Sev run just to get out of there for a moment. In all honesty, a certain crass boyfriend drives me up the fucking wall. I think talking about how much money you make is vulgar. I don't like people who are loose and irresponsible with their money. I don't think you should call your girlfriend "fatty".

And the thing that annoys me most? If you feel the need to announce to the entire room that you're about to fart, make sure it's a good one. Even I could fart better than that.

But in all of these things I wonder: do I not like him because he's really an asshole or is he just not the kind of guy I would date? Until I sort that question out in my mind, who am I to judge?


Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Killing time before class


If you're bored and you know it set the timer to three minutes and draw a crappy picture.

If you're bored and you know it set the timer to three minutes and draw a crappy picture.

If you're bored and you know it
And you really want to show it

If you're bored and you know it set the timer to three minutes and draw a crappy picture.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007


IMG_6283_1I just found out that one of my profs passed away very suddenly a couple of weeks ago and I'm a little teary in spite of myself. His lectures were always boring as hell, but he was always really friendly and helpful when I went in for extra help and he was quite brilliant to boot. I'm fine. Just a little shocked, that's all.

People keep asking me how school is going and I have no idea because I haven't been there yet. I only have two classes this week. Some of my textbooks are still not in at the bookstore and it's got me feeling really jittery.

I was hoping that going back to school would give me something interesting to say but it hasn't.



I took some more pictures of my parents' garden. I'd better post them while a certain someone is away and not able to complain that I post too many flower pics.



Someone's placed a large circle of candles on the ground outside. I'm not sure why. It doesn't seem like it's a memorial thing and there aren't any people around it. People pass through, stop and enjoy, but I don't think they're related. I really don't know.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

And I get just a little bit pickier about what I eat.

Is it just me or do Cheese Strings look like tampons?

I was watching a commercial for them one day, and there was all this fancy CGI of Cheese Strings dancing around and splitting apart, and I thought damn, this commercial is really not making me want to buy those tampons at all. The last thing I need is for my feminine hygeine products to start dancing and splitting apart to upbeat music.

And then at the end I realized that it was actually a commercial for tampon shaped cheese that you're supposed to feed to kids. I'm sorry but it's just too weird for me. No way I would ever eat that.

Saturday, September 01, 2007


IMG_6113_1I live in a dimension where your mother can walk in with a paint roller, offer you a beer and then tells you that the cats understand the words you're saying.

"Salmon," she says.



The cats prick up their ears for each one and fix her with an attentive, yet blank stare. Frick loses interest and lays down on the floor, playing dead.

"Frick's depressed because she doesn't know what prestidigitarian means," Mom says as she disappears out the door, and it's only then that you realize that your beer has vanished into thin air.