Thursday, February 25, 2010

On the Telly

PBS is doing a Masterpiece Classic series for Emma.

There are three episodes in total.

Of course though, you can't watch it online unless you are in the USA.  Yarg.

Somehow I will find out how to watch them.

In other news, The Tudors Season 4 should be starting in April!  It should be the last one since Season Three ended with him bedding Katherine Howard.  Goody.  I am intrigued by his sixth wife Katherine Parr.  She kept her head, literally.

I find it kind of funny that King Henry VIII had 3 Katherines (different spellings), 2 Annes, and 1 Jane.  Jane was the only one to produce a son.  She was also apparently his favorite/most loved wife; he was buried with her.  Interesting.

Also, I've been reading Alice in Wonderland, and was wondering if the concept of "off with her/his head!" was possibly partially inspired by Henry VIII.  Hmmm.

Which reminds me...Alice in Wonderland comes out next weekend!  I am excited to see it.

Documentary Love

I have really been enjoying documentaries lately, and I thought I would share what I've been watching lately, and plan to watch.

1.  The Cove (as I already mentioned in a previous post).
2.  Sharkwater
3.  I am Because We Are
4.  Darfur Now
5.  Food Inc.
6.  Taxi to the Dark Side
7.  Valentino: The Last Emperor

I have not seen the last three yet, but I've heard good things.

Also, I watched Disney's "Earth" which I enjoyed.  Harlow was mesmerized with it.  She kept staring at the laptop screen watching the various animals shown.  Funny.

Of course, another great documentary was "Jesus Camp".  Although truly frightening.

And here are a few more documentaries I plan on watching eventually:

1.  My Neighbor, My Killer
2.  Traces of the Trade:  A Story From the Deep North
3.  Born into Brothels
4.  Planet Earth series
5.  Sicko
6.  The Power of Myth
7.  Fast Food Nation
8.  Burma VJ

Hmmm....documentary marathon anyone?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Spring, I Want You

I woke up this morning to find my car buried in snow.  I know, I know, it's February and I live in Alberta.  No big surprise or anything.

I just really, really want it to be Spring.  I want to be able to sit outside and enjoy fresh air and sunshine.  I want to grow flowers.  I want to read outside.  I want to wear Spring dresses.

I'm not a huge fan of shoveling off my car, slipping on ice, and being cold.  Nor am I a fan of all the muck that snow creates when it melts.  My car is so dirty, and every time I'm ready to clean it it's either too cold or too mucky out and therefore pointless.  

I try to be a Canadian trooper of the Winter season, but I get sick of Winter really fast.  Basically, I'm good with Winter until January rolls around.  I like the pretty snow until Christmas and New Years are over.  Then I basically pine for Spring and Summer.

Plus, last night I suddenly developed a swollen painful gland near my left ear.  And I'm not impressed.  Off to the doctor I go tonight.

Snow:  you are pretty, but can you please go away soon?  


Annoying Canadian Winter Complainer

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Indignation at the Indifference

Indifference is something that really bothers me.  Below are the two definitions from the Merriam-Webster online dictionary that apply.

1.  of no importance or value one way or the other
2.   marked by a lack of interest, enthusiasm, or concern for something : apathetic 

Indifferent attitudes create:  People who do not care about the world around them.  People who do not care if the world gets better or worse.  People who cannot be bothered to think about inhumanity, let alone try to do something about it.  People who cannot be bothered to think about the environment. 

These people disgust me.

I find it interesting that generally these types of people that I come across are religious, Christians predominantly.  I find this despicable.  Should not Christians care more?  Do they not claim to follow the example of 'Jesus', who they believe was compassionate, and loving?

I think what bothers me most though, is not this hypocritical nature.  It is that they would rather wait for their 'God' to fix everything.  This creates very indifferent attitudes.  They are not invested in what happens in the here and now because their 'God' will fix it all one day.  Or they will be in heaven, so who really cares right?  It's of no concern to them.  They may be superficially concerned about world conditions, but they do not feel obligated or inclined to do anything about them.  

Now, I am not saying that this is the attitude of all Christians.  Nor am I saying that only Christians have indifferent attitudes (far from it).  I am just sharing my observances of indifferent attitudes.  

The other week, I was sharing my discovery of the Venus Project with a number of people.  A certain person was very negative about the whole thing.  Not just about the obvious flaws in the plan, but of the entire goals of the project.  He did not feel that humans were capable of changing anything for the good, so why bother.  He likened it to finding a cure for cancer.  He said that the chances were very slim that a cure would be found, so they might as well give up.  I was flabbergasted.  Really?  Wow.  Let's just give up on everything because it might be hard, and a solution may not be found quickly or may never be found. 

This weekend, I was talking about the documentary "The Cove", as well as the inhumane treatment of animals in factory farms (I had also watched a short video on PETA that had really disturbed me).  

I told this same person that I mentioned above about the slaughtering of 23,000 dolphins per year, and how sad that was.  He shrugged his shoulders, and said "who cares" *glares with rage*.  He said that they (the Japanese) kill dolphins for food, and we kill cows.  That still doesn't make it right, but anyways.  I told him that dolphins should never be eaten because they contain very high, toxic levels of mercury.  He didn't care about that either, and didn't see the problem *pulls hair out at the ignorance*.  I told him that actually it was a very serious problem.  People in Minamata, Japan suffered greatly from mercury poisoning.  Children were born deaf, mute, blind, unable to walk...  It was not some little problem.  Again, he didn't really care.  He doesn't live in Japan, right?

I then went on to mention how I had decided not to eat meat any longer (my freezer is almost empty).  I also no longer want to buy dairy products or eggs.  I will still eat fish though, at least for now.  I told him that I had watched a little video on PETA, and was disgusted with the industry.  In the video, they show the terrible living conditions of all the animals, as well as how badly treated they are.  Getting castrated without pain killers.  Chickens boiled alive (to get rid of the feathers).  And in a pig factory, if a pig will not make it to slaughter, they sometimes bang their heads on the concrete floor to kill them (god forbid they consume any feed without making it to the slaughterhouse) *vomits*.  

He could care less about any of this.  You know, most people would be disgusted by hearing the above.  Whether or not they would choose not to eat meat is of little consequence.  Most people would have a reaction to something like that.  

Another favorite of mine is people who think global warming is a conspiracy or a myth.  They ignore an important issue which is that pollution is bad.  It doesn't matter if pollution does or does not contribute to climate change.  It doesn't matter if climate change has happened in the past, and will continue to happen in the future.  Pollution is still bad.  And the real kicker is that the Earth will be just fine.  It is us who will face extinction, at our own hands.

This all boils down to indifference.  Lacking interest, concern, or enthusiasm for things that matter.  An attitude that it is not important or valuable one way or another.  Apathetic.  And if you think about it, it is really selfish not to care about the planet that keeps you alive, or other living creatures that you share the planet with.

Indifference comes at a great cost.  The problem is that eventually, it's going to be too late to fix the problems this attitude fuels.  

We can continue to go on with our lives oblivious to everything that does not affect us directly or immediately. Or we can choose to do something.  We don't have to be millionaires or celebrities to make a difference.  We don't need oodles of extra time.  There are plenty of things each and every one of us can do.  We can reduce, reuse and recycle.  We can bring awareness to issues by word of mouth, by a t-shirt, by blogging.  We can sign petitions.  We can write to our leaders.  We can boycott products and organizations.  WE DO HAVE THE POWER TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE.

I would like to stand up and applaud all those who do make a difference.  All those who try to make a difference.  All those who want to make this world a better place.  Without you, all hope is lost.

Friday, February 12, 2010

It feels like Spring today!

The sun is shining.  The snow is melting.  No need for a winter coat today:)

It's beautiful out!

My fingers are crossed that Winter is at an end.  I can hardly wait for Summer!

And for my tulips to bloom, as long as Harlow didn't dig them up *scowls*.

I also really want to plant lilies of the valley this year.  Another favorite.  They remind me of my Grandma.  

Add in some peonies and sweet peas (which also remind me of my Grandma) and I would be in flower heaven.


The Cove

A friend recommended this documentary to me, and I watched it last night.  It is really good, and it will make you cry.

Time Travel and Art

On the first Thursday of every month, Art Central has live music and new exhibitions opening.  January was the first time I went.  It was fantastic!

First off Kirsten and I got some hot beverages at deVille Cafe.  What an awesome little coffee shop!  You feel like you were just transported to New York City; what with the exposed brick walls, huge windows, and trendy furniture.  You can also order alcoholic beverages, and they have a delicious menu.  I felt instantly relaxed and happy.

Pictures thanks to the deVille website.

Ghosts of the Land were the live band for the evening.  They were a very nice indie/instrumental band.  Check them out:

We then checked out the "photo booth".  One studio room was dedicated to a photographer taking shots of people in a room full of balloons.  You could purchase your favorite photos right there, as they printed them off for you, thanks to an Apple laptop and a portable picture printer.

Off to the galleries we went.  In one of the galleries, I discovered an artist who does encaustic paintings.  I noticed that it looked like wax was poured over the canvas, and then sculptured and painted.  I made a note to look up what encaustic meant.  According to Wikipedia:

"Encaustic painting, also known as hot wax painting, involves using heated beeswax to which colored pigments are added. The liquid/paste is then applied to a surface — usually prepared wood, though canvas and other materials are often used."

We really liked the word encaustic.  We proceeded to use it randomly in conversation a week or so later around other people, to see if they noticed and would have any idea what it meant.  "Oh Gavin, you are so encaustic".  Brilliant.  We still like this word.

Anyways...  Those paintings were phenomenal.  I am definitely going to try this style of painting at some point in the near future.  I absolutely loved the texture.  I also wish I could have taken some pictures of the amazing pieces there.  I cannot find any good representations online.

In another gallery, I discovered an artist with another very unique painting technique.  She called it "chemistry".  It looks like large globs of paint that have been swirled into whimsical designs.  Some were also swirled to look like sunsets or the ocean.  Then she puts a coating on it (the name of the coating escapes me) which makes the painting very glossy.  They were just gorgeous!  Full of texture, and the globs of paint go over the edges of the canvas.  Very eye-catching pieces of work.  I'm sure Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (aka Lewis Carroll) would have enjoyed them.

This is another technique of painting that I would like to try.  I'm sure it takes a long time to get it right, but it looks like so much fun!

I also saw canvases with gold paint.  Those were very interesting also.  Note to self:  next time I am at Michaels, I need to check out metallic paint colors.

One of the things that I love about Art Central is the eclectic people that it brings together.  I enjoy watching the crowd these events attract.  And it's always fun to meet artists.  I find creative people so interesting.

I love being around the art scene.  I always feel joyful, peaceful, and a sense of belonging.

On the way home, I hoped into my time machine.  My time machine called iPod.  It immediately transports me.  I remember precise moments...the people there, the feelings I felt, the thoughts I was thinking, where I was...  The Postal Service and The Tea Party bring back some very good memories.  Music is such an amazing gift.  It touches us all.

So here is to an amazing night!  *cheers*

Monday, February 8, 2010

Sharing Some Musical Gems

LOVE the drums in this one. I want to learn SO BAD.

Amazing. Saturdays=Youth equals an album to go buy right now.

Ok this post could go on quite awhile. I've given you enough gems for one evening.  Enjoy!

Everyone say it with me now...Huzzah!

So after working 7 days in a row, I am happy to announce that tomorrow I am off.  As well as Friday, Saturday and Monday.  Huzzah!  Happy Family Day to me.  

Harlow and I will enjoy these days immensely.  She does not like mornings either.

I was getting very cranky there.  Laundry was piling up, I ran out of groceries.  These things do not make me happy.  Besides seeing the show home that many days in row.

But tonight my fridge has food in it.  My clothes can be washed tomorrow.  And I can finally have a relaxed morning, and get some extra snooze time.

So huzzah!

Happy Monday everyone.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

What Were You Thinking Nicholas Sparks?

So last night I had a girls night with a friend of mine.  We went for sushi, and went to see a chick flick, "Dear John".

Ok, so I wasn't expecting this to be a great movie or anything; sappy romantic war movie starring Channing Tatum and Amanda Seyfried, neither of whom can act well.  But at least there would be Channing Tatum with his shirt off, surfing.

Terrible, terrible story line!  From beginning to end.

Now because I don't think anyone should waste their hard earned dollars on seeing this in a theater, heck even renting it, I will summarize the plot for you.

It starts off with Channing Tatum surfing.  Then he is on the dock staring out at the sea.  Enter Amanda Seyfried, another girl, and two blokes.  One bloke knocks Amanda Seyfried (Savannah)'s purse into the ocean.  "Oh no, my life is in there!".  So the bloke (Randy) takes off running down the dock.  Channing Tatum (John) jumps off the dock, swims down and gets her bag.  Randy is upset he doesn't save the day.  He likes Savannah.  So here is the meet cue of course.  Savannah asks John to come over to her house (which is right on the beach) for dinner, or at least a beer.  So he does.  They are sitting on a log chatting when a kid runs up and puts his arms around Savannah.  His Dad shows up soon enough.  We find out that the Dad (Tim) is Savannah's next door neighbor.  She has known the little boy (Alan) who is autistic since he was born.  She is surprised when Alan says "Bye John" because he never talks to anyone but his family.  They look up at the moon and John tells her that everywhere in the world the moon is only the size of your thumb, if you look up and close one eye.  John has to go, but asks if he can see her tomorrow.  They say "I'll see you soon then".

Savannah meets John's Dad who is "odd" and is obsessed with his coin collection.  John and him are not very close.  John's mom left when he was young.

So they spend two weeks together and fall in love.  Savannah is a university student, and decides she wants to teach special needs kids.  She decides this because of Alan, and also because of Johns' Dad.  John gets all upset that Savannah thinks his Dad is a "retard".  She tries to defend herself and they get in a fight.  The next day, John goes to her house, but she isn't home.  Tim is outside, and offers to give Savannah a note.  So John writes "I love you" on the back of Tim's water bill.  Savannah is supposed to be leaving for school soon.

John is at home having lasagna dinner with his Dad (which is what his Dad makes every Sunday) when Savannah shows up.  Ohhh they love each other!  Fight over, and they promise to write to each other all the time.  Savannah gives John a letter to read after she leaves.  She is off to school, and John has one more year left in the army.  John promises he will come back here and be with her forever after his year is up.  Savannah makes him promise to write and tell her everything so that it is like they are always together.

So begins their handwritten love letter relationship.  Often in these letters, they say "I'll see you soon then" or mention how they are looking up at the same moon, and it's the same size.

Just when John's year is up, September 11th happens.  So of course, all his army buds want to re-enlist.  They get a weekend off to mull it over.  So John goes home to see Savannah and his Dad.  Savannah takes him to her parents huge mansion for a dinner party.  Randy is there, and John gets upset.  But Randy comes over and apologizes for being a doosh to John the past Summer.  He realizes now that Savannah will be staying with him long term.  A short while later, Savannah gets very upset when she overhears her father and his friend talking to John about the war that will happen soon.  She asks John if she has any say in the matter, and he tells her she doesn't understand.  She runs off.  He finds her and gets all emotional saying he doesn't know what to do.  So they have sex.

Then Savannah and John's Dad see him off at the airport.  Commence handwritten love letter relationship.

Then Savannah's letters stop coming for a couple months.  He finally gets a letter from her.  She tells him that this is the hardest thing that she has ever had to do, but she has found someone else.  She couldn't live without him.  She is engaged.  What?

So of course John burns all her letters.  An army buddy chats with him, and asks if he has any idea who she is with.  John thinks she is with Randy.  Then he gets himself shot.  3 months later, he wants to be back in the army.  The Commander is reluctant, but realizes John is adamant.  So John goes back to the heart of the action.  Then he is told that his orders are to go home for awhile.

He goes home to find that his Dad has had a stroke.  He feels very guilty for not being around.  He writes his Dad a letter, and reads it to him in the hospital.  He gets very emotional while reading it.  Just before he blacked out after being shot, he thought of a trip his Dad and him took where they learned about coins.  John found a rare coin, and that is what started his Dad's obsession with coins.  He tells his Dad the last thing he though of was him (through sobs).  That was the only part of the film I found touching.

Then he is in a funeral home alone.  His father has died, and no one is at the funeral.  After the funeral, he goes to see Savannah at her barn.  She finds out his Dad has died, and is not very convincing with acting shocked and sad. She invites John into her home.  Her husband calls, and John sees a wedding picture.  But wait, Savannah didn't marry Randy, she married Tim!!   Savannah tells John that Tim has stage 4 cancer, and would like to see John.  So off to the hospital they go.

Tim tells John that he understands if John wants to hurt him.  He apologizes for what happened, and how (with John being overseas).  He tells John that Savannah still loves him, you can see it all over her face.  And that Savannah has never looked at him they way she used to look at you, John.  Tim is happy that he knows his son Alan will be in good hands.

Savannah and John go back to her house.  They have dinner.  Savannah tells him how the money ran out so fast with Tim's medical bills.  Her parents sold their beach house.  She mentions a test drug he hasn't tried.  It is so obvious that John is going to sell his father's coin collection for Tim.

Anyways.  So they have dinner, and there are many awkward moments because we all know they still love each other.  Finally John gets upset, and asks Savannah why she didn't call him.  Didn't he deserve more than a letter?  Didn't he deserve the chance to try and change her mind?  She tells him that if she had heard his voice, she would have reconsidered.  She told him she had no choice.  Tim was sick, and he and Alan needed her.  She tells John she had no choice, it was not what she wanted.  She gets very emotional, and John hugs her and tells her he knows.  John says he has to leave.  Savannah says "see you soon then" and wants John to say it back.  They look at each other for awhile, and John says "goodbye Savannah".  He leaves, and she starts crying.

John takes all his fathers coins to the man who told John and his father how much the rare coin was worth that John had found when he was about 8 years old.  It was worth $4,000 at that time, and would be worth way more if they kept the coin in their family for a few generations.  That coin was the catalyst of John's father's obsession with coins which eventually led to the poor relationship between father and son.  John's Dad began going to all the coin shows, and spending lots of money on collecting coins, and John got very fed up with it.  Anyways.  So John asks this man if he is still interested in buying his fathers coin collection.  He only wants to keep that original coin which is sentimental to him.

Fast forward.  John is back in the army in some country.  He gets a letter from Savannah.  She has not written a letter in 5 years.  She tells him that a few weeks after he left, Tim received an anonymous donation enabling him to go home and spend his last 2 months with her and Alan.  He was able to have more time, and say goodbye.  She tells him that she knows she lost the privilege of knowing everything a long time ago, but there was one thing she was sure of "I'll see you soon then".

Fast forward again.  John is back in some city and is locking his bike up outside a coffee shop.  Savannah is in the coffee shop.  They smile at each other.  Savannah rushes out of the shop and into John's arms.

End of movie.

So first off, the love story had no spark in it.  I did not feel a connection to the characters nor did I get that mushy gushy feeling from their love story.

Then Savannah randomly marries Tim who has got to be at least 10-15 years older than her.  Nothing wrong with an age difference, but what the heck?

Then the story goes on and on and on.  And then they get back together, after everything?  And there is no real explanation.  You don't really know if they decided to get back together after John was done with the army or if they just randomly ran into each other and were still in love, after so many years.  And what happens to Tim's kid, Savannah's step son?  Sigh.

How do you go from The Notebook to this??  I would sure like to know.  Maybe it was just a really bad adaptation of the book, but still.

Two thumbs down.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Pescetarian? Vegetarian? Vegan?

I think The Venus Project stimulated the activist inside of me.  I have been thinking about transitioning into a vegan lifestyle.

I think I could cut out beef and poultry quite easily.  There are plenty of vegan substitutes on the market that are supposed to taste just as good.  Even cutting out eggs and dairy would be ok with me.  I already drink soy milk.  So it would really just be a matter of eliminating eggs, egg whites and cows milk cheese and yogurt.  And again, there are all kinds of vegan alternatives.  Tofu omelettes taste just like egg omelettes, and there are plenty of options for non cows milk cheese and yogurt.

I think the biggest deterrent for me is not eating fish.  I LOVE sushi.  I don't think I could give sushi up.

Also, you would have to be so careful what you ate, wore, etc.  Being a vegan is not only about diet, but an entire lifestyle.  Vegans abstain from all animal products.  They will not eat honey, take bee pollen, wear leather or wool...etc.  I  applaud them for this, but it sounds like so much work.  Not to sound like a lazy person, but think about it.  If you go to Starbucks, you can't have a lemon cranberry scone.  If you go to your family's home for dinner, what could you eat?  If you go shopping for new clothes, what can you buy?  They are also against animal testing, of course.  You would have to research all the little things so thoroughly.  Was the product tested on animals?  Are there any hidden animal products (such as Jello which is derived from the collagen in animals skins and bones)?  It would require shopping at specialty stores for simple things like bread.  It could possibly increase your spending.  Hmmmm.

I would also feel bad about having meals at family and friends' homes.  I feel like it would be such an imposition on them, to know exactly what you can and cannot eat.

So, I think I might try out pescetarianism.  It will have to wait until the chicken in my freezer is used up lol.  But I think it might be worth a try.  

Perhaps Veganism will follow it, or perhaps not.