Monthly Archives: December 2007

We used to call that ‘goth’

Tonight could be classified by feeling very ‘dated’. We didn’t even have emo when I was in school. And one would have a pretty hard time getting into a band without owning Converse sneakers. Alas, one more item to add to the list of why I will never be in a band. (1. no musical talent, 2. not cool enough, ….). We hung around for three bands tonight at a local all ages show. It had to be all ages so that the bands could get in apparently.

But the second band, only three dudes of just 15 (at least the lead singer) really rocked it. I really enjoyed their show and I’m not just referring to watching the drummer make hilarious faces while performing. The music was good. My favourite was easily their ode to Laser Cat followed closely by the Makeout, when No one is Watching (for the romantic types). They ended their set with a touching tribute…..to their bus driver. Takes away a bit of their street cred. Hey, at least they still have their Converse.

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Titulo

These last few days I have been using my reading time to learn about a few select topics:

1. Physics and the universe. Thank you Stephen Hawkings for your “A Brief History of Time”. Thank you for bringing insane concepts somewhere within my grasp. This book (so far) I would recommend, as long as you don’t mind ‘reflecting’ (WHAT IS THIS? My brain hurts) and rereading paragraphs a few (5) times. The language is simple but right now most is based on the idea of space-time so picturing a 4D universe is a challenge (for me at least)

2. The life (haha) of cadavers in “Stiff” by Mary Roach. My brother bestowed this on me (although I may have asked for it) and I have soaked in the first third learning how cadavers are used in experiments to improve safety for us living.

3. Living a little more eco- and health-friendly from “Ecoholic“, which is a how-to guide to buying the most earth-friendly products and cutting out some things all together. Simpler (although maybe not easier) ways of living and it is written FOR CANADIANS. No more suggestions that just aren’t available here (no more excuses?)

In another book that fits more under the environment category is “The World Without Us“. In this book I read one of the most beautiful ideas I have read in a long time. Lovely in a melancholy way because I can’t fathom it happening and it saddens me to think about but I know it could be the best thing (in theory). Right, the theory. There is a group, the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement (VHEMT) that has suggested that the best world would be one where humans suddenly stop reproducing and slowly die out to leave the earth untaxed by our species to recover.

Here is the beautiful part. With no one new being born our responsibility falls to caring for only those who are already born, a finite number of individuals. In theory we would grow wiser upon reflecting on our demise and begin to care for those around us. Slowly there would be an end to homeless children, extreme poverty and war. I feel like I’m not doing justice to this concept. Of course in reality it would be sad. Maybe I would never have my own children. There would be no grandchildren either. In ten years there would be no small children which would be truly a loss. We all seem to want to leave a legacy as well. The idea of nothing replacing us, continuing what we have begun, remembering us, can be undesirable. But really, why? Once you leave the earth that’s it, there is no going back (unless you think you can haunt). How about everyone just read the book or pages 241-244. Or check out the website.

Spoiled like my parents missed me while i was away

My inner child must still get giddy at the thought of Christmas surprises waiting in the morning (I was the only member of the family who didn’t know exactly what they were getting since I insist on surprises) because it kept me up all night. The excited shaking doesn’t happen any longer and I don’t even consciously dwell on the next day but somehow I was still lying awake at almost 6am. Meaning my family has set a new personal record for present opening time: 9:52 am. start time.

The previous record being before 8am.

Waiting under the tree were a shiny new pair of snowshoes to continue my search for a winter passtime with exercise involved. Another sport that will soon bend to my will is skating. Three times so far since I have returned and I have steadily not sucked quite at much. I’m even warming to the girly skates, even if they may be put down by everyone else. The nice tails on the blades keep me from falling backwards, they are nice and tight (not too wide like boy skates) and even the pickies have their merits. Here’s to me sticking with it.

The first thing we did this morning after opening and eating was watch HAIRSPRAY. As a celebration and a Merry Christmas I give you this link for your very own Christopher Walken treat.

My infectious namesake

My time back in Canada so far has been spent somewhat lazily. Seeing people as I feel like seeing people. Decorating. Trying a recipe or two. Sleeping until noon. It has given me the opportunity to start (and finish) A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini. I believe that he has mastered the creation of heartbreaking tragedy, of capturing shame and disappointment, of knowing exactly what would have to happen to break the reader. He seems a bit of a tease or torturer, bringing each character to the absolute edge of destruction and then reviving them. It was beautifully written but completely unnecessary.

The next book propped beside me to be opened momentarily is quite fitting after having spent the evening watching I am Legend with Mark tonight (shout out!). The book is The World Without Us by Alan Weisman that explores how the earth would recover and repair itself if we were suddenly nonexistent and what we have managed to do that will be forever irreparable. Watch those plastic grocery bags.

Having just been in Peru and being thrown back directly into the oncoming path of the Santa Claus parade is a bit unsettling. My goal is to avoid the mall and Wal-mart until the New Year as much as possible. More than that I have been considering the idea of buying local, buying well-made and having less. I know, I go on about it quite a bit. But ask your parents: how many outfits did they have at one time growing up? Three? four? I don’t know why I live such a disposable life. This Story of Stuff short film puts it very concisely and has a few noteworthy statistics.

Toilet paper goes where again?

From Peru to Canadian soil in less than 36 hours. Only 4 flights. My longest wait, in Lima, actually allowed me to spend a few hours in the VIP lounge sipping on a free Kaluha y leche, sitting in leather chairs while surfing the internet for free on snazzy computers. Little to report for the rest of my trip. Mark picked my stinky self up from the airport and smoothly got me across the border without a search which saved my fake movies and coca products from being confiscated.

Now to set to work trying to answer the question that i do not feel like being asked: ‘now what’? Nope. Don’t ask it. I don’t know. Except I’m going to the movies tomorrow.

It´s beginning to look a lot like…June

The first signs of Christmas appeared in Arica, Chile seeming somewhat out of place amidst the palm trees and happy vultures. The plan was, when ariving in Arica, get hotel room, leave stuff there, have glorious glorious showers, bus to Nazca that night. That plan became: do all of the above except skip Nazca and spend two days in our seaside luxury overlooking THE PACIFIC OCEAN. That´s right folks, for $18 per night we lived it up with hot water, clean sheets and a patio view of the beach.

The town itself was reasonably hip as well. The biggest shocker had to be, after 3 months without the western capitalism snuggling up with me at night, the giant yellow arches in the shopping district. So like good westerners we went…you know, just to test if it was the same. One, no it isn´t. It is really fancy with western music blaring outside, IKEA chairs and a Chef´s menu (please, next time you´re in McD´s ask to meet the ‘chef’ and the 16 year old with zits will be happy to spit in your burger). Being not all that hungry I just ate a few fries but Kate polished off some burger meal and we went off in search of a sea museum. I believe we have a new guinness record because in no more than 15 minutes Kate was huddled on the ground trying to contain her aforementioned lunch when we located the museum just in time and desperately begged for sanctuary in the washroom before touring. You don´t need the details but let´s just say she won´t be going to that fastfood chain again soon.

Back on the shore away from the unsettling elves in department stores and misplaced holiday tunes we disturbed hoards of sea life to satisfy our curiosity. Vultures watched us from the palm trees, pelicans fled as I sneakily tried to get a better look and crabs shuddered back into the sand. We turned over rocks for hours finding anenomes, sea urchins, snails and so many fun creatures. From the dock I could watch the red-topped jellyfish float to their doom on the shore. I fulfilled my dream of walking along the shore as tide was going out and finding ‘treasures’ left behind by the sea. A few little crabby friends included.

Sadly the adventure had to end and we parted ways in Arequipa where I met a few friends (one german girl and two dudes from the US), stayed in a hostal that was once an old colonial home. We went out for Alpaca steak (yes, even I had to try it just once). My thoughts: wow, this is really good. This tastes very similar to what I remember steak tasting like. Oh no, do I LIKE STEAK?

Don´t sniff the sulfur

Pit stop for eight hours in San Pedro while waiting for the bus to take me to Arica. Why Arica? If you glance at a map you will see that it is situated on the coast of the PACIFIC OCEAN! It might be true that I have never seen that one. It is so hot with little to do other than shop (I only need so many tacky sweaters and tribal pipes) so we are taking refuge in an internet cafe. Three days ago I had not yet seen these things:

1. The honest-to-goodness-desert
2. A geyser
3. Chile
4. Flamingoes in their natural habitat (which happens to be much better on the eyes than nose) 5. Llamas, vicuñas, an andean fox, a long-tailed rabbit thing, a suri (kinda like an ostrich)
6. A volcano
7. Vast plains of salt
8. Desert stars

The trip was three days in a jeep with a brazilian woman, two dudes from Ireland and a French guy who only strengthened any French stereotype I have ever heard. Oh, and our Bolivian driver. It worked out that our plans changed to avoid Sucre because it is closed due to rioting. The accomodations each night were basic but warm however lacked washing stations. By last night we washed out hair in the miniature bathroom sinks with ice water allowing the little girls who lived there to dump nalgenes full of it all over our heads. It was worth it since we were later informed that we were ‘amigas’ and handed slightly wet handfuls of popcorn.

While drinking my jugo of pure kiwi in the town today I picked up a pamphlet about some geysers in the area similar to the ones we had visited this morning. It provided some ‘necessary cautions for your visit’ – All visitors must be something far from the geysers when coming nearer to them -In winter the low temperature freeze the water that fluid from the geysers, becoming slippery the ground, BE CAREFUL TO WALK – It is not recommended NOT TO INHALE nor to smell the emanations produced by the geysers, because they can be very dangerous And if incase, after all these warnings, you manage to fall into a geyser there are burn tips provided. Most important of all ‘not to take away the rest of the clothes attached to the skin’. Boy, that makes me want to visit.