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wmtc: the unquiet mind: in which i search for a way to turn down the volume in my brain

Isn’t it frustrating when you know you’re doing something that hurts you, that makes your life more difficult, yet you can’t seem to stop? Awareness is a necessary precursor to change – that’s been proven to me again and again – but sometimes awareness becomes another burden.  I’m in one of those times of my life when my level of busy-ness is well past my comfort level, and there’s nothing I can do about it. Although it’s not quite short-term, it’s not permanent. I’ve gotten through this before – and I’ve done it without re-triggering any stress-related symptoms or (Read more…)

wmtc: subway tokens, greek coffee cups, and me: missing nyc

This week I received email from my friend Alan, formerly known in this blog as Alan with one L, or AW1L. Subject line: Re: 34th Street/Penn Station Just Now

Out-of-Towner [leaning into packed Uptown Express [2 or 3] train]: “Does anybody know if this goes to Times Square?”

About 10 Passengers [as one--all with exactly the same *annoyed* tone]: “Yes!”

It was *excellent*! [I *love* this town!!]

I loved this little story! I loved that AW1L thought of me when this happened. It also made me feel homesick and wistful for my old hometown. I replied, in (Read more…)

wmtc: update: mississauga library workers vote to form independent cupe local

When people are denied independence and told that they cannot govern themselves, it only makes them more determined to achieve their independence.

This simple principle repeats itself in matters large and small, throughout all history and all cultures.

The struggles of 430 library workers in the sprawling suburban city of Mississauga, Ontario are not exactly global news. But in the microcosm, we rocked the world. Our members voted overwhelmingly – 98.6% – to separate from the larger, merged local and become our own CUPE local.

As I mentioned a while back, the composite local was pulling out all (Read more…)

wmtc: the fight for democracy and independence, microcosm version, or, where i’ve been and what i’ve been doing while i haven’t been blogging

It’s always strange for me when the events that are consuming my time and my brain are not suitable for public consumption, not things I can blog about in any detail.

Some of our war-resister friends have left Canada, forced out by the Harper Government, but choosing to go quietly for reasons of their own. Others US war resisters are still fighting to stay in Canada. It’s been a very dark time for the Campaign, and very strange for me to be only marginally involved, if at all.

In December I was elected the head of our library workers’ union, (Read more…)

wmtc: frustrations with technology, or, when upgrades are really downgrades, or, give me back a previous gmail app

I’ve really been enjoying my Nexus 7 tablet. I dislike that tablets have become the norm, and in a perfect world I’d use a desktop, a netbook, and a tablet. But in the real world, my netbook has been phased out, and I’m back to taking notes with pen and paper.

But in general, I do enjoy my tablet. I especially love the compact size of the Nexus, how smoothly it glides from task to task, and how quickly it charges. I use a Samsung Galaxy at work, and the Nexus has it beat in all categories. And I picked (Read more…)

wmtc: pupdate!

It’s been a very long time since I’ve posted a pupdate.

The short version: Tala is doing great!

You may recall that some years back, shortly after we adopted Diego, our Tala was diagnosed with cauda equina syndrome. Thus began a long, slow process of rest, rehabilitation, and experiments with medication. Our little girl’s wild days of being on the move every waking hour were over. But we were determined to do everything we could to transition her into a more calm, but still active, life.

We have been so fortunate that our efforts have paid off. Tala can (Read more…)

wmtc: happy new year from wmtc

It’s been an exciting year here in wmtc-Joy of Sox-land: me working full-time in my new career, completing a year as a youth-services librarian, Allan publishing a new book, which was well received and got great reviews.

It looks to be an exciting year ahead, too: I was recently elected head of our library workers’ union. Our membership finally has an appetite for a stronger union, and we have a revamped leadership team to show for it. I expect all my accumulated experience and skills will be put to the test as I navigate some brand-new territory.

(Read more…)

wmtc: in which my annual noncelebration of christmas causes my jewish cultural roots to reappear, a tiny bit

Two years ago, wmtc’s annual “i hate christmas” post declared: “i hate christmas is slightly less hateful this year“.  Working in the library, as opposed to an office environment, I found getting through the holiday season much less trying.  No more co-workers – at their computers, able to talk while they work – going on (and on and on and on…) about what they are buying for whom, reciting their shopping lists, a mind-numbing litany of consumption. My co-workers now are too busy, and several magnitudes less self-absorbed, to inflict that on anyone.  And (Read more…)

Dead Wild Roses: The Holiday Season – The CBC Turkey Drive

Greetings and good day gentle readers. It is that time of year again where we talk about changing patterns during the holiday season and bemoan the rampant commercialization of Christmas. I have to admit I have a poorly kept secret. I don’t give holiday presents anymore. Instead all the people who are near and dear to me get a card and a message that, in their name, a Turkey has been donated to a family in need.

Let me assure you, it is a great tradition to start. I recommend you start your tradition of (Read more…)

Dead Wild Roses: As Much As I Like Snow…

I think so much at once kinda sucks. 20cm and still accumulating…

 

The view from my front window.

Filed under: personal Tagged: Break it down! Its shovel time!, Edmonton, Snow, Too Much Snow

wmtc: garth hudson returns to big pink

This week, Columbia Records released The Basement Tapes Complete, six CDs of music made by Bob Dylan and The Band at the house they lived in – the legendary Big Pink – in West Saugerties, New York, during the summer of 1967.

Although The Band, and Bob Dylan, and Bob Dylan and The Band, are among my favourite musical artists in the world – and although I love The Basement Tapes (a double-album from 1975) – I greet this announcement with only mild interest. I’ll be excited to hear any actual new material, but different versions of already-recorded songs (Read more…)

wmtc: more art and culture in the suburbs: indian art activism and the baps mandir

In September my mother was here for her annual visit. I always plan some art or cultural attraction for us to take in. This time she was recovering from some knee surgery, so major walking in Toronto was out. On a previous visit, we had already done most of the cultural attractions in Mississauga – or so we thought. I’m pleased to say that the west-end suburbs was up to the challenge. At the Art Gallery of Mississauga, we saw a fascinating exhibit on the Sahmat Collective, a group of artists in India who use street art (Read more…)

Dead Wild Roses: Trying to Be the Debby Downer – Social Contexts of Gamer Rape Culture

This is a post based on a personal experience. The general topic of the sexist nature of video game culture can be found here.

As of late, I’ve been on a bit of League of Legends binge; a fact the Intransignet One can well attest. The problem with League of Legends (LoL) is that the competitive aspects of the game makes it very rewarding to win and thus, difficult to not to play. It is a strategic game based on skillful play and teamwork – it rewards the teams that communicate and work together. Thus, (Read more…)

Dead Wild Roses: The Un-Friend Zone

We’ve all heard plenty about the so-called “friend zone”, which is where a person you want to date, just wants to be friends, and somehow that’s unfair and bad and mean. Let me tell you about its converse, the Un-Friend Zone.

A while back at work, we got a new deskside support/IT guy. He quickly identified me as the person in the department to talk to, because I know what I’m doing – and what everybody else is doing – with computers (even if they don’t). We were going through a major hardware and software upgrade at (Read more…)

Dead Wild Roses: Friday Musical Interlude: Argentine Tango

The tango that they dance in Argentina is a very, very different dance than you might see on Dancing with the Stars. It’s highly improvisational, and allows not only the leader, but also the follower, to make artistic decisions. Everything is communicated between the partners through physical contact, whether it’s a slight shift of the shared center of balance, or physically pushing with hands, feet, or legs. One guy that I taught tango to, who was into martial arts, commented that Argentine tango is very much like judo, except that the object is to NOT fall down.

Here (Read more…)

Dead Wild Roses: Pity the poor man-feelings

Anti-rape education is making poor frat-boys’ penises sad, according to this article at Bloomberg.

…making out with a girl at a party. Things were going fine, the student said, when suddenly a vision of his school’s disciplinary board flew into his head.

“‘I want to go to law school or medical school after this,’” Pollack said, recounting the student’s comments. “‘I said to her, it’s been nice seeing you.’”

OK, if the disciplinary board is flashing into your head, chances are it’s because you know something’s not right. It’s too bad fear for your future, and not, you know, (Read more…)

Dead Wild Roses: Shadow is a good dog!

When Shadow asks me for something, I’ll often make her earn whatever it is she wants by asking her to sit or lie down or shake a paw. Apparently ‘lie down’ is my favourite, because lately she’ll come boop me with her nose and make want-noises, then immediately lie down while giving her best puppydog eyes. Note also the blurry wagging tail. (In this picture she had just booped me to remind me it was her dinner time.)

Filed under: Cute, personal Tagged: dogblogging, shadow

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Dead Wild Roses: Friday Musical Interlude: The Intransigent One’s Favourite Band

This is VNV Nation, an Irish/English alternative electronic/industrial duo currently based out of Berlin, but touring to Canada this fall/winter – I’ve already got tickets – and plane tickets because the closest they’re coming is Vancouver.

They were my first exposure to electronic/industrial music – I grew up in a classical bubble – and I was hooked pretty much instantly.

Turn up the volume and turn up the bass before pressing play.

The song is “Joy”, a humanist anthem and my personal anthem as well.

Filed under: Arts, Atheism, Music, personal Tagged: The DWR Friday Musical Interlude, vnv nation

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wmtc: in which i attain the holy grail of librarianship: the permanent, full-time job

Meet the new permanent youth librarian at the Mississauga Central Library.

I’ve been in this position since January, but on a temporary or contract basis. Two big things had to happen in order for this job to post as permanent, and they were completely out of my control: two other people also had to get permanent promotions. If either of those people didn’t get their permanent positions, my contract would have ended. I would have gone back to being a part-time library assistant (which would have been a huge hit both financially and in terms of responsibility) and tried (Read more…)

wmtc: mini-garden update: the eggplant arrives

I grew this! It’s eight inches long, and three more are on the way.

What’s ordinary to you veteran gardeners is still miraculous to me. Gardening on a small scale is easy, fun, and very rewarding.

Next stop, eggplant recipes.

wmtc: depression is to sad as cancer is to pimple (a few thoughts after the death of robin williams)

Reading a news story about Robin Williams’ death, I saw a tweet from Jimmy Kimmel. It said, in part: “If you’re sad, tell someone.”

Depression is “you’re sad” the way cancer is a pimple. And telling someone doesn’t make it go away. For severe depression telling someone is… well, it’s nothing.

I’m assuming Kimmel meant, if you’re depressed, seek help. Yes. Good advice. But Robin Williams did seek help. He was in treatment. So was David Foster Wallace when he killed himself. So was… I could go on.

Severe depression is often untreatable. That’s the terrible truth.

Today I’m (Read more…)

wmtc: photos from france, may 2014

Giverny

I have been avoiding the photos I took on my trip with my mom in May. I suspected they were going to be pretty crappy and I didn’t want to see them. But finally I did go through them, got rid of the worst offenses, and posted the rest on Flickr for safekeeping. I’m not happy with them, but… oh well.

If you’re curious: they are here. There are some nice photos of my mom, and I’m even allowing a few of me to stay up, as intensely camera-shy as I am.

wmtc: this year’s mini garden and a mini pupdate

This year’s garden-ette is completely out of control! In a very good way. Here’s June.

And here’s today.

No idea what I’m going to do with all the zucchini. Neither of us bakes, so zucchini bread and muffins are not an option. Guess I’d better start Googling…

This eggplant is tiny right now, but I suppose soon I’ll need those recipes, too.

Random Diego pic.

And because you’re never too old to be a puppy, Tala recently fell in love with an empty peanut butter jar. No idea why.

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wmtc: happy blogiversary to wmtc

This month – July 11, 2014 – I have been blogging for 10 years. Ten years!

I clearly remember telling Allan I was considering beginning a blog about emigrating to Canada. He thought it was a great idea.

July 11, 2004. I was working weekends at my (incredibly easy, wildly overpaid) job at Most Evil Corporate Law Firm. Our applications had been submitted, and we were waiting.

August 30, 2015 will be the 10-year anniversary of our move to Canada, but I felt the 10-year anniversary of wmtc was worth a mention. Thanks for being part of what I (Read more…)

Dead Wild Roses: Back in (and out of) the saddle again!

Hi everybody, just a random update from your friendly Intransigent blogger, to lighten the mood around here. I have a tale of a happy convergence of circumstances.

One day, I’m at the horse rescue and another volunteer invites me to come to a different horse-establishment to meet her horse. Of course I said yes! So we made a date, and I met up with her and her horse, and as we’re fussing over her horse and giving him treats, she asks me, have you ever thought of starting to ride again. I (as cheerfully as (Read more…)