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wmtc: thoughts on luxury, plus know your rights, rental edition, part three

We have to move.

We are heartsick over it.

Our landlord is selling the house we live in. We’re not letting ourselves get kicked out (see below), but chances are very good we’ll have to move, so we’re taking steps to find a place sooner rather than later.

With the shock of our landlord’s announcement faded – at least a bit! – we’ve been able to evaluate our options. And sadly, very sadly, we realize that we should stop renting houses and go back to apartment life.

Comfort is easy. Less comfort is not.

It’s incredibly easy to grow accustomed (Read more…)

Dead Wild Roses: Bullying and the enforcement of normal

Via Shakesville, I stumbled across this powerful and insightful article about bullying among school kids. As somebody who grew up bookish, queerish, funny-looking, and with poor mastery of social skills and “appropriate” gender performance, this totally resonated with me.

The furthest I have come is to accept that I have both been bullied and a bully, both oppressed and oppressor, and that I have thoroughly soaked in a definition of “normal” that I am still trying to undo, day by day. Some of that “normalization” has been enforced by other marginalized people, too — even my own friends — which (Read more…)

Dead Wild Roses: Gardening while female

The front flowerbed at Arb’s and my place is starting to take off – perennials that I’ve planted over the couple years we’ve owned the house, are established enough now, that they can dedicate some energy to blooming! Of course, weather that’s good for flowers is also good for weeds, and our weed crop is plentiful, so I was out pulling weeds yesterday evening.

Working in the front yard is not a peaceful and relaxing experience for me. I feel self-conscious about bending over with my back to the street and my butt in the air and often get into (Read more…)

wmtc: this year’s garden-ette

This year’s crop: two tomato plants, basil, beans, and strawberries. Beans and strawberries are both new for us.  I love that we’re still planting our little garden, with no thought to expansion, just trying a couple of new things each year. And since we should all be boycotting Driscoll’s, we are growing resistance berries. ¡Si, Se Puede! Plus, bonus Tala, with her favourite Orbee.

wmtc: welcome to the world, sophia

This beautiful little girl is the newest member of our family, the first of the next generation. Meet Sophia, brand new baby daughter of one of my nephews and nieces(-in-law).

My brother and sister-in-law are thrilled to be grandparents, and my mom the great-grandma is over the moon.

We hope to meet Sophia in person early next year, as part of a Big Trip we are planning. Stay tuned.

wmtc: what i learned at the cupe library conference

What did I learn at the CUPE Ontario Library Conference?

Technically, nothing. If learning means encountering something new, then no, this was not a learning experience.

But learning must also mean living with knowledge, absorbing it, seeing your theoretical knowledge translated into action. Understanding new configurations of that knowledge. Digesting it, assimilating it into our sense of ourselves.

In that sense, I’m learning this union stuff every day.

So here’s what I “learned”. (I learned that people are still overusing air quotes!)

All libraries everywhere have the same problems. Staffing levels are too low. Full-time jobs are disappearing. Positions (Read more…)

wmtc: to ottawa for the 2015 cupe library conference

At this very moment I am on the train from Toronto to Ottawa, en route to the CUPE Library Workers Conference. This will be my first time attending this annual event. I don’t know what to expect, but I’m super excited!

Last week I was off work for a few days for my annual Spring New York City fix, and this week for the CUPE Conference. Somehow I am managing to stay on top of things at the library. Being compulsively organized has its advantages.

I’m blogging courtesy of my old netbook, the first time I’ve turned it on in (Read more…)

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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