Sunday, November 6, 2011

More adult perspectives on middle school

Years and years ago, when I was in school, I went to French Immersion from K to 12, and when I was growing up and kids transferred to other schools, at the back of my mind I assumed that they had dropped out. I was being self-centered, but given my limited experience, I couldn't think any other way. If you left the school you were no longer part of the world my classmates and I knew. Since I got into the school system as an adult, I know that kids get transferred to other schools and other school divisions all the time, and for a variety of reasons. Sometimes it's the quality of the education, sometimes it's due to bullying, sometimes the other school is just closer to home. There are many reasons why a child goes to a different school from grade to grade, or halfway through the year. The school I work at is half English, half French Immersion. It's the only French Immersion middle school in the division, and I got to thinking this evening about that.
I come from a Francais background, so it wasn't that hard to do my 13 years of FI. I got to talking in June with one of the French teachers I work with, about one of the Eights in their class who was going on to Grade Nine at the high school. The student had struggled through French and was now going on to even more French. A sibling who is now in Grade Eleven had struggled as well, and had crossed over into English because French was too difficult, and there was a possibility that this student would end up crossing over as well before long. This evening I got to thinking about my own experience in a purely French Immersion school and what probably happened to students in similar situations. The closest English high school wasn't far away, but where friends are concerned, that school could've been half a world away.
Given all this, the kids who go to the dual-track high school are perhaps luckier than they realize. If they're struggling with French and need to cross over, at least they'll still have their friends close by. Perhaps not in the same classes, but at least they'll see them at lunch and during spares. This seems like a pretty unique situation to me, for if they were going to the schools I've been to, they would have transferred and perhaps not seen many of their friends again until college or university, if that.
I know that I do not blog as often as I once did, and I apologize for that. However, nobody reads my blog, so no harm, right? BYE.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

10 years ago #4

September 13, 2001, morning
Time for an entry of quotes and musings. The first quote is the very last of Lord Byron for a while. I know that this quote has nothing to do with the horrors the U.S. has suffered, but I have to record it. I thought it a beautiful and interesting quote. “…the symbols of the Invisible are the loveliest of what is visible…” I was going to spend some time dwelling upon this quote, but I think other matters should overrule. This next quote, while I admit is also nothing in connection with that happened, I feel that I need to record it. This quote says it all for me. “Describe Him as you will […] and you will find them all hidden and contained in this little word: is.” I will explain much later. Now, this quote (the third and final one for the day) can be found in my “A Dictionary of Superstitions”. Maybe it too has nothing to do with what happened, but I thought is was a good quote. “It is accounted very unlucky for a wedding to meet a funeral. In fact meeting a funeral is no good omen at anytime.” Now, the other day, we were all saturated by reports of the heartless attacks in NYC and Washington. Yesterday, people began moving, crying, and looking for someone to blame. So far, the Middle East (Muslims, in particular) is being blamed. The terrorist side says that the United States of America had it coming. Perhaps this is true, but so many innocent people were slaughtered. The body count is still uncertain. Politics and religion; all makes for a grim game. George W. Bush has declared war upon the unknown mastermind, and there are Palestinians dancing in the streets. Would Allah truly want this? Nothing is certain in these troubled times. O Presence, come and protect us. Amen. SYS.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

9th graders give hugs?

Today, some brand-new 9th graders (previously 8th graders the staff said goodbye to at the close of June), paid me a visit at work and did the unthinkable. They hugged their librarian. It's funny, but I never thought I made as good an impression as all that on them. I'm assuming they'd hug their teachers but me? Needless to say, I drove home with a lightness in my being that was not there before. There are some students you never think are going to come away from a library period thinking 'hey, she's all right' and consistently think that enough that you become someone special to them. They had their first day of high school today and were probably looking forward to visiting their old middle school for some comforting thoughts. Their statement about high school was that it was 'SCARY'. Yes, I remember being uneasy about starting 9th grade myself. New teachers, new school, new experiences, and new acquaintances. And yet, for me, high school was my favourite part of the 13 years I was at school. I don't think I'm alone in thinking this.
Tomorrow is my last day with wrestling with the laminator for a few days. I've been consistently feeding things into that creaking contraption and on Friday I rest. Things are looking up at work, what with the file I've been impatiently waiting for finally on the verge of coming in. Maybe tomorrow I'll get some more visitors. Not holding my breath but it would be nice. On the literary level, I just finished reading Yeats' 'Mythologies'. A very good read about concepts I've never thought to consider as mythology but they probably can be considered as such. Stories telling of the Faery world, of certain esoteric orders, and other interesting concepts. If I ever read it again, I think I'll try and get a newer copy, as the one I had smelled of age, and you know what that smell does to me. Not a good thing.
My next adventure concerns 'The myth of Sisyphus' by Camus. Not new ground - I've read it before - but maybe I'll find something new the second time around. BYE.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Amid hunger pangs

So my locale got some substantial rain last night and I slept right through it. Granted, I like getting a decent night's rest, but I missed what was supposed to be a very good light show. There may be some more rain this evening, and we definitely need this rain. I worked on my library's webpage today but there's lots of work still to do. I know it's something I need to keep updated, but I don't always have the time. That's life. I spent an hour here, an hour there updating the colours and adding blurbs here and there. It's a start. I transplanted another of my poor root-bound plants today at work. I know, it's the wrong season to do it, but I had the time today and I'm pretty sure I won't find the time this spring. Better now when I have some time than later when I don't. Took a break from laminating but I'll be back to that fun and excitement tomorrow. I'm a little annoyed with that bottom roller, but considering the machine is doing what it should, and considering I'm not sure if it is the bottom roller's fault or something I didn't do, I'll just keep chugging along. Last year things were pretty bad until I learned I had screwed something up. One learns something new every day.
On the literary front, I finished reading another study on gothic fiction. No Lovecraft yet graces my borrow shelf, but that is surely coming. The book I just read was a study on Lovecraft, Matheson, and King. Matheson wrote 'I am Legend', which is another book I have yet to read. I may borrow one of these days. I don't know if I consider it an overhyped book, considering nobody's been talking the book or the movie ad nauseam, unlike some books and movies I've heard about. To this day, I have yet to watch 'Titanic', and I pray I never will. I'm not fond of DeCaprio and I loathe that song something fierce. Yeah, I think I'll stay away from that movie for the rest of my days. Now it's time to take up the third part of Piers Anthony's Geodyssey series. I also have the 4th one waiting in the wings. This has been a good series so far. I'm also reading through the Apprentice Adept series. Just need some Xanth to keep things light. I haven't done much lighter fare lately. Maybe the time is coming. It would be a nice change.
The weekend is calling, but I can't pick up the phone for another 21 hours. Maybe I'll play the Sims tonight. Or I'll read some more. Ah, the outstanding life of an embittered spinster.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Holding out for a hero?

I started reading Joseph Campbell's 'The hero with a thousand faces' yesterday. Stunning and insightful. Campbell explores the archetype of the hero through dreams, through cultures, religious rituals, and all the symbols of the hero he can find. Have you ever come across books that you absolutely knew were just perfect for you at the time. Amazingly, I have had some experiences like that. The right book at the right time; it comes rarely, but it's a wonderful feeling when it does. There are some interesting heroes out in the world of literature, films, and even in the real world. One heroic character that has stuck with me to this day is Prince Lyr, from 'The Last Unicorn'. He and the other characters engage in deconstruction of the hero in one part of the story. He considered himself something of a failed hero before the Unicorn.
Heroes come in all shapes and sizes, from the larger-than-life of King David and Indiana Jones to the doomed-yet-triumphant Sydney Carton. What is it about the hero that is so alluring? Every story needs at least one hero to keep it going. Can someone write a story without having even one hero? Maybe, but not a very engaging story.
Meanwhile, I started back to work today. Very quiet in the library, and it will likely be quiet in the library for while to come, as the kids don't come back until after Labour Day. The weekend is close at hand. I hope to get some more books read. That's all for now. A shorter than usual entry, but I really don't have much to say besides what I have said.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Let's hear it for People!

In honour of the book (The Chatto book of dissent) I'm currently reading (and because I didn't know the lyrics myself but wanted to know), here are the lyrics to one of my favourite Lennon songs (other favourites being 'Jealous Guy' and 'Nobody told me')

Give Peace a Chance
- John Lennon

Ev'rybody's talkin' 'bout
Bagism, Shagism, Dragism, Madism, Ragism, Tagism
This-ism, that-ism, ism ism ism
All we are saying is give peace a chance
All we are saying is give peace a chance

Ev'rybody's talkin' 'bout
Minister, Sinister, Banisters and Canisters,
Bishops, Fishops, Rabbis, and Pop Eyes, Bye bye, Bye byes
All we are saying is give peace a chance
All we are saying is give peace a chance

(Let me tell you now)
Ev'rybody's talkin' 'bout
Revolution, Evolution, Masturbation, Flagellation, Regulation,
Integrations, mediations, United Nations, congratulations
All we are saying is give peace a chance
All we are saying is give peace a chance

Ev'rybody's talkin' 'bout
John and Yoko, Timmy Leary, Rosemary,
Tommy Smothers, Bobby Dylan, Tommy Cooper,
Derek Taylor, Norman Mailer, Alan Ginsberg, Hare Krishna
Hare Hare Krishna
All we are saying is give peace a chance
All we are saying is give peace a chance
(Repeat 'til the tape runs out) (reposted Aug. 17. 2011)

Friday, August 12, 2011

Lazy Friday Morning

The rest of the day won't be as lazy, that's for sure. Big anniversary to-do happening tomorrow, and Mom's on the decorating crew. She'll be heading out this evening (possibly) to lend a hand. My sister and I had a plan to entertain the crowd on Saturday, but that plan may get derailed due to an impending cold. I really don't want to go up there alone and perform, so we might not do our song-and-dance. C'est la vie. Meanwhile, I've been getting into matters Satanic with books like 'The Chatto book of the Devil' and 'Satan'. It's important to explore the darker nature once in a while, without acting upon one's darker nature, and Satan is the ultimate Other. As John Wing once said, "And God said let there be Satan so people don't blame everything on Me." Of course, he also said "And God said let there be lawyers so people don't blame everything on Satan." Even the Devil needs help sometimes.
I guess I shouldn't say lazy. More like relaxed. The awesomeness of Ravi Shankar helps to keep things nice and relaxed. I was going to play Sims this morning, but I do have some reading I could be doing. It's not all about the game, you know. Considering how close the school year is now, reading might be a better option for me. I can do my gaming on the weekends like I do when I'm working. Two weeks to go before the school year starts. I guess I'm ready (I'll let you know in a week). I had thought about posting a diary entry from the past, but that can wait for a future entry.
Perhaps I'll post my thoughts from 9/11 this September. Amazing how fast 10 years can pass. There was a time when a decade took forever to pass. Now all it takes is a blink and I'm 10 years older. And things speed up even more the older you get. Okay, enough brooding. There are books out there that need to be read and enjoyed. Time to get further into 'Satan' and his 'history' as it were. Question: if you had a chance to sell your soul, what would your price be? Just remember to read the fine print, because with the Devil, all sales are final. Of course, if you know what to expect going into such an agreement, then winding up a guest in Hell's deadly suburbs shouldn't be a surprise to you.

Friday, August 5, 2011

End's in sight!

July was a sizzler in Winnipeg this year (a refreshing change from our decade of cold summers) and August looks pretty similar. Apparently this July was the driest one on record, which was a godsend for those surrounded on all sides by sandbags. I don't know how much the dry month helped, but more rain would have ended it for many of those folks. On the other hand, the farmers, who were drowning in May and June, are now crying for rain so their surviving crops might pull through. They walk a tightrope, those farmers, and what happens with them makes a ripple effect in the produce department. Especially if you want to go local with your fruits and veggies. Going local is the big thing, and let's be honest, it makes sense. Anyway, July is behind us and September, that horrid beast, is closing in. Anyone in the school system (students or staff) has begun counting the days until it's Back to School! You can still have fun, but now you feel rushed to get as much fun in as possible.
As for me, I'll need a couple more weeks before I'm ready to switch to my 'work brain'. Right now, my brain keeps thinking it's Saturday, when I know darn well it's Friday. Why my brain wants to think a day ahead I do not know. In the meantime, I've been reading 'A vision' by W.B. Yeats. Through the miracle of 'automatic writing', he has discovered another way to divide people up into varied and dynamic groups. Much like the Enneagram or stuff like that. The only reason I was interested in Yeats was because Loreena McKennitt sang one of his poems. As usual, she did a magnificent job, which got me interested in Yeats and his work. I guess I was looking for more poems and have come up empty for the nonce. I'll just keep looking. After I have finished with this book I'll be looking into Carlos Castaneda. Groovy, man.
August is birthday time for my sister and her boyfriend, so it's time to go gift-hunting! In my own life, I've discovered the wild world of streaming live video. So far I've only commented on other people's streams, but it's a start, right? Maybe someday I'll do my own stream. Just haven't figured it all out yet. Anyway, that's about all for now. BYE.

Thursday, July 28, 2011


Ever read something that creeped you right out? I just finished reading a short story by Thomas F. Monteleone that did the trick perfectly. He's a good writer and I'm glad I came across this book, but whew! July is almost over and August beckons. I went and got my car washed today - I should wash my car more often, just to see what kind of dings happened to it over the space of several months. I went to the local Chamois to give my car a very good cleaning. They clean the interior as well, and I was reading that, for a little more, they'll clean the dust and stuff from your motor. Maybe I should get that one day for my car. After all, it's all paid for now. YAY!
The weather around here has been warmer than we're used to, but not unmanageable. There's plenty of water around for folks to water their lawns with. My dad and sister work outside, so they'd probably argue with me about the heat not being unmanageable. After all, I hug the AC in my comfortable little hovel and the only time I go outside is en route to the car, the store, or into my parent's house and enjoy the AC there. I guess I should be complaining about the heat, but considering that we've had a decade of cold summers, I cannot in good conscience complain.
August is a time for birthdays, and I'm getting the gifts ready. There's also an anniversary coming up in my family, so I'm getting ready for that as well. Should be a fun time. I know my entries lately have not been as long as they were in the past, and I honestly have no explanation for that. I'm still writing in my diary and still reading like there was no tomorrow. I'm also still gaming, and I don't think I should record here what games I've been playing or the details of each game. This blog didn't start off as a gaming blog; if anything, it's meant as a reading blog. Perhaps I'll have more to say when I go back to the work at the end of August.
That's about it. BYE.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

No pics?

Unfortunately I cannot get the pics from my phone, so I don't have very much to share with you from my trip to Victoria. Here are some of my thoughts. Gorgeous flowers and plants everywhere; not just at the Butchart Gardens. If our growing season was longer in central Canada, we'd have glorious gardens as well. My earliest impression of Victoria, according to my diary, was that it's a city piled high with trees, expensive real estate, and efficient traffic systems. Well, compared with Winnipeg, that is. We went to Duncan and to Sooke to see what they were all about, we luxuriated in the cooler weather (again, compared with Winnipeg... over 30 degrees every freaking day...), and we looked for a mall (yes, there is one in Victoria, and a nice one as well). We did a great deal of walking as well, since parking in Victoria is expensive. The weather was great for walking in capris and pants. Back home we would've died along the way.
I will probably visit Victoria again one day, as it is a beautiful and friendly place. A fine place to retire to, considering all the retirees we saw. That is about it. There's a chance I will be going to the lake with my favourite travelling companion later on, but probably not for a whole week. I got a fair bit of reading done while we were in B.C. when we weren't walking around and admiring the sights. Most recently I've gotten into Piers Anthony's 'Mode' series. Wryly amusing (like me, perhaps?), thought-provoking, and poignant stuff. There are 4 books in the series and I just finished reading the 2nd book. Onto the 3rd one!
That's been my summer so far. I know this is not a very long post, but I don't have much else to say. BYE.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Diary stuff

Just letting you know that I landed safely in Winnipeg. Victoria is a beautiful city, and once I've had more time to ponder my adventure, and once I figure out how to get the photos from my phone, I'll post something. For now, time for another blast from the past.

June 6, 1996 (Date Error — probably meant July 6, 1996) — evening
I’m sorry that I haven’t written much since the 28th. Well, here’s a rundown of the things my family and I did during our time in Minneapolis and Wis Dells. (By the by, we are in Duluth, MN, and we are going home on the morrow.) In Minneapolis, we stayed for 3 nights at the Northwest Inn. Very nice. ★★★½. We went to Mall of America. Excellent! Four floors of nothing but shops and resturants (sic)! You’ve never seen so many stores. I just couldn’t believe it! I spent all of my money on things that I couldn’t get at St. Vital. I bought an X-files T-shirt, a simply amazing C.D. of New Age music, some neat shells, a tape (videotape) of Enya’s music videos, (my favourite songs too!) and some accessories for dressing up Venus. I was broke by then, so my parents bought me everything else. You wouldn’t believe the immensity of the Mall of America! Then, it was Valleyfair. Our first ride was the Wave. Anyway,the Wave is a water ride, and you get very, very wet! You see, you get into this carlike thing. (We went at the back.) The machine starts travelling up this steep incline. You start feeling uneasy as you go higher and higher. The machine reaches the level part of the ride, where you stay up there for a few mins. You feel anticipation, because you know that in just a few seconds, you will be drenched by water. Then you start going down, faster and faster. Water starts collecting as you go. I closed my eyes out of fear. Finally, you reach the bottom, where there is a pool of water waiting. As soon as we made contact, the water pressure is so intense that it gets us all wet. The water is also powerful enough that it creates an actual wave, spilling over passer-by! The next ride I truly loved was Thunder Canyon. You go into a circular boat and then you float down rapids and waterfalls! Yes, you do get very wet! I love these rides because it was very hot out that day. Wisconsin Dells was okay too.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Well, ring my bell!

School's out! My last day for the year was June 30. The admins played 'School's out for summer' over the PA, bringing smiles to all of us. The teachers and admins had a rather rough go of things last week, what with glitches and corrections, and general frustrations, but around 3 yesterday afternoon, we gladly put all that behind us and it was time to party! Actually, we had the party the evening before, which was something of a letdown compared to last year. Plenty of laughs and conversation, but I thought there were just too many people around and, let's be honest, I'm not really big into horse-racing. Hopefully we don't revisit the Downs next year. Certainly, the food was good, but there's more to life than a good buffet. This from a food-lovin' gal, but it's true. I left instructions with the summer custodians on what to do with the plants. Hopefully I don't lose any this year, compared to last year. Speaking of this year, the 8's are gone!!! Not all of them were frustrating, just the ones I encountered on a near-daily basis in the library. The rest of them made for an interesting experience. No doubt I'll have more interesting experiences when the kids come back in September.
Meanwhile, I'm getting things together for the big trip. I probably won't have time to post next week, considering I will be away. Granted, I'll probably have the use of a computer, but when you only have a week to see Victoria and all its glories, who wants to hang around online, plunking words into their blog that nobody reads, anyway? I have gathered together a few good books to read while Mom and I are on the plane. I printed off the important information that will ensure we get on the plane next week. Oops, I just remembered that today is Friday and not Saturday. It feels like a Saturday, but that's the effects of summer vacation. Before long, I'll be relaxed enough to just lie on my futon for hours on end and get some serious reading done.
Oh, and it's CANADA DAY! I should break out the Nylons and listen to their classic take on our national anthem. My favourite when I'm at work and the admins decide to play it over the PA. I found it on Youtube, if anyone's interested. . Anyway, our proud yet self-conscious country is 144 years old. Hurrah! I don't have anything planned for today, apart from doing some laundry and getting my stuff together for the trip. The weather looks fairly gloomy, but it should be nicer today than it was yesterday. With that bastard of a Humidex the weather was either 40, 45 or worse. Augh! So that's all for me. When next I post, I should have a few neat stories about Victoria.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Tick... tock... AUGH

6 days and counting.... I'm listening to New Order this evening and worrying that I'm quickly running out of time before the end of the school year. I need to get everything returned and paid up, and it seems like the kids could not care less. Maybe I'm just getting old in my thinking. Old and pessimistic... wait, I was already pessimistic to begin with... Yeah, I'm doing just fine. Meanwhile, I've done a ton of reading over the last few days and plan to do another ton before I go west for a week. I should also get some books for the trip. Now, I fear that I don't have a whole lot to say, so I'll post a blast from the past... Enjoy!

June 18, 2001, afternoon
A journey into the psyche has reaped very interesting rewards. There is a very good book called “Please Understand Me” by David Keirsey and Marilyn Bates, and it talks about temperament types. I have read from this book, done the rest and I have learned that I am INFJ. An INFJ is an Introvert/Intuitive/Feeling/Judging. I’ve known for a long time that I am an Introvert, but what does it all mean? This book explained it all to me. Introverts make up 25% of the population and they prefer solitude and are more territorial. That is very true for me. In addition, I rather enjoy being in select company. Society can have its extroverts; we introverts will have quiet contemplation. Now, The second letter can be either N(Intuitive) or S(sensation). 25% of the population are Intuitive. More preferred company issues. Will I ever be part of the 75%? Anyway, those who are N think in terms of awareness and sensitivity (sic?). Now, there is the third letter. F as in Feeling, compared with T for Thinking. Here there is a gender split. 60% of the female population are F compare to male population (60% are Thinkers). I believe more in values than in logic. Well, I guess that I am a majority somewhere. Now, that fourth letter is a J, or one who judges. Apparently, I prefer deadlines. Perhaps the test was wrong somehow. I don’t like deadlines. So, here is the final moment. I(25%) N(25%) F(50%) J(50%) (Feeling % - error on my part?) So, what does it all mean? INFJ’s make up about 1% of the population and are therefore very rare indeed. People like me are very reserved, are rumoured to have ESP, and are hurt easily by nasty (sic?) words. The diagnosis is very true. It has been quite a wonderful journey. Well, I will keep reading this interesting book at another time. Another journey into the psyche will await…. SYS.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Assorted mumbles

10 days to go until a well-deserved break. While the Canucks sucked and Vancouver was... mucked up..., I attended a nice little technology event after work. The computer lab fanatics showcased their awesome work for a handful of parents and a smaller handful of staff. I care little about hockey and I don't even have a TV, so I went and enjoyed the show. I went home last night feeling a little euphoric about the whole thing. Amazing how good I've felt lately. Things are feeling very right for me these days. I don't know how else to explain it. Again, it could just be knowing that the end is very much in sight. Today was the last actual school day for the kids and next week will be activities and the like. Of course, the library will be open during lunch and I'll enjoy yelling at my favourite annoyances for a few more days. On the other hand, I've been doing my librarian's job of late as well (providing information), which really made me feel good. Next week I'll be closing the library for a couple of days to get some inventory done. Feeling pretty good about that as well.
Listening to 'Reveal' by the awesome R.E.M. this evening, which continues the happiness for me. It's such a summery album.
On the literary front, I've nearly come to the end of 'The shape of things to come' by H.G. Wells. I was inspired to find this book by TCM, which showed the movie adaptation a few months back. The book (natch) is better than the movie, but I'm astounded at how good it is. The writing is informative and clear, and I'm really enjoying it. Of course, other minds might say it's Saharan in nature and I would agree. Compared to the movie, however.... I plan to visit this book in a year's time as well just to see if I still like it as much as I do now. I hope to have more info concerning the book posted here once I've come to the end of it. The big Dad's Day is this Sunday. There's a plan in place, and this time we're prepared for it. I apologize for the shortness of this entry. I need to get back to reading. BYE.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Happiness abounds? Zounds!

Maybe it's just the change of the season, with the days growing longer and warmer. Maybe it's knowing that summer vacation is only days away. Whatever the reason, I've been feeling bouncier and more relaxed of late. There's a lightness in my soul that I cannot explain. I started feeling this toward the end of last week, and my mood has yet to change. Oh yes; I'm still a doubting, distrusting, pessimistic misanthrope who would rather cower in her hole rather than venture out further into the world and embrace pure idealism, but I'm happier while I cower. I'm thinking it's because the school year is coming to an end and I'm getting ready for summertime and its adventures. I'm getting a little excited about the upcoming trip west with Mom - maybe that's part of it as well. I will also be pleased to say goodbye to the kids for a while. I'll be seeing most of them again in September, but they're done with the year and I think I'm ready to join them. A number of teachers and EA's agree with me, which is a relief.
I finished reading a twin-spin by Nietzsche recently and I greatly enjoyed it this second time. Now I just want to get my hands on 'Ecce homo'. Of late I've been tossing the phrase about in my head. It means 'Behold the man', and has been the subject of numerous paintings. It's what Pontius Pilate announced to the bloodthirsty public when he had Jesus brought out before them. I'm not sure what Nietzsche's take on the phrase will be, but it was the last book (if I recall correctly) he wrote before his psyche became more than he could handle. He never recovered, which is unfortunate. Meanwhile, I'm going to start reading 'The Tao of Physics', which sounds something like a contradiction in terms. I want to see if it is or if the two concepts can work together. I guess that's all I have to say where work and reading are concerned. I still have no idea why I'm feeling so buoyant of late.
When I figure it out, I'll let you know. BYE.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Is Society to Blame?

Such an overused question. I blame my study of B.F. Skinner, which I just finished reading, for the title of this post. Actually, I'm going to talk about blame (playing the blame game, taking the blame, etc...). I've been hearing the following cry from a couple of my more annoying regulars. "It's not me, it's X's fault!" I reply, "You are in control of your own fate, and X is not to blame if I have to kick you out." On the other hand, when two young'uns act upon each other's merry chaos, it only makes sense for both to suffer the consequences of their actions. I fear I've garnered a rep for being something of a pushover, and only now, at the close of the year, am I clamping down. I guess I'll know better for next year. But I digress. Passing the buck isn't going to help matters. But what about Society? Thousands of interactions happening per second every day around the world; it's easy for one speck in the universe to feel a little lost.
I told myself I was not going to bring karma into this discussion, but my Semi-Buddhist Eyes will not leave it alone. While we are in control of our own fates, there are so many connections and interactions per second, per day, and per life, that others eventually may have to share at least some blame. That's where compassion comes in. When things, be they good or ill, happen to you, you can at least take comfort in knowing that these same things have happened to everyone else. There are many ways one can look at blame and at Society, and each way ends in a great deal of complication and confusion. And now I find myself quickly getting confused in what I really wanted to say. That's the way things work for me sometimes.
In the meantime, I'm going to start reading Nietzsche and count the days until the end of June. BYE.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


Eye-catching title, eh? To be fair, I won't be spending a whole lot of time discussing violence today. I finished reading some works by Stendhal recently, and while I found 'Armance' to be quite the frustration, Stendhal's shorter works were something different. I enjoyed 'The abbess of Castro' and 'The Cenci', which were shorter stories full of violence and heartbreak. I also found I was mistaken concerning why I wanted to read Stendhal's works. He says little to nothing about class structure, and I was grateful for that. I found at times that he was a little abrupt with his endings at times, especially where 'Armance' was concerned. Just when I was starting to warm up to the story, it ends with a dull clap and you don't get much of an ending. 'The Cenci' gets a special nod for its amazing portrayal of a commanding mafioso (admit it, that's what he was!) dude who ruled his family and his community with an iron fist.
Ever since I first heard about 'Walden Two', I've been trying to get my mitts on some B.F. Skinner. A known fellow among the psychological community, I've also heard of his deadly 'Skinner Box'. A man of many mysteries, eh? I started into 'Reflections on behaviourism and society' yesterday, and it's going a little slow right now. On the other hand, I already have a quote I want to eventually add to my meagre collection. Kind of funny, as he mentions acedia, and I was just reading about that not long ago. Some sort of sign that I'm on the right path? I don't think I'll be able to find 'Walden Two', though I will look a little harder soon enough. For now, I'm going to get through this book and then take a nice break with Tennyson. I fear that this entry is pretty short, but I have to check on supper and other things.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Nice times (at last)

Friday was frustrating, with chill winds and enough rain to be depressing. Some of my lunch regulars didn't help matters any, which decreased my mood even more. And then my ankle decided to rebel, which reduced me to a whimpering mass of librarian. That last one was more my fault than anything else, as I spent much of the morning and afternoon running after students to get their books back. Adolescents can be incredibly annoying, especially when they get demanding. Okay, I've spent much of this weekend harping inwardly about this, and Monday is just around the corner. At least this group of regulars will be on their way at the close of June (YAY!) Anyway, the weekend has lifted my spirits quite a bit, with good weather and no adolescents to drive me up the wall. My Dad's B-day is next week, so we treated him to dinner on Saturday. Next year will be a milestone birthday for both Mom and him, and I already have to wonder what Nat and I will get him. Of course, there's Nat's B-day still to come, but not until this summer.
Speaking of summer, the plan's afoot and Mom and I have gotten everything worked out for our upcoming trip to B.C. The flight's been booked, the hotel's been booked, and the rental car has been booked. It still does not feel real, though I suspect that it will the closer it gets to July. I probably will not do much in the way of posting anything during the trip itself, but rest assured there will be pictures and the like once I've returned. I should decide pretty soon as to the books I wish to bring with me. Speaking of books, I'm wading back into French matters with a study of Stendhal, followed by a half dozen of his shorter pieces. I cannot recall why I so very much wanted to read up on this guy, but I think it has something to do with the Bourgeoisie vs. the Proletariat (of which I was reading a lot about several months ago). I'm a Prole, as far as I know, and I do not think there's any way I could be a Bourgeois. Not in this day and age.
Anyway, I've come to the end of this entry. Thanks and have a great day.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

10 years ago #3

May 4, 2001, morning
No dreams to report on this lovely spring morning. However, I do have something to say. First of all, I finished reading this **** book by Robertson Davies the other day. It was a wonderful and enlightening peak into a very distant past. Long-forgotten ancestors caught on film. It’s true that my ancestors lived and had thoughts just as I do. This fascinating book, “Murther & Walking Spirits”, opened up my eyes rather nicely. Robertson Davies was quite a remarkable author. Blessed Presence, ensure for an eternity that Davies is kept safe wherever he may be. Amen. Of course, Robertson Davies is not only thing on my mind. Since January, my nightly practice has been to read the works of Lord Byron. Since January, I have also looked for quotes from his works. I have four at presence. The quotes may not be that moralistic, but I wasn’t looking for morals. Anything that I found to be interesting. Lord Byron could really write. Here is a description of a beautiful woman. Bear in mind that I have trimmed this a little “…seen her long locks that fail the painter’s power; her fairy form with more than female grace…” Somehow, that description grabbed me. Here’s another quote I liked. Again I have trimmed this one. “…to teach man what he might be or he ought: If that corrupted thing could ever such be taught.” A condemnation of Humanity. Well, I’ve rambled on enough. I will close for now. SYS.

The Davies love lives on. I really should read more by Byron. Thanks for your time.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

On the Literary Front #8

I thought at first to pen a tender farewell letter, laden with wistful meanderings and softly bitter laments o'er unrequited love against my cruelly manipulative beast of a Muse. My core is neither soft nor innocent enough to have such leanings, however, and I'm not as heartbroken as I expected to be. Nothing lasts forever, and there may come a time when I will find myself again wrapped warmly in the Muse's powerful embrace and enchanting smiles. For now, I stand on the outside, journal and pen in hand, catching what pitiful scraps I may and doing what little scribbling that I can. Wow, I'm tearing up already. No, not really. Actually, driving home from dinner with the Parentals, I had a few thoughts about my ties to the Muse and how the ties were pretty much gone. I have spoken quite a bit in the past that I am a slave to the written word. Since the summer, I have pretty much given up on writing. All literary projects are stopped for the time being, since Inspiration and I are not in sync at all. Several false starts have gone nowhere, and I gave them up.
These literary projects. I have been in thrall to them since I was 13. Perhaps the Muse was just getting tired of guiding me through this or that story, knowing I have little talent or courage for follow through. This is a new theory, however, and I need time to examine it. Actually, I had another theory that came to mind the other night. Care to hear it? I could possibly be a mimic of some sort where writing is concerned. Throughout my childhood and my teens I read mostly Fantasy. A trilogy of novels (or novellas? Hard to say.) was born from these experiences. Then I started branching out, venturing into Mysteries and books on matters spiritual, as well as scores of classics. From this exploration came a Mystery story that might've gone well if I had not listened to the writer-in-residence for that year. For the last few years, I have been pretty deep in Philosophy and Spirituality, which kindled in me to write some sort of story. This has resulted in numerous false starts (a first draft of the first book is somewhere on my computer, I think) and frustration to spare.
The only literary project I have made much headway on is my Journal Project, where I have been typing my journals out and saving them to file. Someday I will not be able to read my handwriting, so it makes sense. This year or the next I'll be working on transcribing one of my journals from the early 00's. But I digress. I have come to understand that I may not have a whole lot of something inspired, but I can mimic very well. But a snag has risen. I have been reading a variety of genres these days, but nothing I can concentrate upon beyond musings in my diary, so there's little chance for mimicry. I have nothing as a result. This has been my piece on being a mimic and my final thoughts on the Muse. This is not to say that I am done with writing altogether. I still have blogging and my ongoing scribbles in this or that journal. And there may come a time when I have something original and inspired to say. Things happen in cycles, right? Thank you for your time.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

15 years ago #3

March 28, 1996 — morning
I slept very well the night after, if you wanted to know. We are now back in the ‘Peg. And guess what? Dad’s home for the week! Anyway, I am reading a French book right now, and I am enjoying it. No homework for Nat and I! Freedom! What to do, what to do . . . . I’ve taken to reading the Bible. I enjoy reading great classics. And if the Bible isn’t a classic, then what is? Life is good for me right now. But I wonder often what Heaven is like. Earlier in this diary, I wrote my thoughts about Heaven. I’d love to see what Heaven is like. Not yet, though. I can wait. At times I have fears that Heaven doesn’t exist. But the Bible reassures me of a Heaven existing. God be praised. I am a Catholic and I try always to serve the higher power faithfully. Every night I pray. I don’t mean to sound too proud, but I really think I pray more often than some people. People that brag about going (to) church are okay, as long as they try to do good during the week. Otherwise, they are hypocrites. May God make them repent! Well, I have to go. I have other things to do today. SYS!

Interesting how my thoughts have changed over time. Between this entry and the one from late May 1996 I apparently had nothing to say. Not surprising, as there are numerous gaps in my earlier diaries. Thanks for your time.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Thoughts on Da Finn

Having a third look at 'Phineas redux', and amazingly, I'm coming across things I either didn't see before or things that I saw before but only move me now. To say that Phineas has loved and lost is true a number of times over. He returns from 'Phineas Finn' seemingly back at Square One, and is back to dealing with political life and tons of unresolved sexual tension. His lovely and influential lady friends Madame Max and Lady Laura have their own problems but very much want to help him get back to a place of prominence. Lady Laura has a bigger problem than Madame Max, however. She chose the wrong guy and paid a fairly steep price for it. Now trouble's brewing between her, her estranged husband, and Phineas, who has the roughest time though he's more innocent than either of them. What drove this woman to first choose than leave her mate? What drove this man to lose her? Incompatible folks, but why should Phineas (the 'Other Man', on the other hand) be the one to get shot at? Apologies for any possible spoilers. It's a great book - better than 'Phineas Finn', although the latter is also a very good book.
Admittedly, the game between X and Y is quite the mystery to me, and will probably remain one for the rest of my days. Also, I fear that I will have to cut this entry short. Supper's calling me. I will doubtless make another Phineas-related post once I have come to the end of the book. BYE.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Delightful imagery and depraved savagery

That is Marlowe's 'Tamburlaine' in a nutshell. I so badly wanted him to be struck down, either by one of his equally terrible allies or by one of the opposing kings or soldiers. That's not Marlowe's game, but I knew that ahead of time. It still bugged me. Anyway, I got through 'Tamburlaine' and am now studying what the critics of the early 1900's thought of him. Tamburlaine reminds me of another depraved ruler in a similar time, and if you will forgive me, I am going to connect this fellow to 'Mahabharat'. King Kansa of Mathura wasn't actually in the 'Mahabharata', but the Chopras thought he would make a great addition to their massive saga story. Kansa was Krishna's monstrous uncle whose death was prophesied on the day Kansa's sister married his closest friend. It was foretold that Devaki would give birth to eight sons, and the eighth son would return to kill Kansa one day. Kansa quickly locked his sister and his friend up and proceeded to slaughter each child as it was born. Of course, Krishna escaped and went on to fulfill the sage's decree. Too bad such a death was not foretold of Tamburlaine. Okay, I'm done talking about 'The Mahabharata'. I seem to do that a lot. Back to 'Tamburlaine' and his unforgivable deeds.
Marlowe drew a variety of images from the dank tarn of his mind to craft a violent story that would rival the likes of Caligula, Herod the Great, or Ivan the Terrible. What's worse, his wife actually approved of what he was doing. His allies, dastardly kings themselves, were behind him all the way. I thought at first that they were just with him out of fear, and that when he met his end, they would turn against his successor. Maybe they would have, as Marlowe closed the story at Tamburlaine's passing. It takes a lot of charisma gone wrong to create such a legendary figure. Is Tamburlaine a man to be admired? His violent streak was not changed by his wife's passing, and surprisingly, I suspect she was the only one he ever really loved. She was greater than Helen, greater than Venus, and at her passing, he mourned bitterly before continuing his reign of terror. I guess it's better than some blood-thirsty fellows who would kill their entire family along with everyone else.
A scene from the saga got me thinking pretty hard. A rival king and queen are thrown into the dungeon. Rather than face an ignoble future, they commit suicide in one of the more horrible ways that I have ever heard of. It takes quite a bit of dedication to do what they did. And I had to wonder why they did it. Was it fear of being shamed? Maybe just cutting to the chase instead of languishing for months and years to come.  Hard to say. Anyway, that's what's been on my mind of late. Back to the critics I go. BYE.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Marlowe and Mejda

Should we lay laurels eternally upon Shakespeare's grave in humble thanks for the plays he wrote, or should we be looking to others? There has been an ongoing debate through history suggesting that Francis Bacon wrote some of Shakespeare's works and either attributed his efforts to the Legendary Bard or stole the fame for himself. Check it out in Wikipedia for more information. Anyway, I recently finished reading 'History Play' about Christopher Marlowe, writer of 'Tamburlaine' and 'Doctor Faustus'. Rodney Bolt has suggested that it was Marlowe who wrote the likes of 'Romeo and Juliet', 'Merchant of Venice' and turned them over to his assistant, one Wil Shaksper, to clean them up and have them ready for the actors. First off, Bolt has a few bony facts, which he clothes in alien flesh to create a unique little beast of a story. Very well-written and greatly enjoyable. In the distant past, when identification was not concrete and most folks signed their name with an X, who is to say what was true and what wasn't? Did Marlowe really die in a bar-fight? Was he a pawn instead? Did Shakespeare and Marlowe move in familiar circles enough that they knew each other? If interested, please have a look at this remarkable book.
Meanwhile, I've gotten back into watching 'Mahabharat' again. Episode 79 always makes me cry a little, thanks to its poignant scenes. This has little to do with 'Mejda', other than the fact that both 'Mahabharata' and 'Mejda' both came from India. I may have mentioned this book in previous posts, and if I have, I am going to mention it again today. It is said that the Buddha will come when the world has forgotten the Dharma. With all the sages of various shades emerging in writings from India, China, and Tibet, people are not likely to forget the Dharma for a while to come. That said, these sages all hearken from centuries ago, and are not familiar with the 20th century. 'Mejda' passed away in 1952, so he was no stranger to the evolution of society. I've just started reading this book (although I read it last year and will probably read it again in two years' time) but after I've gotten more into it, I will doubtless make some mention of it later.
It's April Fools' Day, but more importantly, it's my Grandma's birthday as well. She would've been 84 years old today. Rest well, Grandma. You are dearly and deeply missed. Anyway, I guess this post is done. BYE.

Monday, March 28, 2011

So-mo for Spring Break

At least, for the first official day of it. Actually, I'm getting a landline installed today. Amazingly exciting, I know. It's just a matter of flicking a switch and there you go, but it might take some time before someone thinks to flick said switch, so I'm keeping busy indoors today. I've got an awesome Let's Player and his friends to watch, Herbie Hancock whirling away in my computer, and a book about Christopher Marlowe to read through. If the dial tone comes to life early enough in the day, I'll take a trip to the library and do a quick book exchange. For what it's worth, I finished reading a bio on Marcel Proust last night. It took some plowing through, more than usual considering that it was not a very thick book. Maybe it was just old and musty enough to drive the will to read from me. Maybe it was the author's style I found hard to work with. If I do decide to read about Proust again, I think I'll try a different bio. On the other hand, I did pull at least one quote from this odd little book, and I came across something that rubbed me the wrong way enough that I would like to address it here.
Proust suffered from asthma and other respiratory problems for most of his life, and the technology was not in place to ensure a long and healthy life for him as it is now. However, in 1958, the cause of asthma had to be better-known than what the author seemed to think. Who in their right mind would claim that asthma is a psychosomatic illness due to separation anxiety? Proust might've been among the great mama's boys of history, but I cannot for a second believe that being without his mother and other comforts would lead to breathlessness and the like. Based on the little I know about asthma (which I admit is not a lot), Proust would've had more to fear from having the fire in the wood stove going day and night through rain and shine, which he did quite a bit. Surely the author would have done some research and would've made the right connection. Anyway, that early tidbit in the book did bug me a touch, but I've said it and now am ready to move on.
The Marlowe book I am going to start soon is called 'History Play: the lives and afterlife of Christopher Marlowe'. Admittedly, my inner geek is already hard at work pulling together as much as I can find concerning this guy. Can a geek live within a nerd? Interesting question. I have the rest of the week to puzzle through this one. Nerds have been pretty cool for a little while now - just ask that Let's Player I seem to mention a lot lately. Okay, time to move on before this turns into an ad for the dude. Thanks and BYE for now.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Marlowe thoughts and Barchester business

What makes a good villain? Do most villains know they are villains? Based on the number of antagonists I have observed in everything I have read, the answer is no. Really, the only villains I have come across who knew they were on the wrong side can be found in 'The Mahabharata'. Drona and Bhishma were on the wrong side and not only did they know it, they accepted it. They didn't like it, but they accepted it. There's also the Joker from 'Batman', to a lesser extent. Maybe he knew he was in the wrong, but I doubt he ever cared about that, since he stood for gaining control through whatever means necessary. His favoured weapon was chaos, and he employed that weapon every chance he had. I know precious little about Joker in the 'Batman' canon for real, so if I'm 'wrong', please let me know. I'm dwelling upon villains lately thanks to a lovely little book by Charles G. Masinton. 'Christopher Marlowe's tragic vision: A study in damnation' looks at the likes of Tamburlaine and Doctor Faustus, seeing where they went wrong and why. Definitely makes me want to read 'Tamburlaine' and 'Doctor Faustus' now. I've read Goethe's 'Faust' but I suspect Marlowe's take on it is much darker. 
Another excellent 'selling the soul to the Devil' story is 'The sorrows of Satan' by the magnificent Marie Correlli, but I have not read it lately, so I'll skip talking about it. One more digression before I move on. Robertson Davies (God rest his soul eternal!) wrote a great short story called 'When Satan goes home for Christmas'. Great ending to that story, by the way. Moving on now; I started reading 'Barchester Towers' by Anthony Trollope. I seem to recall that I wasn't very fond of the story the first time I read it. For some reason, this time I am enjoying it. Two of the villains are quarrelling at this point but the heroes aren't really happy either. Actually, I don't think there are any real heroes in this story thus far, although Trollope has labeled certain folks as heroes and others as villains. That's his right, I guess.
A week to go until Spring Break. Sigh......

Monday, March 14, 2011

Trollope, Mozart, and I Wanna Be the Guy

It has been more than a few days since I posted anything new, so I decided some updates were in order. I am now 31, and I am really not sure how I am supposed to feel about it. Just mentioning it suggests that I think it's pretty important. Not a milestone like last year's birthday, but there's something about being 31 that stirs the imagination, though for good or for ill, I cannot say. I suspect I will have more to say on my 35th birthday, but that's not for another few years. 35 is something of a milestone as well, I imagine. 31 just makes me feel like I've completely left young adulthood behind and have taken my first steps squarely into true adulthood. Does that make sense? When do I reach the plateau of middle age? Will I need to be 35 for that to happen? I was depressed about turning 20, for it meant saying goodbye to my childhood, but now I'm not so fixated on that. Some people never get over that loss. For some people, turning 30 is depressing, for you're saying farewell to your 20's. I never had that problem, and I'm grateful for that.
Meanwhile, I've gone back to 'Phineas Finn'. There is something about this book that I love enough to visit several times. Maybe I'll end up buying myself a copy when this is done. We'll see. Considering how little I like the fox-hunts Trollope seems to put into every book, I like reading about Finn and his adventures. I want him to be successful. Likable characters make the book work. While I read, I've been listening to Mozart. Classical music certainly calms the soul, which makes it a good choice of something to listen to while playing certain games, which leads me to I Wanna Be the Guy, or IWBTG in short form. Think the deadliest, more difficult 8-bit game you have ever played and take it up ten notches. That is IWBTG - everything kills your character and all you can do is trial-and-error until you make it. For some Let's Players, this game is maddening. The videos are hilarious, by the way.
So that is my life in a nutshell. Back to Phineas Finn I go. BYE.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Not much doin' these days

I've been doing a fair bit of gaming lately, and this has cut big time into my contemplation of the world as I see it. I have, however, been exploring Chaucer and his impressions upon society. Nothing too light and plenty to give me pause for thought. Over the past couple of days, the book has been E. Talbot Donaldson's 'Speaking of Chaucer'. The musty scent of age wafts from this book, but I have not cast it down in gagging horror. If it were thicker, I might think twice about going through it. It's made up of informative essays and if I'm really interested in it, I may revisit it next year. Speaking of books, I finished an account of the life of Red Cloud by James Redsky recently. Fascinating, but not something I wish to re-read next year. The language in the book relies too much on Xianity for me, but considering where Redsky was coming from, I shouldn't attack him too harshly. Residue from the residential schools. No, I am not going to share my two cents on that topic. Others in a better position have already spoken their minds there, and that works for me.
My diary entries have been shorter than usual as well, but I suspect that this is due to my cold, which has dwindled down to an annoying tickle at the back of my throat. It usually pops up when I'm talking with others or watching 'Mystery Science Theatre 3000', which I was doing this afternoon. Man, that show is insane! I love the comments Mike and the gang make concerning this or that movie. This afternoon's offering was a Xmas movie where one of Satan's devils tries to ruin things for Santa. Hilariously offensive (even before Mike and the bots got their hooks into it) stuff! Anyway, that's all I have for the time being. My B-day is within a week. Definitely moving into extreme old age now! C'est tout!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Fallen but not completely felled

Crossing my path on a chill Saturday night, like a thief it ransacked my health and bore away my powers of thought. Throughout Sunday I lay prone upon my humble futon, shivering and lamenting this unwelcome, yet not completely unexpected visitor. The schemer rapped at my forehead, pounded at my sinuses, scratched at my throat, and tickled my stomach into a hungerless frenzy that left me sparring with faint touches of nausea. Had it not been for the blessing of a three-day weekend, I would've had to drag my aching muscles to work a day early to suffer through my labours. Monday I felt strong enough to leave my warmly blanketed realm to get dressed and go grocery shopping for a few things. It's Wednesday now, and I've been to work two days in a row, though I have toyed with the idea of calling in sick. As it stands, my schedule for the last couple of days has been light enough for me to endure the merry dance of the common cold. I've reached the 3rd level of my oppressor's game, so to speak, and this is the ominous part of my yearly tango with this beast.
There's a tickle at the back of my throat, and without something to quell the cough, life is a noisy growl that threatens to strike me dumb for a little bit. I thought I had lost my voice this morning, but after a few sips of water I was fine enough to warrant going in today. If I do lose my voice tomorrow, I'll have to call in sick, and I would rather not do that. That's what's going on with me right now. Just got back from a visit with the parental units. They got back from Playa del Carmen on Saturday, and my Dad's already back in the bush. I've got plans to go to the library tomorrow and do a book exchange. Reading Trollope's 'The Warden'. The protagonist's a real pawn right now, caught between well-meaning but frustrating folk. That's all I am going to say about that.
I'll need to get some sleep tonight and drink as much orange juice as I can. Otherwise I forecast more lamenting on the morrow. BYE.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Live at Kurukshetra!

One of my literary forays took me through 'Bhagavad Gita as it is' recently. I read it maybe 4 or 5 years ago, but it was not until I watched the Chopra's "Mahabharat" that I really understood why Arjuna and Krishna were there and having this very important discussion. Krishna, the God of Gods, became flesh to transmit His words to the regular (and not so regular) mortals. Sound familiar? In this case, Arjuna was seriously unsure about going to war against his cousins, teachers, and his most beloved grandsire Bhishma. It took a great deal of cajoling and commanding on Krishna's part to convince Arjuna that his part in the plan was necessary and that Evil had to be stopped; even if that meant all 100 of his dastardly cousins and millions on both sides died. Actually, now that I think of it, Jesus did the same through the Gospels. I seem to recall that he supposedly said 'I bring not peace, but a sword.' And how many millions have died since then? Similar, wot? Only the Battle at Kurukshetra is much more overt and early in the game. Also, Krishna didn't have to be crucified to get his point across. He just revealed his True Form to Arjuna and that took care of everything. My understanding is that Krishna died of old age and his whole family was later killed in a drunken bloodbath (Wikipedia shows the way!) But I digress.
Krishna transmitting His wisdom and commands to Arjuna makes for a fascinating read. Sometimes we face difficult ethical issues in life, and rather than shrivel up from indecision, sometimes it's better to make your decision and not worry about the result. This is not carte blanche to do terrible things in the name of Ethics, however. Here's an example. That soccer team that crashed in the Andes had a terrible ethical issue, and their agony must've been intense. Then the ones who were left made their fateful decision and it saved them. The only other example I can come up with right now is the Donner Party, but I've already got one example where cannibalism was the biggie, so I'll move on.
The Battle at Kurukshetra presents tons of ethical issues (and violations), with leaders breaking the Code of War left and right. With Krishna on the Pandavas' side these violations are apparently justified (debatable), and more often than not, it was the opposing side who broke the rules first. For a very insightful and wonderful read, I highly recommend 'Bhagavad Gita as it is'. Have a great day!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Idle weekend

Spent most of the weekend watching Let's Play vids and reading. Enjoying what distractions are available to me, after all. I've gone back to studying matters Sikh today with W.H. McLeod's 'Sikhism'. I would like to study Islam more, but I've never come across anything beyond the Qur'an (nothing really awesome like 'Mahabharata') that brings a lot of colour into it. If anyone out there has suggestions of such materials, PLEASE let me know! Much appreciated. Meanwhile, I finished reading more works by Katharine Kerr yesterday, and I plan to continue with her Deverry series soon enough. From matters Sikh to matters literary I'll eventually go with Paul Scott's 'On writing and the novel'. Don't know if I'm ready to re-read it, but it's on my list of stuff to re-read, and I'm a little anal that way. Word of warning; 'Phineas Finn' is also on my list of books to re-read, so expect at least one entry complaining about fox-hunts and the like. I've also got 'Bhagavad Gita as it is' warming up on my shelf. I've watched enough 'Mahabharat' to be familiar with Arjuna and Krishna and the legendary battle at Kurukshetra. I've read 'BG' once already, but it's a great excerpt from a masterful saga.
Let's Play vids have become quite a fascinating distraction for me. I bought 'Dragon Age: Origins' thanks to this one dude's LP videos. He had a great time playing the game, and word of mouth is still a driving force behind the success of a product. I won't say anything else concerning the game, as others have said much more and have doubtless said it better. I guess Youtube has become quite THE distraction in this wry spinster's life, but it's better than TV. There was a time when having cable was the big distraction (Night Court loved taking shots at the racy stuff one found on cable when only a handful of folks could afford cable). Good times, but far behind most of us now. Okay, enough whining o'er the past. I've got reading to do and LP vids to watch.
The parental units have gone on their annual vacation. I'm asking for pics of whatever libraries they find on their travels and for local music. Goes with my territory. So, I guess that's about it. Another time.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Muy frío!

Not as cold as it was last week, but cold enough to make me break out the long johns and thick socks. My heater's blower has been rather vocal over the past few days too, which has not sat well with me. It should warm up a bit tomorrow, and then get even warmer on Wednesday. Apparently there's a blizzard brewing in the States. I don't want to mock my southern neighbours, but I will if any governors decide to call out the army to do some shoveling. I scoffed when the folks in Toronto whined for help. Be strong, be fearless, grab that shovel and get out there! Makes me wonder what the snowblowers are like in various states. Hopefully strong enough to get the job done. Keeping warm here in the 'Peg with the legendary Rush and 'Test for echo'. I'm also reading D. Brin's 'The postman'. I like the premise and the story is well written. How did Costner butcher this story, anyway? I guess his dastardly touch was incredibly powerful then. Has Kevin Costner done any decent movies since 'Prince of thieves'?
Of course, some folk would say that Costner butchered that movie as well, and it was only Bryan Adams who could save it with that incredible song. I swear, that was THE song of 1991-1992. Just like Richard Marx's 'Right here waiting' was THE song of 1989-1990. All the girls taking piano in my Fourth Grade class were hammering away at that song. Phil Collins' 'Another day in paradise' and anything by Paula Abdul were also fine draws for classroom parties. There was also Salt n'Pepa's 'Push it', which snuck past the teacher's censor. I wouldn't have known what they were singing anyway when I was 9. I know now, and it gives me a mighty guffaw when I think about it. Speaking of Rush, I first learned about these fine fellows back in 1991 with 'Roll the bones'. Some of the best rap my lily-white ears had ever heard. The thinking man's rap, maybe? It has been said that Rush is the thinking man's rock band. Feel free to challenge me on that, by the way.
The weather can get warmer, as long as the sky does not decide to unleash another two tons of snow upon the hapless heads here at home. They just did the streets AGAIN (there goes next year's snow removal budget!) and I don't think the 'Peg needs any more snow. Meanwhile, I'm getting back into watching 'Law & Order' (anything after the 1st five seasons matters little to me). Chris Noth was so yummy in those days. Ah, time does ravage the photogenic! Well, that's about all. BYE.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

10 years ago... #2

January 25, 2001 evening

Mr. Schneider is relaxing next to me and I am feeling a lot better since my last entry. The book de la semaine is “The Cunning Man” by Robertson Davies and, so far, this book is deserving of ✰✰✰. The man certainly knew what was what. May God be with him, wherever he may be now. “Salem Possessed”, by the way, earns ✰✰✰½, for I felt that it was a trifle too dry for 4 ✰’s. I would have liked some sort of color in the book. “The Cunning Man” has all the color that “Salem Possessed” did not. What was I reading about this time last year? №2 on the latest list. That book that got ✰✰✰✰✰. A fine book, and one that many others have read numerous times. Will I read it again? Perhaps, but a year is just too soon. After all, I did not open that “Californian” book for five years. There was a reason I did not open that book, I guess. Well, I really hate to have to cut this entry down and off. However, there are some things I must do. Until then, SYS!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Music, books, weather, ARGH!

My present literary journey is another grueling foray into Hegel, and this time, while the writing is not as dull, the book seems pretty insurmountable, and I have to have it back in a few days. I swear, after I finish this entry, I'm going to bury myself in Sexsmith and the Arkells and read for a couple of hours. Some people say that Sexsmith is one depressing dude. Not the most photogenic dude around, but certainly not depressing. Been messing around with my satellite radio recently, and thought I had something good with a blues/jazz station, but I couldn't hear the music over the roaring heater. Bitterly cold weather in the 'Peg of late, but the temp actually rose to -18 today, up from -11 (which does not make sense unless we're dealing with what Environment Canada calls an adverse weather trend - I think). At least the blowing snow warning is done. Whew!
The days are getting visibly brighter, and I'm grateful for that. There was a time when I relished walking through the snow in -30 weather, embracing the morning's darkness and the softly falling snow. That was when I rode a bus to get to University. Now I drive and I'm not as grateful for the indigo darkness of a wintry dawn. Been doing a lot of shivering, actually. Meanwhile, I'm trying to get through Peter Kalkavage's 'The logic of desire' and the going is not all that good. The publishing company's name makes me chuckle a little, considering the occasionally arid quality of what I'm reading. Not the fault of Paul Dry Books that this book lives up to the company's name. Have to wonder what kind of fun Mr. Dry went through as a young man. Anyway, I'm trying to get through this study of Hegel's 'Phenomenology of spirit' and it's rubbing me the wrong way for some reason. It's not the quality of the writing or that I'm having a hard time following the logic - I guess my Semi-Buddhist Eyes are focusing nicely these days, and that's the problem.
The consciousness making its way to full and total realization, becoming the self and firmly existing in the world as we know it. Doesn't that fly in the face of all the Buddhism I've studied? That's not what it's all about though, right? If that is what is bothering me, that's not the author's fault. Time to do some reconciling of my feelings. It's also time I got back to reading this behemoth of a book. Ron Sexsmith has reached the second-last track. 'Retriever' is not my favourite album, but I get a kick out of 'Whatever it takes' and 'From now on'. Time to get back to the grind.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

15 years ago... #2

January 7, 1996 — mid-morning
Today is the last day before school. With two weeks away from exams, some fears are rising. But these are small fears; none to worry too much about. I’ve been doing some thinking about what we call yesterday, today, and tomorrow. We all know yesterday to be the days gone by, today as the 24 hours we have now, and tomorrow as the days before us. We also know that yesterday can never be seen again, and that tomorrow becomes today; it can’t be seen in its form as tomorrow. But, in my point of view, today is the time itself. Each second of life is today. Ex. This diary has entries from yesterday. But if we were to think that each word written is a word of yesterday, well, that would make the time between the writing of each word ‘today’. Interesting thought, that. Well, like I said earlier, today is the last day of school. With exams coming up, there is cause to worry, but as I have experience with exams, worry isn’t there. Bad news; while we were in PLAP, on the way home, --- slipped and hurt HER tailbone. Uh Oh! Two hurt tailbones! --- wants to stay home during the week and miss school. Mom says that we’ll take it one day at a time. If --- stays home, I’ll have to stay home as well; --- can’t stay home all by herself. With exams and revising, I’ll be busy; I can’t stay home. It all depends on what Mom says tomorrow. Well . . . SYS!