Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Black People Love Us!


http://www.blackpeopleloveus.com/index.html

I came across this site today when a friend posted it on facebook. It tackles racial stereotypes in a humorous way and the examples it provides reflect the reality that many people do broadly categorize others into specific categories based on race, and in their friendships relate to others as members of a specific community, rather than as individuals.

So many people aren't willing to talk about things like this, in fear of offending someone, and most people certaintly aren't willing to joke about it, as people could easily take what they are saying the wrong way. There are so many different ways to address and discuss issues, and humour certaintly shouldn't but disregarded as an option. Humour is generally a more dangerous route to take, as is anything even remotely abstract, since some people don't bother trying to actually look beyond what is evident at first glance and try to interpret what is meant.

This site is quite obviously a joke, and I was surprised (well, actually I wasn't) that some people found it offensive, and it somehow didn't occur to them that the site was actually satire addressing the very issues that they are offended by.

Using humour to address sensitive issues widens your audience and allows you to present your point of view in a way that puts people at ease and doesn't try to make them feel guilty. You might offend someone, but I would certaintly think that offending someone is of less consequence than ignoring an issue simply because no one wants to bring it up.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Paper, paper on the wall

Here is a peice of paper that has been stuck to my wall for 3 days now, without tape or anything holding it up.



I have lists of work that I need to do each week for school pinned to my wall, and as I generally never finish everything in a week I usually have several lsits going at once. I had two peices of paper pinned together to the wall, the pin and the top sheet of paper fell down, and the peice of paper underneath it has stayed there, without falling, for 3 days now. It seems to simply have sealed itself to the wall. Which initially made me think that maybe you don't actually need to use anything to make paper stick to the wall, so I pressed another sheet against the wall to see if it would stay and it obviously didn't..why one small event would momentarily change my perception based on experience my whole life that you need to use tape, a pin/tack, etc. to stick paper to a wall, I don't know. Which made me think that maybe our perceptions of reality aren't all that concrete in our brains, and maybe many truths that we know to be hard facts can be shifted and changed by a matter of mere small events. Maybe even just one event can undo something we have known to be true our entire lives..

Anyway, I thought it was pretty awesome that this peice of paper is still rocking out solo on the wall..lets see how long it stays up for.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

No Matter

It doesn’t matter who you are
No matter what you do
Or where you are
If you’re living life with passion
You’re doing something right

If you’re savouring every moment
Like a refreshing bite of melon
And letting its juices run down your face

In contentment of the moment
And in eager anticipation of the future
Then you’re at a moment in time
That exists for you

It is your element
So choose well, or not well
It doesn’t matter.
Just don’t wipe the juices from your face.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Either way, stop worrying and enjoy life



Some people have been distressed over ads on the TTC that proclaim "There probably is no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy life." I believe that all religions should be able to exist free of discrimination, but don't have a problem with this ad and don't find it particularly offensive.

Anyone that has more than an ounce of faith isn't going to abandon God because of these ads, and the message isn't really making an attack on people of faith or their beliefs, its more so (in my interpretation) addressing people who are unsure of whether there is a God and are worried / fearful about the prospect. The TTC accepted the ad because they allow religious advertising, showing that they are willing to accept some minor backlash in order to do what they felt was right in a secular society. Atheism should be accepted and tolerated just as religion in its many forms should. I find that in efforts amongst faith groups to embrace the religious beliefs of others, Atheists are often left out. Also, many atheists are openly against ALL religion, and may do so in the name of human rights, citing the many problems that religion causes in the world. But those problems are really caused by specific interpretations of religious teachings. Religion can be an important part of culture, and in being intolerant of a person's religious beliefs, you are subjecting them to discrimination. In large doses often this leads to the oppression of specific faith groups.

The United Church of Canada (which is the denomination that I grew up in and still associate with) has launched the counter ad pictured above. The ad was intended to include both atheists and people of monotheistic faiths, and create discussion amongst both groups, but I find that it also provides a link between the two different views and shows that our ideas aren't all that different. Some people don't sweat the small things because they don't believe in God, and aren't worried that a higher power with punish their actions. Others don't sweat the small things because they do believe in God, and know that God will take care of them and keep them safe, so they aren't as worried about the details of day to day life. Some people who don't believe in God worry a lot, and feel that they are responsible for every little detail of their life, and feel panicked when things go wrong. Some people who do believe in God worry a lot as well, and feel that they need to do everything right in order to please God and fear punishment if they do not meet certain ideals.

So if people of faith and people of no faith are both feeling the same emotions, tensions, and levels of anxiety, then maybe it isn't really religion or lack thereof that is causing these things. Maybe it is a state of mind / personality type that people have, and they interpret their beliefs into it.

Speaking personally, I generally don't worry about things and trust God to take care of me. I believe in fate and have found that when things seem like they couldn't be worse, a sudden turn will change my perspective on what is happening and as things resolve and work out, I understand the reasons why things happened the way they did, and often it was for the better.

I like the dual advertisement, because it brings forth the message that whether or not you believe in God, you should stop worrying and enjoy your life. There are reasons to do so under both attitudes towards religion, and its a positive message for anyone who needs a reason to relax.

Pigott Building






Noticed this pretty building in Hamilton the other day..the entrance is very elaborate and ornate, couldn't get further into the building though. I later found out it was the first skyscraper in Hamilton! I didn't even see a view of the entire building, I just payed attention to some details..will go back later and inspect the outside in its entirety.

Monday, March 23, 2009

burned out flames




the matches were all used over several years and were not just burned for this pic..

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Pope's stance on AIDS

The Pope says condoms not answer to fighting AIDS

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20090317.wpope0317/BNStory/International/home

I am quite disturbed by this statement, not because of any personal views but because of the severe consequences this can have on the battle against AIDS. Progress can be seriously hindered and the situation could get potentially worse, all because of one religion’s biased interpretation of ethics. The statement that condoms “increase the problem” is downright false, and we already have far too much false sexual health information circulating around areas that are heavily infected with AIDS. Yes, maybe condoms are not THE solution, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t PART OF the solution, and we need as many mechanisms at work as possible to combat a disease as widespread as this.

I personally think the pope is a good person with good intentions, and of course he would not want to make a public statement that supports the use of something which the Catholic church has a general consensus against, but he must take into consideration the impact of his statements, and how powerful his voice is to those who take him seriously.

Abstinence only sex education clearly does not work, and I don’t know why the Catholic church can’t just get over itself and accept this. It is irresponsible to prepare youth with insufficient knowledge when you know that they may not accept and follow your teachings. To blindly teach the same ineffective curriculum year after year not only doesn’t make sense, but it shows that you clearly do not have the ability to evolve and keep up with current social situations, which means you are incompetent to be teaching youth.

It is positive that the Catholic Church is helping with the AIDS situation in Africa (although I am generally suspicious of all religious-based aid or development), but to really help, they must keep up with modern health standards rather than trying to impose their own moral standards on communities of people. Anyone can just go to Africa and tell people that if they don’t want to get aids they shouldn’t have sex, but that is a judgemental and unreasonable request that people aren’t likely going to follow through with. It doesn’t give people the knowledge or tools to make their own informed choices; it presents them with only one decision which has already been made for them, and if they don’t follow this decision, they don’t have the knowledge to protect themselves in other ways. I encourage abstinence to be taught alongside other alternatives, and can even be emphasized, but it should never be taught alone, as that does not fully educate the person and leaves them vulnerable and lacking in information.

This type of biased help is similar to conditional aid, in which a country or institution will lend money to another country in need, but in order to get the money they must follow a set of conditions, which often means making changes to their economic structures and government. This gives the lender power over them, and means that in order to get much needed money, they must give up some of their own independence and follow the rules of someone that doesn’t necessarily know what is best for them.

The pope is basically saying “I’ll help you, but we’re going to do it my way”, rather than looking at what would actually be best for the people of sub-Saharan Africa and have the most effective results to prevent AIDS.

I’m hopeful that the nurses, doctors and volunteers that are actually working directly with people will use their own common sense and make a far less selfish decision when directing help towards people.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Food Photography

This year I've started taking pictures of meals and snacks that I've made. I've done this for a couple of reasons:
-to take time to think about and appreciate what I am eating
-to have a visual reference to remember things I've made in the past (I don't generally use recipes)
-to try out a new type of photography (I've actually found it quite challenging to get suitable lighting, its hard with some types of lighting to get a shot where the food actually looks appetizing.)







I just noticed that all but one of these pictures feature chickpeas..strange, considering that I don't eat them all that often.

Tomato Chickpea stew



A super easy meal I made yesterday and today. I wouldn't really call this a recipe, but just a meal idea I guess. It doesn't take long at all to make and is a complete meal. Couscous only takes 5 minutes to make, and the stew takes 10-15 minutes.

Simmer:
canned herbed tomatoes (with sauce)
fresh tomato (optional)
onion
olive oil
chickpeas (cooked or canned)
orange pepper
basil, any other herbs
garlic
ground flax (optional)

serve over whole wheat couscous (way quicker to make than rice)

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Falling Water


Just did a new painting..acrylic on canvas.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Searching for Today

Trying to find something that is new,
I shift through crumbling rubble.
Wood creaks and cracks and moans,
I continue to search with much trouble.

Everything is old and comforting,
But I know it isn't safe.
It could fall apart at any moment,
But it might be my saving grace.

An old man wanders slowly by,
And pauses for a minute.
"Are you looking for something you lost" he asks
I could help you if you need it.

I stop and smile and think for a second
No, I reply, there isn't anything lost
But something that is waiting to be found
I can feel it now, it must be near.

Amidst this pile
Of rubble and rust
I have found what I was looking for
It isn't the past, nor is it the future
Its the present, loud and clear.

taking chances

My stomach churns
Yet I am at peace
My heart is yearning
but I don't know what to do.

Why is sometimes what you want
The hardest thing to know
When your appetite is craving
But your mind says take it slow

People try to sell me rationale
I don't know what to do
I sometimes wish everything were easy
But then life would be boring too.

I'm ready to take chances
but what kind of chances should I take
A chance that isn't remotely safe
Isn't a choice I'm willing to make

So I just float on day by day
Waiting for something new
But everything always stays the same
Maybe this time will be different too

I hope I wish I deny I don't know
How far this life is willing to go
I want to do amazing things
So I take chances, I spread my wings

Sometimes nothing is ever enough
But I dive in, jump off the bridge
The water is icy
But the shore's not too far.

Kensington

Went to Kensington again on Tuesday..love the health food stores there. Aren't these colourful houses just great?



Monday, March 2, 2009

T.O.




Song for Tim Hortons


They say that Tim Hortons
Is all about community.
Then why are the independants
Struggling to compete?

Inside each Tim Hortons
Everythings the same.
I see no art, culture, diversity
No reflection of this place we call home.

Let's leave these white walls
and go outside,
What do I see?
Paper cups, littering the street.

They say that it tastes good,
They say that its cheap.
But its not fair trade,
and the trade rules aren't fair.

Behind the counter
Works minimum wage.
So who is benefitting,
And who is in despair?

Beyond these city walls,
The landfills fill up
With these stupid, wasteful
Disposable cups.

What's that I hear?
A tree being felled?
No one was there to hear it,
No one cares that its gone
Now it holds people's drinks
Thats why we sing this song.

So let us be rooted in this place we call home
Let us reflect and sing
Of its sweet diversity
Let us enjoy our community
But remember those,
that harvest our beans.

Join me on an adventure,
Let's walk down the street
And sit in this place,
That's here for you and me.

An 'independant' coffee shop
Each one is unique
It holds local events
Supports artists and more

The coffee's fair trade
Its grown in the shade
Of course it's organic
We wouldn't have it any other way.

So bring your own mug, and
LET'S LEAVE THIS MONOCULTURE BEHIND