Sunday, January 30, 2011

Speaking of community activities...

Speaking of community activities and initiatives we are fortunate to have (see my blog entry), here's one just from this weekend's issue of the Guelph Tribune.

St. John Bosco school, in conjunction with the Student Success Program as mandated by the Ontario Ministry of Education, has a powerful mission" "to help students, especially the most vulnerable and marginalized students, to graduate from high school."

Fresh insights

For political insights/humour junk junkies, check this out. Fresh and unabridged, unadulterated, but well-thought out.

Surprise, surprise...but it shouldn't be...not really. A call for a re-education and a renewed appreciation for others.

The way the mainstream media makes it out to be, the wave of protests sweeping across the Middle East comes across as a huge surprise, a shock, if you will. That's because the region has been viewed by many through the narrow tunnel vision of Islamic terrorism and it's perceived threat to global "security". Such a view serves the purpose of the self-interests of Western governments heavily entangled in the agenda of multi-national corporations such as the agri-business firms, the arms merchants, and the oil industry. 
WE, as the citizens of the West are not blameless. Through sheer laziness, lack of empathy, and varying states of denial, we fail to think that 99 percent of the population in the region are real, life-and-blood humans just like you and I, with the same dreams and aspirations for themselves and their children: education, food on the table, a sense of security.
It is never too late to reeducate ourselves and  to refresh our world view. For some of us, this is just a reminder. For most of us, this idea of reeducation will be a 180-degree turn. Only when we move out of our comfort zone, out of our "living-room" if you will, cross the street and enter a stranger's home, will we understand what is happening around the world today.

I suggest going on the following painless and literally free 7-step  regimen:
#1. Cancel your cable subscription: it is much too expensive anyway and there is absolutely nothing worth watching.
#2. Speaking of empty calories,  avoid picking up the "free" tabloid rags handed out on the street and available in their own paper dispensers. These papers are devoid of substantial content. Pick them up if you need hard-core toilet paper or are shopping for a stereo system.
#3. Start reading the Globe and Mail (it's free online). Subscribe if  you can to help keep the flow of news flowing.
#4. Tune in to the BBC, Deutsche Wella, and Aljazeera.
#5. Look into It will offer you a glimpse on your brothers and sisters across the world. Learn how skipping a couple of Big Mac meals could potentially make a world of difference to somebody else on the other side of our world.
#6. Drop by your local Indigo-Chapters and take advantage of the free browsing section of the magazines. Check out The Economist, The Walrus, etc. Keep the place uncluttered and ocasionally buy a magazine to "pay" for your browsing.
Alternatively, drop by your local public library. You will have the added benefit of meeting new Canadians, job-seekers using the free online services, people seeking shelter from the cold, and the occasional person who hears "voices". Real people whom, in their vulnerability, are more real. Once again, membership is free and the magazine selection is quite comprehensive.
#7. And finally, read every section of your local community paper, esp the comunity news and activities. It will remind you of how fortunate (lucky?) you are to be alive and well in Canada. Realizing how fortunate you are is the first step on the road to sharing your good fortune!

Just my 5 cents worth.

Friday, January 28, 2011

iPhone Diaries #299: "Thai-style haddock and banana curry with peanuts"

Substituted the halibut (as called for but only seasonally available) with haddock and the photo above doesn't look like the studio-managed cookbook shot but it was as delicious as intended.
Well-shaken canned coconut, Thai red curry paste, medium lime, medium scallions (green onions), barely ripe banana, salted roasted peanuts, fresh cilantro, Kosher saalt. Served on a bed of President's Choice Basmati rice.
The route to a man's heart is through his true! 
Jan 24th

Sunday, January 23, 2011

There's a new blog in town...everybody's talking 'bout the new blog in town...

Pick a quiet time in your day, savour it, let it melt in your mouth, sip it slowly like vintage Madeira... think Cartier-Bresson with a touch of humour and a sense for the absurd.

iPhone Diaries #298: "Quinoa salad with apples, walnuts, dried cranberries, and guoda"

Cooked organic quinoa, diced fresh fennel, celery, apple, dried cranberries, diced Gouda cheese, chopped walnuts, red onions cooked in balsamic vinegar, arugula, drenched in olive oil and sherry vinegar, sea salt. Active ingredient: Love.
Jan 23rd.

iPhone Diaries #297 and Book Review: "Listening to Grasshoppers" by Arundhati Roy

Billed as the largest democracy in the world, India is a cautionary tale as to how the combination of nationalism (Hindu) and neo-liberal economic reforms in order to conform to the ideals of Western-style  democracy can lead to murderous and disastrous results.  Cautionary because the dangers that a divided and polarized legislative branch, coupled with an increasingly unaccountable judiciary and an impotent executive branch are becoming evident in the world's largest true (or closest to the ideal) democracy: the United States of America.
Furthermore, the conscious collusion between large corporations and the media, coupled with the "like-lambs-to-slaughter" mentality of the general population results in the rise of fascist-like, if not outright fascist sentiments. In this milieu, wanton environmental destruction and the accompanying population displacement is deemed as an economic necessity, micro-genocide (thousands murdered as opposed to six million) is considered justifiable, even acceptable. The so-called "emerging middle-class", invariably a very small percentage of the population, lives in a cocoon, in a separate nation within the bigger nation. The near monopoly on ideas by the colluding parts of the media feeds the gullible population what it wants to see and hear, while the government hands out (sells?) essential components of the national bounty.
Arundhati Roy exposes, for the Western-centered reader like myself who usually goes by what the mainstream media talks about, the underpinnings of a so-called "emerging" democratic and economic colossus and exposes it for what is: shaky,  unreliable, and not to be trusted. The Western world wants to see a democratic and prosperous India, "damn the torpedoes" as the cliche goes.
The book is a collection of essays written from 2002 to 2008, beginning with the state-backed massacre of Muslims in Gujarat (2002) to the 2008 uprising in Kashmir as well as the 2008 attacks in Mumbai. The ensuing investigations, trials, and judgements make for a truly scary tale.

iPhone Diaries #296: "Seen on a T-shirt"

on the back...
and on the front.
Sweatshop-Free Manufacturing,
Eco-Friendly Fabrics,
50% of profits to Free the Children,
"you buy a tee and we will plant a tree".
Jan 23rd.

iPhone Diaries #295: "On the night stand"

Jan 22nd.

Friday, January 21, 2011

iPhone Diaries #294: "If it is Naturally Beautiful..."

If tea is supposed to be naturally beautiful, then why does it have to be fucked with by being soya-ed, latte-ed, sweetened, or flavoured? Jan 21st.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

New blogger in town

From the perspective of 21-year-old socially-engaged University student, still uncontaminated by the tired and old viewpoints.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Monday, January 17, 2011

iPhone Diaries #292: "Clearing the pathway at ClearPath"

This is the time of year when people are most conscious of path- and walk-way accessibilities... snow and ice are always a concern. But not today... it's a Sunday and the office is closed. Jan 16th.

iPhone Diaries #291: "4 Bills"

Construction site, Elizabeth and Bay. It's interesting to note that these spots were the only areas not papered over with posters. Jan 7th.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Guerilla filmmaker
Andrew Wonder is a gutsy genius (more so are his subjects). Love the throwing up before a parkour routine (nothing routine about jumping between two buildings). 
Andrew uses a Canon.

Aljazeera on the iPhone

"Discovered" the Aljazeera iPhone app (free from the iTunes Store). Excellent global coverage, balanced reporting and high production values place this network on the same elevated status as the BBC (Great Britain), Deutsche Welle (Germany), and the CBC (Canada), imho. Provides a much needed balance to the North American diet of the three networks and CNN. Supplies the news from both a global (read: non-American) perspective as well as from a Middle Eastern perspective, which is sorely lacking in North America (well, it's there but it requires a bit more effort to access).
Much like the BBC, Deutsche Welle, and the CBC, Aljazeera seems emphatic in its content and delivery, in sharp contrast to the North American tendency to  engage in navel-gazing narcissism. 

iPhone Diaries #290: "A fine mess"

"Fine" as in snow as fine as sifted flour. Sub-zero temperatures and this type of precipitation equals slow driving and slogging through the streets. Corner of University and Elm, Jan 12th.

iPhone Diaries #289: "Cold pigeons"

Pigeons huddled and in from the cold just inside the entrance to the underground walkways on Queen by the Sheraton Hotel. Jan 12th. 

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Shoe shines and low cut tops

On Toronto's underground walkway (PATH) that links 28 km of shopping, services, and entertainment, is a shoe-shine stand that seats three (usually men). The shoe-shiner-ess, a lady, has the best sales tool: she wears a low-cut top.

Overheard at the Tim's on Gordon

A father and his 8 year-old son are sitting at a Tim's at around 9 pm, both having hot chocolates, the son having a cruller. The father gestures towards a group of teenagers saying, "when you're older like those kids, you won't want to come home early... you'll want to hang around your friends".
The son looks into his cruller, takes a sip of chocolate, and replies, "nah, I don't think so. I think I'll still hang around with you Dad, only I'll be paying for the hot chocolate".
True story!
Tim Horton's at Gordon and Kortright, Guelph. Jan 3rd.

iPhone Diaries #288: "Winter wasteland"

Parking lot at the Georgetown GO train station, after the last train has left the station. Jan 10th.