28 January 2005

Baby dreams

In my final year of undergraduate classes at UVic I had a theory. It should have been written as a psychology paper, but since I was in a creative non-fiction course, it was a writing prof that told me I wasn't functioning with all cylinders. I wrote a paper about baby dreams interviewing women between the ages of 18 and 24 and quoting excerpts from their accounts.

Since around age 18 to present day, I have had dreams about being pregnant, giving birth and caring for small infants. Some are bland, yet lucid, others are surreal, half-remembered. Rooted in the knowledge that both biological clocks (for puberty, waking up, etc.) and dreams consist of electrochemical activity in the brain, I suggested that dreams about babies could be a by-product, not of a repressed subconcious desire to procreate, but of interacting impulses in a woman's grey matter. My theory requires the concession that another theory about a female reproductive biological clock actually exists - not proven as far as I know. I'm not a neuropsychologist or scientist or any other professional interested in gathering empirical data so the theory died with that paper. But I remember it every time I have a baby dream - like I did last night.

25 January 2005

Gay marriage in Canada

My boyfriend and I have always taken for granted that we'd be able to get married just as soon as we were ready. It's our decision to make and we're free to do so. But if my partner didn't have a penis, I wouldn't have this freedom. I don't think I'd be okay with that.

It seems to me that recent debate in Canada around gay marriage has been an effective way to reveal how individuals really feel about gay people. Rather than listening to political verbal waltzes, I've been turning an ear to the conversations around me. I heard a young girl at my office say that marriage is a religious ceremony and therefore should be restricted to heteros. So I can't get married unless I'm a straight devoted church goer? Who's side do you think I'm on? She went on to say - almost verbatim Stephen Harper's statement - that she did believe that they should have some legal union that would allow them tax benefits and inheritance. I'm sure gays everywhere are falling down grateful. I told her that, aside from the fact that I've known religious people who were also gay, marriage in Canada and the Western Hemisphere ceased to be religious as soon as civil services became popular.

I could see in her eyes that she was sizing up just how much of a sinner and sexual deviant I could potentially be. It makes me sad that this girl feels that way because statistically, there are likely to be many more of this persuasion. Rather than thinking, "I'm glad I'm not gay," I'd rather tell people, "It may not be hate, but it's an insulting way of stating that gays aren't equal to tell them they can't get married like every other person."

24 January 2005

I love T-shirts!

And Siri Agrell's article on T-shirts as a vehicle for personal expression - pop culture to politics - is pretty cool too.

  • The Clothes Make the Man

  • 19 January 2005

    Set up to fail

    Impossible standards and unatainalbe goals can be boiled down to an amount of time a mortal person wishes to spend pursuing something. Especially in the case of assignments or projects that have no impact or consequences. In my experience, if somebody sends me looking for a needle in a haystack, sometimes I come back with a needle shaped piece of hay. Good enough?

    18 January 2005

    Electronic social lives

    I recently read an article in Bitch magazine titled, "Dear Female Friendship Culture". The author laments her lack of a tight circle of friends and I sympathize with her. She criticized Sex and the City for portraying quality and quantity of friendships as a measurement of personal worth. I don't think Sarah Jessica Parker has the market cornered in pressuring us to bond with our peers. But this isn't an individual problem. It's not a matter of a few uncool people having turned into friendless losers. The fact that you’re reading this blog, whether you know me or not, indicates a shift in the way we socialize. Dialogue that takes place electronically didn't exist in my younger coffee shop days. It seems common for 20 and 30 something adults to experience a depressing disconnection from their social lives whether the cause is career, family or other. Many of our acquaintanceships and friendships now exist in intangible transmissions and white noise. The need for human contact can and will never be completely fulfilled on-line.

    14 January 2005

    Canadian cold

    There's nothing else like it. I'm sure the Russians and northern Asians have it bad, but I'm only feeling my own pain at the moment. Car won't start. Supplementing inadequate heat with the oven and ceiling fan. Feel like crap and only get relief while sleeping or in a hot bath.

    In September 2003, I went to Scotland to visit relatives and they warned me about wind and cold. I'd already heard about harsh highland weather, but I didn't let it phase me. I didn't even bring a proper jacket and didn't suffer (except this one day that was particularly windy and we were on foot to and from the local pub). But their idea of cold brings me back to the stereotype of Canadian winter weather. Specifically, the knowledge that sadly, generalizations are often correct.

  • Coping with the cold

  • 11 January 2005

    Atlas Shrugged

    I’ve recently started a new book. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. It was a Christmas present, so I will make a point of reading as much as quickly as possible. I can tell right away that rather than being acclaimed for her writing talent, Rand is read for her philosophical outlook. While trying to immerse myself in the world she weaves in the first few pages, I was jolted back out of her book by one sentence. “This was a place of competence and power.” Referring to a mid-20th century urban professional building, Rand still created a timeless image. Why does competence and power, preferably combined in clean, elegant surroundings, hold relief for me or anyone else? Why do I walk through the world suppressing feelings that everyone around me is screwing up the little things that make life work? And that capability and achievement are so distant. I know I’m not alone – peers, comedians, journalists and other voices all echo my sentiments – but it doesn’t feel right either.

    10 January 2005

    My very own custom hoodie

    The text under the smiling dog on the patch says "tease me and get mauled". You can't really see it, but there are embroidered bones on either edge of the pocket. With tiny 12g captives I pierced the fuzzy ears sewn onto the hood and (using a homemade stencil) screened the skulls on the sleeves. I also painted "bite me" on the back over embroidered red droplets.

    09 January 2005

    The Jimmy Hendrix Experience

    As usual, I had Sunday dinner at my parents' house tonight. Afterwards, my Dad and I watched a Jimmy Hendrix concert DVD I bought him. We talked about how, though his music may seem like mainstream or even oldies today, Hendrix was such a pioneer. He explored what electricity could do for the guitar like nobody before him. Famous musicians - many of his peers - marveled at what Hendrix created. Yet his career was a short, bright flame. How many people who have contributed to art, science and knowledge can say that a few years of their career brought them unparalleled success and recognition? I suppose John Nash's notion of an original idea really can have that much impact. I don't imagine that I will ever affect the world with music or economic theory, but as I writer I would like to leave my mark. I think about it often. Will my writing be read? Or even matter? I feel that while it's good to admire great thinkers and achievers, I'm not doing myself any good fixating on accomplishment when so much of any writer's career is persistence and luck. All I can do is persist. Hopefully with a smile.

    05 January 2005

    Bullies and cowards

    Indifference offers a better return on investment than hate. Mostly because far too many people we might hate are self-involved sociopaths with large volumes of spare time in which to retaliate. I recently watched a friend of mine stand down from a pointless argument with just such a sociopath. He knew there was no resolution in sight and the agitated party called him a coward. I know my friend is not afraid, but an intelligent man who has no interest in engaging a fruit loop with a penchant for bullying. I wish I knew more cowards like that.

    04 January 2005

    Sympathy drained

    Empathy and sympathy are necessary emotions in the world I want to live in. Yesterday I watched my sister, out of sympathy and discomfort, dance around some indirect propositions from her friend's ex. She told me she felt bad for him when he ambushed her on MSN with the news that he used to have a crush on her and was sorry he'd chosen her friend. I told my sister not to let sympathy catalyze the situation. What reaction was this guy looking for? Should she leave her boyfriend, ignoring any repercussions her friendship would suffer?

    My response is twofold. First, people let too much crap slide in order to avoid conflict. I think placating and confronting have some grey area between them. Second, I've been working in service roles at non-profit organizations for too long. I'm burnt out. I no longer have adequate levels of understanding for the average person, who for whatever trivial or serious reason, can't make life work smoothly. By the end of most work days I'm prepared to tell people without jobs, homes, friends, families or any of the supports I take for granted to, "Suck it up cupcake. Get back in the game." So many people need help. More than most middle class Canadians realize. While the majority of us can suck it up and keep going through a bad day, week or month, a sizable but invisible wedge of the population can't achieve the basics.

    02 January 2005

    New Year ideas and energy

    Like many things I've said I'll never do, it is inevitable that I begin a blog. In an attempt to tie up the loose ends of my day to day mental electricity, I'm going to see how long I can maintain a somewhat regular blog. I imagine this is why most people take up this pastime, although many friends seem to do this as part of their social lives.

    In the past, I've focussed my creative energies on generating whole work. A painting worth framing in my home. An article to be published and read. Although I kept a journal faithfully for years when I was younger, I got out of the habit. I'm now missing the valuable catharsis of that activity. Brining it back in print hasn't been effective. I'm optimistic about engaging with the eccentric and introspective world of blogging.