Sunday, 30 November 2008

Divali Lights

And it came to pass that the beast was awakened. Damn good thing too. The beast is the old laptop, humongous great thing in comparison with the new little one, which seems to have caught a chill or some such. At any rate, it's not playing well at the moment.

Yesterday we celebrated a late Divali/early Christmas. Yes, it's that time of year again - used to start with Eid when I was at Mayhem, but here we seem to have more Hindus than Muslims, and boy do they know how to throw a party. We danced to Bangra with Sikhs and we ate various curries until we were sweating spices.

On the darker side of matters Indian, I had an irrational panic during the week. I knew my sister was to be in Mumbai this month sometime, but she hadn't been very specific about when. And I hadn't heard from her. I tried e-mailing, but received no response. I couldn't ring since she is not home during the week. Finally I did get a reply to my frenzied hails, and she was back, safe and sound, but she only missed the horror by a week, and had been staying in the exact hotel, and on the exact floor where many western visitors had been killed. She is shaken. Many of the staff who had been so warm and welcoming to them and made their stay so good, are now dead.

On Friday evening, we had a celebration for the cast and crew of the church play. This also seemed like an opening of the Christmas season, and as a bunch, we determined to challenge sellers of Christmas cards whose products say, 'Happy Holidays'. It's Christmas goddamit! Merry Christmas.

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Snowy Lions

Fuck. It was one thing when we were behind Québec, Newfieland, Nova Scotia and Ontario, but now we're bloody well lagging behind Manitoba. That's it. BC is officially lamer than Manitoba. Bollocks. Oh, sorry, Manitoba is banning in-car cell-phone use.

I was pleased to see that two women won a sexual harassment case in the City of London. This was about more than just the two women, it's a clear shot across the bows of sexism in financial institutions and shows that the appalling behaviour shown in the series 'Mad Men' still goes on, but will not be tolerated.
Well done ladies and thank-you for taking the trouble to challenge it.

Heston Blumenthal, the anally-retentive chef, is just too much for me. I get the point, he makes dishes that other people do, but in extremis. And in the right place and setting (ie when it behoves me), I can enjoy pretension, but Blumie really, really, makes me feel that life's too short and that Waitrose is a mere 8,000 kilometres away.
I was, however, as intrigued as the food and drink section of the Graun, to know how he might be able to devise a menu for under a tenner for the Little Chef. (Roadside diner). It almost makes me want to actually GO to a Little Chef, and generally it's only desperation and the need for toilets that make me venture into one.

Ok. Second thing I was pleased to read about is that the whole Proposition 8 fiasco is far from over. The nazis of California are to be challenged in the courts and quite right too. The go ahead has even been given BY the courts to challenge IN the courts. This is not a gay issue, this is a human rights issue. And it's not a Californian issue, it's a global one.
Let the games commence. And let them not end until prejudice and backward thinking - closed minds, lie bleeding on the floor.

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Manic Preaching

Happy Thanksgiving American friends.
And any of you fiends out there too.

One of the Sikh temples in Surrey, has been taken by coup. I'm not entirely sure how this works, but it seems like they have leadership elections of some description. So now the young bucks are in and the young 'uns are fundies. Oh yes. Who said that conservatism comes with advancing age? Not the older Sikhs, that's for sure. They want to carry on eating at tables and sitting on chairs, whilst the fundies want everyone to sit on the floor.
Same as it ever was, same as it ever was.

I was kind of surprised to see an obit for Manic Street Preachers' guitarist Richey Edwards.
Surprised in that I thought this must mean he's been found, but no, he has just been declared dead as it has now been so long since his disappearance in 1995. That must be so hard for his parents, not knowing, just not knowing.

It seems that owning a gun is eight times as likely to incline you to suicide than not owning one if your are a woman, and four times as likely if you are not. I'm really not sure if that's a good thing, a bad thing, or morally neutral. After all, the stats aren't saying you're more likely to kill someone else - although that is probably true too.

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Bristol Cities

Darkness on the edge of town.

In the UK, women have been continually harshly sentenced - and imprisoned - for petty crimes such as shoplifting. Finally, this situation is being addressed, and remedial alternatives are to be put in place.

I`m sorry, but this is really funny. I don`t know how it got past me. Reading an article about the first single mother in U.S. congress, which made me think I`d fallen through a bloody time warp into Victorian England, I mean seriously, In 2008, this is the first time?
But anyroad, I discover that the artist formerly keeping the western world amused and known as Sarah Palin, daughter thereof is called Bristol Palin. How did I not know this? And how does a young woman get through any part of life being called Bristol? I suppose there are men called Dick. And Willy. And I don't know how that works. But Bristol? And is that better or worse than Bristols? Boggling, just boggling. There is no end to this family's comedy value.

On the TV this morning, Dr. Art told us that a new study suggests that 20% of breast cancers would disappear if no treatment were given. That came with the rider that treatment was not going to stop for anyone.
Interesting though.

Sunday, 23 November 2008

At Large

Monday morning, and an e-mail from Sleepy telling me that another kid we used to teach at Mayhem, well, I should say 'teach' had died. An accident early in the small hours of the morning. At school, he was ADHD and when taking his Ritolin, pleasant, bright, teachable. But he refused to take it and then became disagreeable and unteachable.
A sad end however.
A nice family and you wouldn't wish the loss of a child on anyone.

Christmas seems to have started early here. Even last week, the Sally-Anne Santas were ho-ho-ho-ing outside of Shoppers' Drug Mart, all the shops seem to have the continual Christmas music loop, and some already have cinnamon surround-smell.

Out there in the world at large, attacks on girls in Afghanistan continue unabated. Where is the world's outrage when school girls yet again have battery acid thrown at them?

Afghan MP Shukria Barakzai is subjected to men screaming, 'kill her!' when she stands up to speak. She continually receives personal threats but refuses to abandon the fight for women's rights. But who cares? She's just a woman, just one of the majority gender.

In another story, the Guardian tells us that New Zealand has lost its greatest reforming Prime Minister ever, Helen Clark, and although she has been in power for ten years, the suggestion is that whilst,

"As the late Sir Edmund Hillary said of her: "She's always off climbing something, doing something exciting and I think that New Zealanders admire that." "

That also,

"But there were some things about Helen they never felt comfortable with. Her deep voice, her wardrobe of serviceable trouser suits, and her childless marriage to sociologist Peter Davis all brought their share of snide media comment. This didn't seem to bother her much; she was no emotional chin wobbler. But as one media commentator pointed out: "Bossy women aren't much liked or trusted in New Zealand." "

In Myanmar, a comedian was given a 45 year gaol sentence for delivering aid to people who needed it - the intended recipients in fact.

Lastly, and back to the woman-related, the F-Word reports that clitoris is a word banned from Google's safe search section. Not so penis however. Odd that. Penis envy? Not so much.
I did of course, have to google it, and there were certainly links that came up, but read the article.

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Sustaining the Stones

The word on everyone's lips, more or less since I got here, is sustainability. There has also been a fair amount of confusion over what exactly it refers to. I have to show sustainability in my programmes when I apply for a grant from the Province every summer, and in that case, it's referring to whether we have the wherewithal to continue providing them.

On Thursday afternoon, I went in the torrential rain into a majestic, green forest, the kind that presages certain psychological states, to attend a meeting about sustainability - teaching it through environmental education.

The group I belong to are known as Lower Mainland Museum Educators, although it's rather a misnomer, since museum educators are really only a section of the members, many of us come from environmental organisations, or other extended education facilities such as the Planetarium and Science World, and that was never more true than on Thursday.

But watching a rather superb programme on National Geographic this morning, about an archaeological dig around Stonehenge and the theories it had given rise to, made me think about sustainability once more.

I am frequently, frequently finding myself in a conversation that has turned to Stonehenge and invariably one speaker will bang on about how they would never go to Stonehenge now, whilst in 1963 or thereabouts, they were able to go and sit on the actual stones, now you can just stand and look from the other side of the road or some such tosh.
This happened to me again last evening.
Well bully for them. The fact is, the organisation 'English Heritage', has made a brilliant job of rendering Stonehenge sustainable. No, people can't sit on the stones, but you can certainly get close enough to feel the vibe, you could touch it if you wanted to and you can listen to an excellent audio tour whilst you are going around the stones.

Stonehenge was a remarkable feat of co-operation by a determined people whose leaders had a burning vision and enough trust from their people to enact it. And the people of Britain itself, whilst tribal in nature, were nonetheless already bonded by nationhood based on spirituality.

We're still tribal, but on a planet-wide basis. And on a planet-wide level, we're a global society, and we have a mighty task to accomplish. Can we succeed as those early peoples did?
Do we have the will and vision?
Do we want it enough?

Thursday, 20 November 2008


Whatever is occurring in the sick, sick world?
At work, someone told me about a British guy who had committed suicide by decapitating himself with a chain saw.
And yet I couldn't find the news item either on the BBC website or the Graun one. So, I googled it - oh give me a break spellchecker, 'to google' is so a verb - and discovered that another Brit had done the same earlier in the year, an Austrian man last year, and in 2004, a man in Omaha. How grisly.

On the subject of body parts, I was also fascinated in a horror-struck sort of way, but the BBC's item about people who don't have belly buttons. This seems grotesque to me, but why? I'm not grossed out by people missing hands, limbs, eyes, and various other bits and pieces, but tummy buttons. Creepy.

Cupcakes. I have never, EVER met anyone who liked cupcakes. Seriously, what's the deal with them?

Wednesday, 19 November 2008


My job doesn't allow for illness. It looks like it does - I'm allowed a certain number of days' sickness, but the reality is that if either of us are away, there's no slack, no wiggle room, things fall apart.

Jo, my assistant, was ill. She literally couldn't crawl in. Yesterday, I managed, the particular programme and the particular school, allowed for me to be able to adapt and present it on my own. But not this morning's. This morning's presented the problem of my having to play two puppet parts at the same time. It never occurs to me what an odd thing we are doing when we're sitting behind the screen making puppets talk, but today, with a spider on one hand, and a slug on the other, talking to myself on silly voices, well, yeah, I was suddenly struck by the absurdity of it.

Before I went over to start, my friend said to me,
'Just stay calm, you'll be ok,' but I realised that what I needed to be wasn't calm at all, I needed to be hyper. I needed to keep the energy level above theirs to do that magician thing, misdirect, stop them from realising that anything was wrong.

Sparrows are missing in Britain. The Guardian wonders where they've all gone. And today, as I took the children to the bird feeding area, so were the birds. It was too quiet for too long, then we noticed the hawk, sitting in a tree watching for little plump snacks.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008


The day hasn't been perfect, actually, I'd give it a 6½ overall. But on the way home, I realised I was having a perfect moment and sometimes, that's good enough.

The air was crisp, it had become satisfyingly colder during the afternoon. Let's say it was al dente. The light was fading and the sky was ribboned with pink and gold. And I was surrounded my trees, bare, beautiful bones of trees and deep green, majestic conifers. I experienced one of those moments of hearing that still, small voice of calm.

My daily routine is to get up at 7, go down and make the coffee and my porridge, and when I do, I open the front door and look out.
Yesterday morning I looked out and realised I couldn't see any further than the doorstep, the world was shrouded in fog.
By eight, when I set off for work, the fog was lifting very slightly. On every bush, on every tree, were dew-bejewelled spiders' webs. Hammocks of sheet webs, big, perfect orb webs, and strands, just strands linking every twig. Some of the webs were insane, spiders confused by the fog perhaps.

Sunday, 16 November 2008


I have a story that I've been writing for a long time, to be honest, I mostly only add to it when it's my turn to read at writers' group.
The story is set in the town of Horse-sur-mer on the south coast of England, so it's probably what you'd call a comedy of manners. And it is, to be fair, a town of mostly women, or at least the women are mainly who you hear about.

The vicar in my town, changed the name of her church from St. Brigid to 'The Blessèd Deborah' for the Old Testament Judge of the same name, and of course, raises controversy - and more is to come.

Today's OT reading in church was about the Judge Deborah. To give a quick recap, Deborah summons Barak and tells him the time is right for him to lead the Israelites against their oppressor, Sisera.
Barak's a bit of a 'fraidy cat and says that he'll go if she goes, which she does, but she tells him that he won't get kudos for killing the big bad, because that honour would go to a woman.
But the woman who kills Sisera is not Deborah herself, but Jael, a Kenite and thus an ally of Sisera's people.

How did Deborah know what was going to happen? Because she was a prophet as well as a judge - the OT is bristling with them.
Prophet's not on that list of jobs the careers officer gives you to select from. Perhaps it's just been renamed. Psychic instead of Prophet. Shaman perhaps. Oh, we have them, but we explicitly set them aside from modern religion. To experience that level of communication with the world or with God, we have to step outside of the Faiths or embrace something older.

I can't help wondering if we are rendering our worship anodyne by ignoring the psyche. Behold, we have prayer, but let's stop at the words, we must not do it too deeply, for fear of being accused of witchcraft.

Friday, 14 November 2008


All quiet on the western front today. Not a twig stirring. But it was colder and there was a flurry of fluffy little birds, chickadees, juncos, a downy woodpecker, kinglets and brown creepers, right outside our office window. Very distracting.

Would it be impossible for someone to make a cough syrup that didn't taste like the end of days? It's how I imagine DDT would taste.

I was reading an article about Hillary (genuflect) and it referred to 'the Clinton brand'. I LOVE that! SO pretentious! I must start to think about 'the Schneewittchen brand'. Not sure it carries the same clout somehow.

I feel that there's a difference between the way the English hate the French and the way Canadians do. The English hate them in the way that teenage white boys hate Pakistanis - they say they do, but not their own friends, no, their own friends, of whom at least a quarter are generally Pakistani, they would defend to the hilt, with fists if necessary.

There's a lot about the French that pisses the English off, and vice versa I'm sure, and we`re rather vocal about it, but it's mostly talk. If push came to shove, we'd most likely go in and defend them all over again, and we go there, exchange a few bon mots, eat their food and drink gallons upon gallons of their wine, and we all have friends who are French and...the opposite of friends.

For a lot of Canadians however, the reverse seems to be true. They will initially pay lip service to tolerating the French, but scratch the surface, and there's a seething mass of rancour and venom against them.
You mark my words, no good will come of it.
The French on the other hand, the ones who actually live in France, handed over a goodly swathe of their own land to Canada, as a thank-you for Vimy Ridge. And maybe some of it stems from there, for it was mainly the non-French settlers in Canada who went back to Europe to fight in both World Wars. And got killed.

I like the twilight, like this time of year of early darkness. I like to be walking home as the night is closing in.

'Every cat in the twilight's grey, every possible cat.'

Thursday, 13 November 2008


Last night we had gales, the wind chased around the house, rattling and buffeting it and rocking me back to sleep each time it awakened me. In the morning the winds were still blowing at between 50 and 70 kilometres an hour.

In the park, dead wood was brought down from the trees and the trails were closed, leaving us to make do with the wildlife garden to stir scientific enquiry to life.

In some ways, I could understand the adults who looked at the barrier that said, 'Trails closed, hazardous conditions' and decided to take a chance, but the young woman with one baby strapped to her chest and a toddler holding her hand who hesitated for all of five seconds before ignoring the warning - not so much.

A car parked at the front of the Nature House started wailing as I walked past it to put something into the storage cabin. As I turned to look at it, a head popped up from the back seat, then a hurried exit from the car park.

On the morning news, a man who had climbed up an electricity pole to steal cable and who had died when the pole cracked and fell with him to the ground, caused us little concern.

The Guardian reports that we will soon have the technology to drive our cars by mind control. Give me a break. That would mean people actually have to think whilst driving, something the majority of them don't do now. No, what people need is a car they DON'T have to think about at all. A car that someone else drives. A robot car.

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Sacrifice and Vitriol

Good Lord, is it Wednesday already? Whatever happened to the beginning of the week?

Well yesterday, we had a day of rest, an extra one, in remembrance of those who had died fighting for our freedom. A record number of people wore poppies and attended the Armistice Day services in the pouring rain.
The first, quite frankly, astonished both Kevin and myself, since nowhere had we been able to buy poppies. I wore one, briefly, in church on Sunday, before attaching it to the communal wreath.
In Britain, it was impossible to avoid, since even at Mayhem, people would come into your classroom in the middle of lessons to make sure you had had the opportunity to purchase one.
It`s all good.

This morning we were reminded what our lads and lasses in Afghanistan are fighting for, as a bus carrying young girls to school was ambushed and battery acid thrown at the occupants. What vitriol in the truest sense of the word. Nothing can justify that, and certainly not the abhorrent notion that girls should not be educated.

More mundanely, and in stark contrast, I discovered today a whole new supermarket annoyance that doesn`t exist in Britain, although the potential is certainly there.
The people at the checkout who not only (and in my not-so-humble opinion unreasonably) want to pay half in Canadian dollars and half in U.S., but then tie the cashier and the supervisor up by bloody arguing about what exchange rate they should be allowed. Well here`s an idea - pay by credit card and argue with sodding Mastercard - in your own time.

Raymond sent me this brilliant link. It`s a blog to which you can send your dream - if you happen to dream about Hillary. I`ll be submitting one of my own soon.
Thank goodness someone thought of it.

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Searching for Wisdom

From our service at church today, a few lines from Solomon. (6: 17-20)

"The beginning of wisdom is the most sincere desire for instruction,
and concern for instruction is love of her,
and love of her is the keeping of her laws,
and giving heed to her laws is assurance of immortality,
and immortality brings one near to God;
so the desire for wisdom leads to a kingdom."

This really spoke to me since it is the thing I claim on the 'About me' heading on the left hand side of this blog, 'searching for wisdom'. And one of my oldest loves as an adult is Philosophy, the love of wisdom.

I'm searching for something else too. I want to like Obama. I know the problem is with me and not him. I'm still sulking over his camp's appalling treatment of Hillary Clinton, that and...well, I simply don't find him likeable. He doesn't seem like a Statesman to me. I know, broken record. But I'm working on it.

I told Austen about this during my weekly phonecall. He suggested that perhaps I didn't really GET the full impact of what it means that America has elected a black person to be their President. He told me to think about an equivalent situation in Britain. Britain has already broken the barrier to women being elected, and as I have said before, were I any kind of a Tory, I would consider Thatcher to be a goddess. And maybe in Britain we don't view black people the same way as they are viewed in the States, so that it doesn't seem like such a big deal.
'But think about what a huge deal it would be if Britain elected an Asian PM,' he said. And he was right. The idea of having a Patel or Singh/Kaur at number ten, and yes, I think he's right, THAT would be huge.

In Brighton, Ben met one of his heroes, Lemmy from Motorhead. It's pretty cool to meet a hero, a legend. Alex met Mark Wahlberg once, and got his autograph, but then in a freak, recycling accident, she lost it and it is a testament to her ability to forgive, that she has done.

Saturday, 8 November 2008


But I can't let it lie. It bugs me. Melissa Etheridge is indeed right. California is a rich state, richer than most countries. And those riches are largely generated by the film and music industries and by big corporations like Apple, Microsoft and Google.
The entertainment industries must have way more than the government issue one in ten gay women and men. In fact, I would say that it is pretty much dominated by either gay people or close friends thereof.
The big corps - no idea, but what we do know is that at least two of them, Apple and Google, came out publicly against Proposition 8. So the revenue generators in the state are, let us say at least probably, wholeheartedly against it. So it is the rednecks and hicks who are the bigots there, and yet who gain immensely from the money-makers.

So here's my solution. Bring 'em all up here. Melissa, Ellen, Apple, Google, come to the Hollywood of the North. We'll take your tax dollars and spend them on green initiatives whilst not denying a large percentage of our population the right to marry. We have plenty of room and the haemorrhage will cripple the already morally dead state of California. AND we're more than happy to increase our gay population, since they probably, as a body of people, are more productive than us breeders. (Whilst acknowledging that we do need children so that we can all retire at some point and still have our economy and service industries continue.)

Good, that's settled then.

At Schloss Schneewittchen, the painting is almost finished. I put the first coat on in the small bedroom. Of course, during the summer when I was doing most of the painting, I was able to continue for much longer, not losing light until well into the evening.
Today I was aware of the light changing even at 15.30 and after a break for Home Heist, it was all over until tomorrow. Just as well. Once again, the cheap and thirsty mushroom soup already on the walls, means I have to take a trip to Home Depot tomorrow.

And I booked my trip to the UK. Second week of the New Year, I'll be annoying the pigeons. I'll be travelling alone this time, since Kev had been planning a trip to the Emerald Isle with his dad later in the year, but we'll have to see whether that happens or not. At least he'll get a couple of weeks without me snoring.

Friday, 7 November 2008

Tooth and Claw

The rain continues, although somehow it didn't feel as wet as yesterday, it certainly wasn't as cold. Nonetheless, the mums who came with the afternoon group, huddled together under their brollies as their kids and I hunted for bugs.

Because of the inclement weather, not leaving anything to chance, we showed them a real spider and asked them to tell us whether it was a boy or a girl.
'How do you think you might be able to tell?' I asked,
'If it's a girl, it doesn't have eyebrows,' said one boy. My work is done.
But yes, getting back to the spider. A colleague had found a false widow in the storage hut. Portacabin. You know the type of thing. I was sure that false widow spiders were dangerous, not in the league of black widows, but well...
We put her in a jar, for yea verily, she had no eyebrows.

Then we worried about starvation, so we caught a couple of flies, well, Jo did, and fed them into the jar also. The spider ignored them. Jo found a woodlouse and introduced that.
'Nothing eats them,' said I. And nothing did.
This morning, Jo found a big, fat, orb-weaver spider, again, no eyebrows, and put it into the jar. By the afternoon, the widow had speared the orb-weaver, spun it in silk and the poor bugger was beginning to necrotise. For some reason, this horrified us both. Nature is all very well until it gets a little...too natural.

Ah well, nature is red in tooth and claw. But humanity is bloody shocking.

Melissa Etheridge on Prop 8.

"Anyways, she (Etheridge's wife) and I are not allowed the same right under the state constitution as any other citizen. Okay, so I am taking that to mean I do not have to pay my state taxes because I am not a full citizen. I mean that would just be wrong, to make someone pay taxes and not give them the same rights, sounds sort of like that taxation without representation thing from the history books…."

But read her full, totally reasonable and very eloquent comments for yourself.

Thursday, 6 November 2008


This picture was from before the storm.

Today the rain came. Sweeping, hammering rain that soaked and filled and made the world private.
Beautiful, terrible rain.

That Dexter effect I talked about - this quote (from UPI) from my friend Michael,

"MIAMI, Nov. 2 (UPI) -- For the first time since May 1966, Miami went more than a month without a single homicide the city's police detectives say.

"That's an amazing thing," said Lt. John Buhrmaster, a Miami homicide investigator. "It's a great record when people are not killing each other."

The last homicide occurred Sept. 26 with the shooting death of 26-year-old Demetrius Sherman, The Miami Herald reported, noting Miami, so far, has had 55 homicides in 2008 as compared with 87 in all of 2007.

The lack of recent homicides has allowed detectives to investigate other cases, such as the deaths Friday of three migrants who drowned after jumping from a grounded cargo ship near Fisher Island, the Herald reported. "

I have a cough as a reminder of being unwell a few weeks ago, not much of one, but every so often it just catches in my throat and then it gets going.
I laughed so much during 30 Rock, that the damn cough nearly carried me off.
It's not always true that laughter is the best medicine.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

5th November

I'm bored with Obama already.
Inside the brave new America, California has voted to ban gay marriage. It also voted against the renewable energy bill.
Yep, it's all good.

Guy Fawkes Night, Bonfire Night, I miss it. Every back garden with its own fireworks, tomato soup and hotdogs with real sausages. And bonfires. With guys.

The skies were blue today, and there was a sprinkling of snow on the mountains.

It has been a long day, culminating with a meeting. So here's a wasps' nest, some autumn leaves and a squint down the railway tracks towards the mountains.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Red or Blue?

This is my friend Roma, an American. She voted weeks ago, I can't imagine who she voted for.

I'm loving the Guardian's front page, because it has a map of the USA with States filled in according to who has won them. You can roll your mouse over the State and see what the results are. Cool.

Moving on.
Somewhere over the past couple of days, a news item about a murderer here in BC (I think), said that he claimed he was influenced by the TV series 'Dexter'. Really.
A friend told me that for the first time in recorded history, Miami had had a month without a murder. The Dexter effect maybe?

Elections here are getting out of hand, we now have a whole slew of small potato elections. There was a leaflet yesterday in with the post, with a set of candidates. So far as I could work out, you had the choice of Chen, Chen, Chen, or Cheng. Mmmmm.

We have no letter box, so thrust in the gap between the door and the jamb yesterday was a leaflet for something. It had four pages and was entirely in Chinese, not a single word of English. Oh well, yes, there was, quite literally a single word, in small print, 'Watchtower'. One word, but so eloquent.

So, oddly, most of my Guardian map seems to be coloured red (for a strong win) or pink (for a bare win) and yet Obama seems to be sweeping the board.

This'll make sense once I have a drink.

Saturday, 1 November 2008


Not theatre as we know it Jim.
Ah, the world of Am Dram.
Actually, I'm able to see quite how complicated putting together even an amateur production is. No, good Lord, not me, I'm not trying to do so gargantuan a task, but I'm helping out as prompt with the church play.
You might be forgiven for thinking that someone who had taught in secondary schools for so many years might know this, but alas, all I used to see was the disruption to lessons, the over-active egos and the rather unimpressive end product.

This morning was the celebration of All Saints' day in church. Many churches have the custom of compiling a list of departed friends and rellies of the congregants, ours limits it to those who have passed since last All Saints'. I put our friend Bruce on the list, because he was important to me and to a group of people who are in turn important to me. And yet I feel kind of like I'm not honouring his memory because he didn't believe. On the other hand, he might now be feeling a little confused and wondering why physics didn't explain this.

All of my children have Christmas tree decorations engraved with their names that my friend Dawn had sent over the years. I was quite touched that my daughter wanted me to send her one for her boyfriend Seth so that he had one too, and that she knew exactly where I could get this in town, which was just as well because I wouldn't have known where to start. I have it as instructed, now if only I had an address to send it to....

Over the past week, I have had one of my questions answered, but it has given rise to another. Sometimes I feel I'm a lone little feminist voice, whining on about the patriarchy. I wondered if there were other feminists within shouting distance. Ans the answer came loud and clear. Yes. My own friends. Why was I not seeing or hearing this? I don't know. But I am far from alone.
But now, not being prepared to be a guy, what do we call ourselves? Girls, gals, ladies, women? It's hard to find a term that all agree on. One friend objects to being called a lady, and yet there's nothing derogatory about calling a man a gentleman.
Most of the time, to be honest, any term is a filler. 'You guys' is often used when the speaker just means 'you'.
There was an interesting comment on a feminist blog I was reading last week. The commentator said that originally, English had had the term 'wapman' which meant the male of 'man' just as 'woman' means the female of man. But as so often happens, the term for the whole species has been hijacked to mean the male. I haven't been able to confirm this by googling however, since 'wapman' seems to be some kind of electronics company or device.

Perhaps I'll have to make something up.