27 May, 2011

Wonderful Day

DARK SIDE OF THE LENS from Astray Films on Vimeo.

Stupendous! In support of Mickey Smith's mastery, please watch, enjoy, and spread his work onwards into the world. For as he explains,

"It's an art form in itself. (We are) Silent work horses of the surfing world... Most folk don't even know who we are, what we do, or how we even do it, let alone want to pay us for it."

24 May, 2011

Who says statistics can't be fun?

Oh heavens, this site is so much fun! For all of you, young and old, this is one smart software tool to experiment with. For you who are parents or educators, there are a lot of stories you and your children can come up with using the information here.

23 May, 2011

David Lynch: A People's People

Did any of you watch the series, Interview Project, by David Lynch? He went from the east coast to the west coast, interviewing people in apparently a very happenstance way. The interviews are short portraits of these people's lives. Collectively, they create a portrait of a country.

He's now doing a series, Interview Project Germany. The interviewees speak their dialect or local accent, but there are subtitles. Even if you do not like reading subtitles, please spend some time and reading them, for often what the people say is touchingly vulnerable and honest. What I like about these three interviews is the fact that the people live(d) modest lives, but seem genuinely happy with them.

Can you hear the difference between the way that Karl speaks and Luci? Luci comes out of ex-DDR. When the Berlin Wall went down over twenty years ago, the life she knew up to that date vanished. I was talking to a friend of mine recently about why it is that foreigners living in Germany don't say they are German, even after they have received citizenship. She responded with the fact that she feels she is a East Berliner and not a German. The area that she grew up in, the education she received, the social values she was raised in, they have changed or disappeared. This is not to say she is unhappy. Contrarily, like Luci, there is an acceptance mixed in with loss of that what they once held dear.

Then there is Betty, who talks about dressing up fashionably in the 60s and 70s. It's hard to imagine bellbottoms and hot pants. Friday night disco in the local bar. Yet, it is reassuring to know that she did live those moments.

Do enjoy.

19 May, 2011

Bitter Sweet, But Oh So Dear

OK, another Guardian gem:

"Randy Newman gives an exclusive performance of his song Losing You and talks about the difficult events that inspired it."

There is also a wonderful article, a fine piece of journalistic writing, that accompanies the video. Do enjoy.

18 May, 2011

Facebook Offline

The Offline Social Network (HUNGRY BEAST) (by abchungrybeast)

What I like about this video is how the whole concept of social media sites like Facebook really doesn't make much sense if you remove it from the online world and into IRL. The idea of poking and befriending and message wall... Strange. Recently, my family Facebook group announced the death of a relative on our Facebook wall. It doesn't appear that anyone but me felt this totally inappropriate.

15 May, 2011

Modern Haiku

japanese box2

Don't know if I mentioned my journey with Twitter... here's the short version. Joined. Found some people to follow. Was followed by some of them and few others. Basically didn't get it. Basically, thought I felt as if I was sitting underneath a waterfall of rushing information. This left me with a sensation of pressure building in my head. So, I quit. Walked away.

Journeyed on with no twitter, though lots of friends kept saying come back into the waters. Decided that rejection is not always the best consequence of critical thinking or social activism. So, I started to tweet again. This time, as a poet of modern haiku. If you wish, my twitter name is shortshortstori.

I have followers. Most who I do not know personally. It is a puzzle how they found me. It is also a delight.

10 May, 2011

It Gets Better, Social Media with Ice Cream on Top

Sometimes social media and the people on the forefront do something that is just fantastic. "It Gets Better" campaign is one such case. All the hot shots are doing it...

Even the geeks are on the bandwagon...

In my university days, studying electrical engineering, any gay engineering student had to hide his gayness. Not because they feared being ostracized, but physically beaten. "Gay bashing" was a weekend pastime of some of the more seriously homophobic tech students. Just love this Google employee's video contribution to the campaign.

But, my real hero when it comes to stirring up the dust is Rick Mercer. Please look at the following two videos. Don't you just love a good rant?

And, lastly, Rick Mercer and a group of famous Canadian media people and artists.

To all you out there to whom this message is directed to... find someone today to help you, and don't wait until tomorrow.

09 May, 2011

Mediation Weekend


Wandering out into the garden in the early morning hours... to catch the threads of spider webs on my face, the drone of the bees amongst the apple blossoms, and the droplets of dew on the edge of my pantlegs.

05 May, 2011

Having Gone Astray

Clive Stafford Smith, legal director of Reprieve discusses the information contained in US government records made public (leaked) about the 779 prisoners of Guantánamo Bay. According to the records, over 80% of the people were completely innocent of those crimes they were suspected of. 606 people have already been acquitted and were known to have no intelligence of value for the government.

The purpose of Guantánamo Bay was/is intelligence gathering to prevent future attacks. He says that the problem is the US was trying to gather intelligence in a very unintelligent way,

“If you sweep people up who you know are innocent (and it is in these documents), and if you mistreat them horribly, then you are not going to get reliable intelligence; you are going to make yourself a lot of enemies.”

The reason he feels the US and everyone else needs to take a close look at what happened (and still is happening) at Guantánamo Bay is simply,

“You can’t learn the lessons of history, if you don’t know what that history is.”

It is important for us to know how terribly the American government went astray.

04 May, 2011

Why My Mother Is An Anglophile

One of the things that my mother and I used to disagree on when I was younger and Quebecois was how cats pyjamas the Brits are. She loved everything British. I less so.

Yet, the literature, the free London museums, and the Guardian has done much to make my views milder over the last years. But, it is Alys Fowler and her terrier (I believe called Isabel), who made me realise how Anglophilia is part craziness (in all the right ways), as it is a marrow transplant of fay. I love the fact that she looks incredibly elegant and happy in her garden, all the while having dirt under her fingernails.

If you wish to see more of Ms. Fowler's videos, do go... here.