Sunday, August 27, 2006
Friday, August 25, 2006
If everyone who comes here today (and tomorrow, and...) could take a moment to visit ReligiousTolerance.org, I would be truly grateful.
Advantages to visiting this site:
- It is user-friendly. They even have a page for first-time visitors.
- It's enormous. They are trying to write balanced essays (as balanced as humanly possible) on an amazingly wide range of topics. I've used their material a lot for various ESL classes -- discussions on Euthanasia, Capital Punishment, etc. But, in their opinion, they are nowhere near done:
Completeness: Although we first established our web site in 1995, and have been writing material ever since, we "only" have 2,801 essays as of early 2005. We estimate that we need at least another two thousand essays to fully cover all topics. You may well find topics on this web site which should be covered, but which are not.
- You will learn about other religions -- how they are similar to your own, and how they differ, and why.
- You can read their hate mail. It is utterly sad that a group of people who are attempting to spread tolerance are subject to the worst intolerance from the ones who need them the most:
Some of our visitors are quite disturbed at seeing their particular world view compared and contrasted with a different one. A few write us very angry letters. We even receive the occasional death threat. We don't see a solution to this problem. It is inherent in the type of work that we do. Still, we get about 3 or 4 positive Emails for each negative one.
Please go, and click on all their banners. Browse around, and read up on areas of interest to you.
Thursday, August 24, 2006
This guy, who writes about day-to-day absurdities, composes his observations in the snippets of poetry that are haiku. (Does he follow the 'rules'? I don't really care. Rules are meant to be broken anyway.)
Oh, there's a lot of haiku out there on the Internet...classic Japanese-in-translation, to SF haiku, to mullet haiku... (What? You haven't discovered mullet haiku yet? Just Google it, and enjoy!) This is just another sample.
Here are some examples that struck my fancy (it was hard to choose...it ain't necessarily literary, but 'tis fun!):
For Howlin' Wolf
if blues was money
i'd be a big ass rich man
i'd be The Donald
Night on the Town
Staggering in the night
Above me, a strange light blinking
DON'T WALK DON'T WALK DON'T WALK
A duck walked past my house.
He quacked as he waddled.
He seemed angry.
Thanks, and keep writing.
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
Uh, are we unclear on the concept of ethnic diversity? Diversity, in case you're interested, means:
1. the state or fact of being diverse; difference; unlikeness.So, if you're being accused of homogeneity, then you aim for mixing the groups, as in diversifying them.
2. variety; multiformity.
3. a point of difference.
Or, if you're developing a show where you want conflict, then you aim to fan the fires of racism for ratings.
Note of course, that the article about the CBS show is on the ABC News website. It could all be a hoax.
I'd actually prefer that version of reality.
I went in this morning and was pretty much snubbed by her, the woman in Receiving, and the woman who comes in early every day to deal with the Aisles. And I was told, "Well, I'll find something for you to do, 'cause I have to get my work done."
Honey, your precious work is deadly dull, your attitude sucks, and your training skills leave everything to be desired. I did some stuff for an hour, and when I finished that, went to find her. Nothing. I quietly made puppies for a bit, realized naught was going to happen, so talked to the GM. I suggested that I go into the copy centre for a bit, to become a bit familiar with that, until they could throw me on cash for the rest of my shift.
I was chatting later with him and one of the other managers, and found out that a couple of people already working there had shown interest in the job.
Ah! Now I understand! I'm betting the woman who works in Aisles, who is not an unfriendly person in the least, must have been feeling passed over...I'm sure she's interested. And she'd be ideally suited for it. (No excuse for the other cow though.)
Now I can get back to part-time until something better comes along, and you won't have me blogging about this silly job anymore.
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
Classic situation -- a woman who has seen too many years at one workplace is now leaving. She is, understandably, feeling a little negative about the whole place. She's into her last week, and has been saddled with me as a shadow, to train.
It's not an easy job...inventory control for a big box retail outlet (yeah, yeah, the same one I've been boring myself at as lowly cashier). The weekly and monthly and quarterly product counts are scheduled, and important (read: deathly important). And she has been there long enough to feel that she knows best.
I have some tips for training your replacement. Try to:
- Get over your negative attitude, and make your replacement feel welcome.
- Remember you are not irreplaceable. (Hell, they weren't even that concerned about replacing you with me, it was just a sudden thought on the part of the GM.)
- Be aware that you may think you know better than all of the other staff in the store, but that mindset is probably why you're generally unhappy there.
- Not tell the person you are training "You will never get this." It does not 1) make the trainee feel welcome, nor 2) make you look good.
- Actually train your replacement. Yes, you can do it faster than I can, but I'm the one who has to continue doing it once you've gone.
I liked her prior to today. This evening, while I could still like her socially, I have very little respect for her.
As always, a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.
Monday, August 21, 2006
Last Christmas, my sister-in-law gifted me with a monthly piece of non-bill-related mail, a Button of the Month Club from a lovely little company in Vancouver called The Regional Assembly of Text. (I would link to individual pictures/pages, but it's a flash site...nice design, but entirely un-linkable, un-searchable.)
For our wedding, our favourite local band, lesismore, gifted us with "Just Married" buttons that managed to garner us some great freebies.
So, I finally changed my address with my button of the month club, 'cause I've been at a new address long enough without making all the necessary changes. One down. Umpteen to go.
Sunday, August 20, 2006
Would, for example, my friend raincoaster have met Lydia (a lurking, sometimes-commenting, not-yet blogging friend "Start blogging, woman! It's not like you don't have anything to say!") as quickly if they'd had to depend on me to finally drag them together? Instead, they meet online, through our blogs, and then hang out together in the real world.
My new friend PJ doesn't count in this question, since she's been driven to blog only after meeting me. But if she suddenly ends up having barbecues at Lydia's, then we know that there's some truth to it!
Then there is Ahmad, way off in Lebanon. Never would have connected with him without the digital world.
We've all experienced how hard it is to make new friends. You've got to be out there, aggressive even.
So, does knowing someone through their writing, before meeting them in person, make it easier?
Thursday, August 17, 2006
But, I was also trained as a linguist (in the "I studied Linguistics" sense, although I can function quite well in French and Portuguese, if pressed, with a bit of Spanish, Korean & German thrown into the mix), and taught English as a Second Language for 12 years. I know I have an uncanny sense for spelling. I also know that while listening and speaking a language are natural acts, reading and writing (and thus spelling) are not.
When I StumbledUpon a(nother) list of commonly misspelled words, I thought I'd ramble on about my spelling philosophy.
- English has notoriously awkward spelling. The Norman Invasion of 1066, the Great Vowel Shift, Shakespeare...blame who you want, we're stuck with it.
- As we should be. The word "night" has a history and depth that "nite" will never have.
- In the grand scheme of things, being a "good" or "bad" speller is not important.
- That said, there is a social stigma to incorrect spelling, so when it is important, spell words properly.
- When is it important? Unfortunately, pretty much any time you want to be taken seriously. When you're a contractor quoting for a job (I've sat on Strata Councils -- when two quotes are really similar, we would go with the slightly more expensive one, if the cheapest quote had spelling errors. Our reasoning? If the guy wasn't paying attention to those details, what else would he miss?), or when you're writing your resume, or...you know the list.
- It's also important for credibility on the web. "U R 2 cute" is fine in chat, but if I end up at a blog that is written like that, or someone comments on a blog using texting shorthand, that's it. I tune out. Blame it on my age or 'unhipness', but it just tells me that this person was too lazy to write full words. (And don't even start me on things like "24/7"!)
- And, saving the best for last: Never trust a spell-checker to find your mistakes. It will miss your homonyms, those words that sound the same have different spellings: its/it's, there/they're/their, etc. And, it will miss your 'slips of the finger' -- when you type "form" for "from" and so on. If it's important, get a friend to check it, or hire someone in your office to do it for you.
All of that said, I'm not an ogre when it comes to spelling -- at least not socially. I do not sit with mental red pen correcting the odd error in my comment section (Except with Metro, he should know better!).
In kindergarten, I was taught by some silly intern to tie my shoes differently from everyone else (I've only ever met one other person afflicted like me...). I make two bows, and tie them together. My Dad teased me about it all the time ("You tie your shoes like Joe Sausage!") (No, I never did find out who Mr. Sausage was...)
But lacing shoes...how many ways can you do it?
How about 31?
For some much-needed education on laces, check out Ian's Shoelace Site.
What other prosaic elements of my life have their own fanatical devotees?
Wednesday, August 16, 2006
Being surrounded by stationery products ("O Paper, O Pens/How do I love Thee?/Let me count the ways") and people does not in any way balance out a minimum wage repetitive job.
Who was I trying to fool?
I'll help them through the back to school rush, then I'm outta there.
[On topics less absurd, I've blogged twice today at my Book Nook...]
Sunday, August 13, 2006
- Definitely go to the 'Grads Only' pub night, if one is planned. It's great to get the trippy "oh my god, I haven't seen you in 20 years!" moments out of the way before the spouses (plural "spice"?) come along.
- Be aware that your high school crush (or worse, ex) will be at the big night with his wife/her husband in tow. Be prepared to get over it quickly.
- Don't worry about the career thing. It is guaranteed that someone is ultra-successful (in our case, I guess one guy married serious money), and others have really interesting jobs. What is also true is that people are doing supremely unexpected things...and are not as successful as they had envisioned themselves.
- You will recognize the women easier than the men. As 18-year-olds, the guys had barely finished growing...they have hair to lose, beer bellies to gain, and polish to acquire.
- Be above the rivalries high school brought, but know you will probably feel them again.
- Know that the girls who were popular in high school will still (be trying to) look like they did then -- that was their peak. The other women will be...who they were meant to be.
- My friend Sonia will say that if you dread your reunion (10- or 20-year), the best remedy is to get involved in the planning.
Anyone out there want to share their experiences?
Thursday, August 10, 2006
Metro has found some in his comments, here and here. Read for entertainment value. One guy probably surfs all day for the uses of the word 'r a p t u r e' on the Internet, then hobbles right over to leave a weird comment. (Note the judicious use of spaces, I'm hoping to avoid him.)
I had my second shift at Staples yesterday, another today. I'm a little worried that it's going to bore me sooner than expected. Good thing I only want 2 shifts a week. I've already pretty much nailed the register -- complicated, but just fine.
School is coming, and a woman came in yesterday, 2 kids in tow, and spent $299 on school supplies. Okay, a couple of backpacks were in there, but the rest was pens, pencils, notebooks, erasers, paper, binders...Insane.
The mundane lives on over here, while the absurdity in the world takes the form of dropping bombs, still, in the Middle East.
Ahmad, on the other hand, is keeping his chin up, and enticing his readers with pictures of beautiful women, and rather pointed jokes. Plus he's sending me songs by Natacha Atlas -- not only are they great, but check out the cover of her 'Best of' album, and try to tell me she's only appreciated for her musical talent:
And this weekend is the long-awaited (dreaded?) 20 year high school reunion for yours truly. I'll tell you how that goes when I survive it.
Tuesday, August 08, 2006
I first met Cold Desert (Can I use 'met' for someone I've never seen face-to-face? We're going to need a new word for someone we only know via the Internet....unless one already exists?) when I googled "too much paper" ages ago, and ended up on his blog, where he had this picture posted:
So I linked to him, he linked to me...and now he worries about other things than piles of paper. (I never did find out if this was his reality or just a nightmare pic he found somewhere else. Ahmad?)
Today, in our home office, we have a solution:
I don't know about you, but this piece of furniture, while a bitch to put together, is a dream come true in a lot of ways.
Thanks, Metro. Big kiss.
Sunday, August 06, 2006
Is this wise?
Won't I find myself spending my miniscule wages (I'm not doing this for the money, obviously) on store product?
Or maybe it will be like the time I worked in a bakery. Common practice in a bakery is to tell new staff to eat what they want...very soon they will tire of it. It's when they can't have it that they want it so badly.
Hmm. There's a truism in that.
Saturday, August 05, 2006
So, here's a bit of an update.
It's 6:08 a.m. Saturday morning as I write this. Metro and I are up at this ridiculous hour because it is Market day! I'm still the manager of the local Farmers' Market, and my sweet husband gets up every Saturday morning to help me put up the barricades on the street. I don't actually need his help, but I appreciate it.
The Market is a hoot -- every week I get to block off the street, and in come my vendors. Most of them are regulars and know exactly where to set up. Every week I have a mini event to produce, which means a lot of emails and phone calls during the week, some planning, some marketing...
I'm also applying to other jobs around town. Ideally, I was looking for other part-time work that was meaningful...I applied to Big Brothers Big Sisters for example. As a receptionist. Okay, so that's not really me.
Instead, tomorrow, I'm starting a few shifts a week at Staples...I love stationery, so why not? I'm there all the time anyway, doing photocopies for the Market, browsing -- why not get a 15% discount?
I applied for a juicy Fed job too...ain't crossing my fingers for that one.
We've moved into our new house. It needs a number of small things done -- nothing is ever perfect when you buy. But it is amazing to suddenly find myself utterly comfortable in this new space. I'm happy, Metro's happy, the cats are happy.
Socially, all is well. We know people in town, we're starting to make friends, and my family lives 40 minutes away...that's driving 3 towns away, not across Vancouver. Wow. I hadn't really thought of that before. I used to take the Skytrain to work, 40 minutes door-t- door, without batting an eye. Now, it's a longish trip to visit Mom...
More later. Gotta go.
[For other updates, check my blogroll. General wackiness: Nag. Political commentary: Metro. Pop-culture: 30-something. A squid-tastic nuttiness: raincoaster. And of course, Lebanon updates: Cold Desert.]
Friday, August 04, 2006
Yesterday, Metro was reading on the bed, and I was lying next to him...being ignored. So, I flopped my arm over his book to get his attention (hell, it works for the cats!). We chatted a moment, then I mentioned the cat-maneuver. He drew a blank. Something that happened two minutes before, and he forgot it.
Maybe it was the scintillating conversation.
But at least we don't have Nag's issues (hilarious post!).
Now over to Cold Desert, to see what there is to really worry about...
Thursday, August 03, 2006
Wandered over to raincoaster today, and she's all in a dither because she's involved in the most incredibly civilised flame war in the history of the Internet (more like a hot flash war?).
But she's also linked to the fabulousness of the absurd Flying Pastafarian Monster flame war. Seriously, go read this. The flamer is a man so stupid and narrow-minded, his picture is in the dictionary.
I knew I had to blog on it, when part-way down the page was a couple of commentors have a few moments of ludicrous silliness that made me blow milk out my nose:
One fake "Casey Powell" says:
I've studied 50 religions, I have interviewed doctors, lawyers, biophysicists, I even spoke to jews. And all of them agree, wholeheartedly, that Baked Lays Sour Cream and Onion chips are fucking delicious.What is the lesson here?
"It is better to be silent and thought a fool than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt." (Mark Twain)
And there is nothing more powerful than the Enter key to identify fools.
A USian (why do citizens of the USA think they have the exclusive use of the word "American"? I don't mean this as an attack on my neighbours to the South, but I used to teach ESL and my Latin American students used to get quite peeved at that -- and it makes sense. Aren't we all on the American continents?) argued:
The best you can hope for is that the UN establishes a peace-keeping force, with the goal of disarming Hezbolleh. (UN 1559)
Ahmad responded with:
It is amazing how the world has always double standards when it comes to Israel. If Lebanon has to apply the UN Resolution 1559, then there is a list of 68 UN resolutions against Israel awaiting execution. (You can read them here, here or here)Now, that was an absurd argument.
A list of UN Resolutions against "Israel" 1955-1992:
* Resolution 106: " . . . 'condemns' Israel for Gaza raid".
* Resolution 111: " . . . 'condemns' Israel for raid on Syria that killed fifty-six people".
* Resolution 127: " . . . 'recommends' Israel suspends it's 'no-man's zone' in Jerusalem".
* Resolution 162: " . . . 'urges' Israel to comply with UN decisions".
* Resolution 171: " . . . determines flagrant violations' by Israel in its attack on Syria".
* Resolution 228: " . . . 'censures' Israel for its attack on Samu in the West Bank, then under Jordanian control".
* Resolution 237: " . . . 'urges' Israel to allow return of new 1967 Palestinian refugees".
* Resolution 248: " . . . 'condemns' Israel for its massive attack on Karameh in Jordan".
* Resolution 250: " . . . 'calls' on Israel to refrain from holding military parade in Jerusalem".
* Resolution 251: " . . . 'deeply deplores' Israeli military parade in Jerusalem in defiance of Resolution 250".
* Resolution 252: " . . . 'declares invalid' Israel's acts to unify Jerusalem as Jewish capital".
* Resolution 256: " . . . 'condemns' Israeli raids on Jordan as 'flagrant violation".
* Resolution 259: " . . . 'deplores' Israel's refusal to accept UN mission to probe occupation".
* Resolution 262: " . . . 'condemns' Israel for attack on Beirut airport".
* Resolution 265: " . . . 'condemns' Israel for air attacks for Salt in Jordan".
* Resolution 267: " . . . 'censures' Israel for administrative acts to change the status of Jerusalem".
*Resolution 270: " . . . 'condemns' Israel for air attacks on villages in southern Lebanon".
* Resolution 271: " . . . 'condemns' Israel's failure to obey UN resolutions on Jerusalem".
* Resolution 279: " . . . 'demands' withdrawal of Israeli forces from Lebanon".
* Resolution 280: " . . . 'condemns' Israeli's attacks against Lebanon".
* Resolution 285: " . . . 'demands' immediate Israeli withdrawal form Lebanon".
* Resolution 298: " . . . 'deplores' Israel's changing of the status of Jerusalem".
* Resolution 313: " . . . 'demands' that Israel stop attacks against Lebanon".
* Resolution 316: " . . . 'condemns' Israel for repeated attacks on Lebanon".
* Resolution 317: " . . . 'deplores' Israel's refusal to release Arabs abducted in Lebanon".
* Resolution 332: " . . . 'condemns' Israel's repeated attacks against Lebanon".
* Resolution 337: " . . . 'condemns' Israel for violating Lebanon's sovereignty".
* Resolution 347: " . . . 'condemns' Israeli attacks on Lebanon".
* Resolution 425: " . . . 'calls' on Israel to withdraw its forces from Lebanon".
* Resolution 427: " . . . 'calls' on Israel to complete its withdrawal from Lebanon.
* Resolution 444: " . . . 'deplores' Israel's lack of cooperation with UN peacekeeping forces".
* Resolution 446: " . . . 'determines' that Israeli settlements are a 'serious obstruction' to peace and calls on Israel to abide by the Fourth Geneva Convention".
* Resolution 450: " . . . 'calls' on Israel to stop attacking Lebanon".
* Resolution 452: " . . . 'calls' on Israel to cease building settlements in occupied territories".
* Resolution 465: " . . . 'deplores' Israel's settlements and asks all member states not to assist Israel's settlements program".
* Resolution 467: " . . . 'strongly deplores' Israel's military intervention in Lebanon".
* Resolution 468: " . . . 'calls' on Israel to rescind illegal expulsions of two Palestinian mayors and a judge and to facilitate their return".
* Resolution 469: " . . . 'strongly deplores' Israel's failure to observe the council's order not to deport Palestinians".
* Resolution 471: " . . . 'expresses deep concern' at Israel's failure to abide by the Fourth Geneva Convention".
* Resolution 476: " . . . 'reiterates' that Israel's claim to Jerusalem are 'null and void'".
* Resolution 478: " . . . 'censures (Israel) in the strongest terms' for its claim to Jerusalem in its 'Basic Law'".
* Resolution 484: " . . . 'declares it imperative' that Israel re-admit two deported Palestinian mayors".
* Resolution 487: " . . . 'strongly condemns' Israel for its attack on Iraq's nuclear facility".
* Resolution 497: " . . . 'decides' that Israel's annexation of Syria's Golan Heights is 'null and void' and demands that Israel rescinds its decision forthwith".
* Resolution 498: " . . . 'calls' on Israel to withdraw from Lebanon".
* Resolution 501: " . . . 'calls' on Israel to stop attacks against Lebanon and withdraw its troops".
* Resolution 509: " . . . 'demands' that Israel withdraw its forces forthwith and unconditionally from Lebanon".
* Resolution 515: " . . . 'demands' that Israel lift its siege of Beirut and allow food supplies to be brought in".
* Resolution 517: " . . . 'censures' Israel for failing to obey UN resolutions and demands that Israel withdraw its forces from Lebanon".
* Resolution 518: " . . . 'demands' that Israel cooperate fully with UN forces in Lebanon".
* Resolution 520: " . . . 'condemns' Israel's attack into West Beirut".
* Resolution 573: " . . . 'condemns' Israel 'vigorously' for bombing Tunisia in attack on PLO headquarters.
* Resolution 587: " . . . 'takes note' of previous calls on Israel to withdraw its forces from Lebanon and urges all parties to withdraw".
* Resolution 592: " . . . 'strongly deplores' the killing of Palestinian students at Bir Zeit University by Israeli troops".
* Resolution 605: " . . . 'strongly deplores' Israel's policies and practices denying the human rights of Palestinians.
* Resolution 607: " . . . 'calls' on Israel not to deport Palestinians and strongly requests it to abide by the Fourth Geneva Convention.
* Resolution 608: " . . . 'deeply regrets' that Israel has defied the United Nations and deported Palestinian civilians".
* Resolution 636: " . . . 'deeply regrets' Israeli deportation of Palestinian civilians.
* Resolution 641: " . . . 'deplores' Israel's continuing deportation of Palestinians.
* Resolution 672: " . . . 'condemns' Israel for violence against Palestinians at the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount.
* Resolution 673: " . . . 'deplores' Israel's refusal to cooperate with the United Nations.
* Resolution 681: " . . . 'deplores' Israel's resumption of the deportation of Palestinians.
* Resolution 694: " . . . 'deplores' Israel's deportation of Palestinians and calls on it to ensure their safe and immediate return.
* Resolution 726: " . . . 'strongly condemns' Israel's deportation of Palestinians.
* Resolution 799: ". . . 'strongly condemns' Israel's deportation of 413 Palestinians and calls for their immediate return.
And the UN is in itself not un-absurd, in it's patent inability to actually enforce any of these resolutions.
What? Worried that you might be called anti-Jew if you actively condemn bad behaviour?
Besides the various sides sitting down and having real dialogue (let the mothers of each country do it), how do governments think they are ever going to solve this Us vs. Them dilemma?