The Big Game


January 10, 2015

The man

There was a hush as I entered the pub today. All eyes were focused intensely on the football game that is unfolding on the multitude of TV screens that surround me. Five are within my gaze.

Navy blue and lime green beat a familiar pattern across this place. We’ve got a few Seattle fans up here in B.C.

Seattle Seahawks are blazing a path toward their second Superbowl championship in as many years.

Richard Sherman

The egomantics of this prize are inflated far beyond that of Good Year Blimp, of this I am certain, and for that reason I find myself contemplating sport in general. It makes me wonder about entertainment and our demand to be fed this litany of sport, movies, gossip, celebrity, etc.

Oh, I like my hockey. If the playoffs are on you can bet I’ll be curled up with a brew or two cheering on the home team.

I’ve never been much for football, however, or UFC, or golf, or tennis, or….

Several years ago my daughter I went to see the movie ‘Friday Night Lights’.

It was based on a high school football team in a run down Texas town that had seen better days. The opening shots of that movie had and still do have an impact.

The camera pans through a ghost town of run down shops sadly in need of repair. It is something of ghost town it would seem and then you see the signs.

‘Closed. At the Game.’

Then the camera leads you just outside of this ugly little town to this state of art football arena that looks so glaringly out of place. All of the townsfolk have conjoined to cheer on their team.

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Young men who can’t read are hoping for a college scholarship. Those not as talented are just hoping to get laid more than a few times by more than a few women.

(News Flash: Sherman is having a hissy fit about what, I cannot say at 6:08 PM in the 2nd quarter of the game. Seattle is up 7-0 with 11:03 left in the 2nd quarter)

Remember, you heard it here first folks!

They have seismology equipment on site as last weekend out at the University the roar of the crowd was recorded at 1.3 on the Richter scale. Again there is that desire in the States to pay homage to these demi-gods of theirs (a.k.a. football players).

We put so many people on a pedestal, don’t we?

My daughter and I chatted about this today. It is a human thing I suppose. I’ve had my crushes, my sweet desires. We all do.

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I’ve driven the streets of Vancouver with my daughter hanging from the passenger’s window waving a white flag to honour the Canucks in their run for the Stanley Cup.

(News Flash: The game is now all tied up at 7-7 at 6:16 PM)

This is not a new behaviour in the human equation. We have a certain blood lust born to us I believe. Think of the gladiators back in Roman times. No doubt there have been any and all manners of ‘sport’ over the years to entertain the masses.

We look for those heroes who will suffer mightily for the benefit of those (us) who adore and hold them and their suffrage to the highest esteem and in the efforts that have been made.

They seek to be our champions and we make them our legends.

Until the next best thing comes along.

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(News Flash: Seattle just scored another touchdown so with under 5 minutes in the 2nd half, they are up 14-7).

I guess these days I find we ever more caught up by these stallions, by these showdowns, by these events that are marketed to the max.

Hell, it brings in millions upon millions of dollars in revenue to local economies. Restaurants, pubs, sport shops, etc., well they live for this stuff.

A story on the news last night noted that the Seattle Seahawks were outselling the Vancouver Canucks in paraphernalia.

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Big news?

And 12 people were gunned down in Paris, France along with 4 hostages on the following day all in the name in Allah?

Why?

A satirical magazine published a less than favourable depiction of Mohammed moving what…I don’t know.

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And I felt so deeply saddened by this. What is happening to us?

That these ‘terrorists’, ‘religious zealots’ or whatever it is we are calling them these days are so entrapped in their fear and hate that they so firmly believe that ‘their’ God endorses their actions is not only sad and devastating, but it’s heartbreaking.

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Tell those in the U.S.A. that carrying guns (which is written into their constitution) doesn’t make them safer and if fact causes more harm than good and well…you’ll find your self on list of sorts. But I ask my southern neighbors this? Did the architects of your country have an AK-47 in mind when they signed said document?

Did the idea that a gun could blow the whole of person apart enter their mindset?

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This little Canadian gal thinks not.

I believe those who fought to lay out the foundations of your country had something far simpler in mind.

Don’t give me the crap that guns don’t kill people…people kill people. Guns were created for one purpose and that is to kill.

If you can live with some little child finding a parent’s gun and killing another and justifying this, or a child who is bullied and harassed walking into a school room and blowing everyone to bits, all the power to you.

Last year I wrote a blog about a murder here in Canada. It was the 4th murder of the year or some such thing but I was devastated. One of my American counterparts commented that we were making an awful fuss up here about just the 4th murder.

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I replied the day that I was indifferent to such things would hopefully find me having passed from this life.

It’s never okay and it is never justified.

I am watching all this violence escalating, then watching movie trailers for a film about Martin Luther King Jr.

Did we miss something here?

Ghandi fasted for peace. Mother Theresa took a vow of poverty. God apparently gave his only begotten son and what have we taken from all of this?

We’ve gotten really fucking good at killing each other.

Firefighters carry a victim on a stretcher at the scene after a shooting at the Paris offices of Charlie Hebdo, a satirical newspaper,

Now we have drones.

Hell, it won’t even affect us as it won’t really seem real. Just send a little ‘bot out there to eradicate the sons o’ bitches! Kind of like playing ‘Slaughterhouse’ or whatever video games we’ve developed to keep us ‘entertained.’

The lost art of conversation, the lost ability of human interaction?

We claim to adhere to love and forgiveness then trash the next set of misguided beings that are out to avenge their God.

High School kids sit in a booth in a diner texting each other. Look up. See the person…and try talking to them.

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And I’m feeling this odd disillusionment in what surrounds me.  In my mind it doesn’t seem that hard or all that difficult.

Just love.

A boy places flowers outside the Hyper Cacher kosher supermarket near Porte de Vincennes

And at halftime the Seahawks are up 14 to 10 against Carolina. It is 6:57 PM.

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The Human Condition


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The poster showcases a muscled beast of man with a shaved head and a trophy belt tossed over his shoulder as if it was merely an after thought. The expression, while shadowed, appears remote and angry, yet oddly defeated?

It is flanked by a framed sketch of a whipped latte and a cup of coffee.

The poster seems oddly out of place. Still, in this hang out of mine there are many contradictions.

I, myself, am one in many ways.

The balance between sinner and saint really is non-existent yet I foolishly try to sell this world this odd combination of what, I’m not too sure. I think I’m fooling myself more than anyone else.

And to what purpose?

It is simply a fact of being human I suppose.

I’ve been inflicted with this condition you see…no way around it. Some manage the human condition better than others. Then again it is dependent on so many infinite combinations, is it not?

The consumption of my meal is taking place as I listen idly to the conversations that are filtering through around me.

Germany apparently started both world wars. Ah yes, the quest to dominate, to run the whole show. Unfortunately far too many have sought that narrow minded way of thinking.

What is the imagined prize I cannot help but wonder.  Power?  Control?

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Our waitress prattled on at the table behind me about ‘Fright Nights’. The thrill, the excitement, the fear, the fun!

‘Fright Nights’ is basically our local fair ground reconstructed with Haunted Houses to celebrate the season of Halloween.  Oh yes, it has indeed become a season albeit a short one.

Staff members are dressed in grotesque costumes with frightening makeup and chase you about or jump out at you hoping to scare the bejeezus out of you.  Often they are very effective.

I’ve gone a few times.  One thing they do is turn the lights off on our glorious old wooden Roller Coaster. My friend Kathy and I went on it a few years back. They have a camera mounted to take your picture just as you make your first descend.

I don’t believe I’ve ever laughed so hard at our expressed horror. We bore the same expression with our then blonde manes practically in a vertical position upon our heads. Our eyes were wide, mouths open and the wind factor added a rather animated effect to our expression.

It was the most unflattering photo of the two of us ever and but one of the funniest.  .

I enjoyed it immensely but truth be told, I wasn’t willing to cough up twenty dollars for the damn thing.

After work today I met a woman I went to school with for a drink. She lives very close to my new place of employment so I danced across the street to the Deep Cove Brewery to sample their wares.

Impressive! Christmas giving will be full of spirits this year.

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Sharon was responsible for putting the cruise we went on earlier this year together.  And it was one of the best trips I’ve had.   And Sharon is a lovely woman.  She is in this life to live it fully and from what I can determine she’s doing a damn fine job of it.

And we make our choices on the direction we want our life to take, don’t we? Some of us do this with a great deal of clarity while many of us do this with blinders on.

Personally I’ve stumbled through this life’s journey and it has been an interesting one

At times we are all asked if we have any regrets.

The guy in the UFC poster I described earlier looks like he may have some, though it may debatable as to what the origin may be.

I love the line in ‘My Way’.

Regrets, I’ve had few…but then again…too few to mention…”

Perhaps I should have regrets. But at the end of the day, I have to accept that I made the decisions and choices that I did based upon the knowledge, or lack thereof, that was available to me at that time.

Expansion can only occur when you reconcile all the emotions that have bound you and release them.

Letting go of fears that have confined you for a lifetime, beliefs that may well have been misguided and the self-depreciating manner by which we subject ourselves to is not an easy task.

I’ve the muscled man in the UFC poster, a baseball game (the World Series) and a soccer game vying for my attention in a restaurant with about eight pages of food on their menu.

Pizza, pasta and beer.

I won’t be some skinny mini, of this you can be sure. I have no desire to be cut and rock solid.

I just want to enjoy a healthy body once again so that I can enjoy all the activities that I fought so hard to have in my life.

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Pizza and beer will not assist me in this endeavour. And while I try to persuade the rest of the world that these two items should indeed be considered superfoods, I can assure you that I am not too convincing. After all it is self motivated on my part and rather delusional at best.

We like what we like, even if our arteries are hardening at the thought of it.

The question of air pollution resulting from the use of automobiles certainly hasn’t deterred our desire to drive or our love affair with our automobiles.

And while I am trying to consciously cut down on the eco footprint that I am making, I know I could do better.

Why don’t I?

The answer to this is simple. I’m human. No, it’s not a cop out. We are conditioned and I am trying to change this on a daily basis, trying to turn those habits that have been ingrained into something far more constructive and benefical.

I want to be a kinder and gentler being. Oh, there are many things I want to aspire to. There is a bombardment of stimuli, good and incredibly bad, that I and everyone else inhabiting this planet is assaulted with each day.

Dear old technology rushes and washes over us like a tsunami. Oddly, we welcome the assault.

The news about the iPhone 6 and its release to the world held my attention simply in the absurdity that people were waiting in lines over night to attain this new object

Why?

So why the fascination and the must have? Will it change your life? Make it better than it was a day ago?  Not likely.

But again, it all comes back to the human condition.

That moment of supremacy, however fleeting, when you feel you’ve got the edge on this thing we call life.

Stick that phone in the pocket of your jeans and find out the next day that it’s warped.

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Back in the 1970’s women were making a real mark on their position in this world. They were challenging the role that they had been cast in on every level. Equality, fairness in the workplace, and a host of other inequities founded the women’s movement.

Then someone whispered in a woman’s ear…you’ll be far more successful if you dress like this and look like that.

We were on coltish legs understand and suddenly those insecurities were turned inward.

Today aging is considered a disease. It can be fixed though. There is a surgical procedure for everything now.

Wrinkles? Botox

Fat belly? Liposuction.

Sagging lips? Collegen shots.

Boobs? Implants or a reduction.

And to what purpose?

How will this enhance our human experience?

I really don’t think it will.  Oh, you might well think that the $10,000 that you spent on correcting the flaws that society insisted made you unacceptable will improve the quality of life…but sadly that can only come with acceptance of who you are.

With every perceived imperfection included in this acceptance.

Last year when chemotherapy induced the departure of my hair, I stood in the shower rather fascinated by the wads that slipped so easily from my head. My daughter shaved the remainder off at my request.

I stood for a time gazing at this bald head of mine.

It was a humbling moment yet equally liberating.

How much stock I put into my daily appearance, wanting to be accepted, wanting to be found desirable, and ultimately wanting to be loved.

Nothing had changed in my personage…just my appearance. I was the same woman I was a day ago, only now I was bald.

And it’s a dramatic change in such a visual society as ours.

But I’m alive. I’ve got another day, another moment, another chance.

These days the news is filled with men dressed in black beheading their fellow man.

Why?

Ebola is raging through West Africa and as it turns its insidious direction toward our continent the tendrils of fear are building.

Why are we not sending our knowledge and medicines over to West Africa?   Why are we not trying to save these people?

Oh, government officials will stand up for posterity’s sake and say they’ve committed so much to the effort while we watch yet another diseased body being lifted onto a gurney by a people wrapped in plastic.

What the fuck is going on?

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Lineups for days for the iPhone 6?

And everything is supersized or minimized. Our manic senses need to be filled. We need to feel normal in this abnormal world. We need to find sense in the non-sensical.

I saw the image on TV.

A figure shrouded in black standing next to a man in orange who was on his knees in all his fragility. A desert backdrop lent so much despair to the situation.

I gazed at the figure in black. What struck me was that this person had never known love; had never truly experienced its power. They wouldn’t be taking off a fellow man’s head had they.

And this saddened me so deeply.

They take these boys at such a young age. Feed them hate, fear and loathing. Promise things that will never be attained.

Now take a step back. I know it’s horrific. I know they need to be held accountable.

But what are we feeding the young minds of this world?

Love, compassion, empathy?  Gotta wonder.

Be a size zero, get your masters in anything, have a line of credit to live off because you’ll be paying off your student loan well into your 40’s, then pretend that you’re not polluting the world in that 3,000 sq. ft. home you live in that you can’t afford.

And across the globe young boys are being conditioned to serve a master that detests all you believe to be good and true.

They believe if they walk into a busy marketplace and blow themselves up and take a few of the bad guys with them, they are assured with their death that 76 virgins will greet them.

I’ve got a sneaking suspicion that it’s the same 76 virgins for each and ever fool who tosses the gift of life away for an angry god.

And isn’t that the crux of it all?

We all think we know, believe we’ve been shown the way, the path….

The very fact that the man in black beside the victim to be persecuted is so well covered speaks volumes.

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They know it’s wrong. Gazing into that damnable camera they know it’s insidious.

That is why they are hiding, covering themselves.

Again, it is the human condition.

And I hurt for them as much as I do for the soul who is on his knees begging for mercy, for their life as they are remembering the love afforded them. In that moment they want to be enveloped by it, wrapped in it, lost in it.

And the one to take it from them, who stands shrouded in black covets it.  Yet he’ll never admit to it.

A week ago I stood in this town of mine and watched and took some shots as we commemorated a photograph that was taken at the beginning of World War II.

A young boy broke from his mother’s grasp reaching for his father who was marching off to war.

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I am a photographer, albeit an amateur. But I know why this shot struck a nerve worldwide and still does.

There is an honesty to the anguish, to the fear….

It is the last photo of the family as a unit.  A small boy in that moment knew somewhere deep within that his life was about to be forever changed.

And as I continue to see horrific images of people dying horrific deaths, I’ve no answers.

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I got up this morning and readied myself for work.

God, it was beautiful out! The moon still flirted in her magnificence, while the clouds that lingered shone pink and a mist hung mysteriously on the river wrapping the trees in a sultry manner.

I stopped to get my morning coffee and man I see frequently was curled up on the sidewalk.

“Could you mange a coffee for me this morning?” he asked.

“ Sure. You good with cream and sugar?”

I got him a muffin as well.

We exchanged pleasantries when I delivered the goods and he thanked me.

As I drove into work, an obscure thought slipped through the grey matter.

“What if this guy were Jesus in the expected second coming?”

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How many of us see these people as being invisible?  There are so many out there now, too many.  I don’t know what brought him to this point, in his life but as stated earlier, we make our choices then we live with the results.

Still, for some, well likely for many, the road is not quite as conquerable as we’d like.

I am a bit odd in that I’ve got the tenacity of a badger and the heart of horse. I look for the good, seek the good yet I’ve known enough crap to appreciate life on a whole different level.

And we only have this day.

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I wake each morning grateful. Another shot at doing, another chance to make a difference, another opportunity to influence change?

And I’m no one special; just a woman who has far too many things running through her head at any given time.

I am preparing at 8:39 PM to head home. The ad in the bathroom stall is somewhat confusing.

Collectible plastic toys are being offered. There are 800 in all. And as I do my business I find myself saddened. Sell your condoms, your taxis, your warnings about smoking or drinking too much…but toys?

What does that say about our footprint?

Another poster of the UFC guy is hanging in the bathroom.

Pausing I look at the image. I wash my hands and leave.

Nothing much to say really. They are selling a product. One I don’t adhere to and it makes me feel sad simply because of it’s physicality and intent.

Oh, I can assure you that when I watch hockey this year I won’t turn in horror when the gloves come off.

And again, it comes down to conditioning.

I am feeling chilled. Time to head home and wrap a fleece blanket about my feet.

We only this moment.

Enjoy it.

Peace be with you always and may love always shine its light.

For Art’s Sake


 

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I’ve been out for the majority of this day. It’s been a good one, a rich one.

The plan had originally been to head out to Deep Cove and hike up Quarry Rock then grab a nibble.  A late night and the uncertainty of the weather had my daughter and I going for breakfast in Deep Cove and later exploring Cates Park.

Now that I am working over in the area its time to reacquaint myself with my surroundings.

It really is beautiful.

Later we went back to my daughter’s home and had some tea.  I then left to meet up with some friends to take in Douglas Coupland’s exhibit at the Vancouver Art Gallery.

This, quite frankly, was one the best exhibits I’ve seen a good long while. It pounced and stung quickly.

A table containing a chewed up plastic container with rusted out aerosol cans and the like inserted into the slots greeted us. The table base of styrofoam and plastic was rigged with wires….

An explosive thought, yes?  This was going to be good!

Photographing the pieces was highly encouraged. Lego structures were featured quite prominently. Then I began to think about what these plastic pieces were made from.

Can you destroy a Lego piece? I’m really not too sure.

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Images and structures continued to assault and intrigue the senses. Each section of the exhibit was deliberate in its intent. One display held one hundred housing constructs made from Lego. All were identical in their suburban design. This was the dream sold to the masses after World War II.

Everyone would have the home with the white picket fence, a car in the drive, two and a half children, with two weeks vacation every year.

It was the ideal that was sold to a war weary world and we bought it.

Consumerism was born in a big way.

Now you had to have the automatic washer and dryer, then the colour TV. Of course, TV dinners came into play and my God, the things that decorated our homes!

Plastic fruit in garish bowls adorned our coffee tables. Velvet Elvis’ hung on the wall while red shag carpeting covered our floors.

Polyester clothing became the rage.

And do you know the one thing these all have in common? Oil.

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They have an oil based compound in their makeup. All plastics do.

We came into a room that housed a miniature town of nuclear reactors, an automotive assembly plant, electrical grids galore and cameras everywhere.

I leaned in to study the intricacies of this designed piece. One of the cameras moved to watch me and so now curious I moved to my left.

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It followed me.

I moved to my right and yes, it followed me. I repeated this several times with the same result.

I stepped back then repeated my movements. Nothing.

So they had set it up with a sensor. Brilliant!

Big brother is watching. Always…should you happen to get to close.

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The next room screamed at me.

“I miss my pre-internet Brain”

The walls were filled with identically sized canvases of various colours with phrases on them such as the one above. And perhaps because I’ve started a new job where I am stepping back in time in terms of technology and using a DOS based progam, there is a certain appreciation and reflection of how far we travelled on this technological yellow brick road.

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And like those erstwhile characters who travelled to Oz, will we find that we had everything we wanted but were just to sidetracked or blind to see it?

We stepped into the next room and I felt the swell of emotion hit me. In the center of the room stood two structures designed to replicate the twin towers in New York. The walls were covered with geometric dotted art pieces.

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They didn’t look like much visually. It wasn’t until you raised your camera phone that the image came through.

And tears stung my eyes.

The dots were the people jumping from the twin towers on that fateful day. One was of Bin Laden.

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I stood for a moment contemplating the obscurity of these images.

Do you know how much our world changed that day? It changed dramatically and irrevocably for the worst. Fear championed that day. We were collectively horrified at the darkness humanity had fallen to.

And for no other reason other than it is intrinsically instilled in our DNA, we laid the blame on one man.

Bin Laden, who would live out his days in the caves of Afghanistan. He’d surface from time to time uttering the all too common phrase ‘Death to America.’

And this was the face of evil personified.

The final room of the exhibit held a plethora of items, all made from plastics and other manufactured textures.

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Several oil cans were bunched together surrounded by toys that had been produced with said product and with the intent of being inconspicuous was the plastic model of a duck drowned in oil.

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This was tucked at the base and could have been easily missed. Perhaps that was the point as all too often in this life we turn the other cheek so to speak. Easy to adopt the out of sight, out of mind kind of crap.

We then went upstairs and checked out the other features that were being displayed.

Some of the pieces are interactive art. And I really like these pieces. One that has been up for awhile shows a red curtain. A few moments later an older woman, rather dowdy in appearance, rather bookish as it were steps through the curtains. She is wearing a shapeless deep blue suit with sensible black shoes.

She stands with hands folded in front of her. A nervous smile plays upon her lips.

I’ve seen this before and I know what this piece intends.

So I stood next to my friend and watched.

She was feeling anxious, a tightness in her chest. This would shift subtly to exasperation. Then the sense of being a little annoyed would wash over her.

About seven minutes in the woman is shifting a bit….though it is very subtle.

I asked my friend. “Do you feel fatigued? Tired and heavy?”

She did.

“Does the woman appear tired and exhausted from standing before an audience?”

My friend nodded.

Then the woman turns and disappears behind the curtain.

Not a word is spoken…yet the emotional kaleidoscope provoked is intriguing.

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What do you see in this image?

Douglas Coupland is an author as well, best known for penning “Generation X”.

There was a portion that totally intrigued.

He took the pages from his book and chewed them into pulp. He then shaped them into hornet nests. He also had real hornet nests in attendance (minus the hornets) to provide an honest comparison.

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The challenge in this piece was the longevity of the written word.

Art should make you think. It should inspire on some level.

They had a feature upstairs that displayed landscapes, portraiture and the like. What could possibly be interesting about portraiture, you ask?

I like to try and divine the expression that’s been captured. That is the intrigue for me in this form.

Landscapes can be dramatic or just plain.

Again, art is very subjective. We are not going to like all of what we see.

It is those moments when the pieces scream at us and yes, we get it. That is what I look for, that is what I live for.

When someone’s work speaks so eloquently to me, then the artist has done their job.

And I leave myself open daily. Each day I exist has an altruistic element to me.
And this is what Douglas Coupland had to say regarding this exhibit and I quote.

“I look back at myself two decades ago, and I think of how different me and my brain were back then…and how differently I looked at the world and how I communicated with others. The essential ‘me’ is still here…it just relates to the universe much differently. What will the world look like when anywhere becomes everywhere becomes everything becomes anything? We’re almost there.”

Douglas Coupland

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My friends and I later went for a nibble and discussed some fascinating topics. We spoke of the tragedies of this world, of its beauty and our responsibility to it.

In that context I have only myself to hold to account in how I interact with the world that has been provided to me and that, like a blank canvas, is up to me to give back.

It struck me today this odd sense of entitlement we have. These gadgets we’ve been told that will make out lives unspeakably happy.

The house that once looked like a million others, has now escalated to a family room (aka great room?), a living room, a kitchen, an eating area, a formal dining room, master bedroom with full ensuite (shower, soaker tub or Jacuzzi, double sinks and a walk-in closet). Then of course all the other bedrooms should have a bathroom. Balconies and BBQ pits and hey, you really should have an in home theatre. A bliss room is good along with an in-house gym as long as you’re in it for the long haul.

When did this become normal?

Do you know the ecological footprint you’re leaving in wanting and having all this?

And what is the point?

Are you above me because you’ve managed to assemble these accruements into your life?

It takes a lot of energy to produce this and a great deal more to maintain it.

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And personally I want to focus more on sending out the love that I feel so blessed to have in my life back out into this world.

Things won’t make me special or important. Just living with a grateful and forgiving heart will, and in my mind, give back to this world that has offered so much.

If there is a secret to this life, I haven’t a clue. I’ll just venture down this avenue and seriously enjoy all that’s been afforded to me.

Douglas Coupland’s exhibit gave me serious cause to pause and really look at how I can improve my interactions with our organic world.  After all, I am an organic being.  We all are.

If you live in Vancouver or have access to the VAG I would strongly suggest you check out this exhibit. It is my understanding that this show will be moving to Montreal at the end of September.

Any feedback you have is always welcome and thanks for checking out this post.

Namaste.

The Learned


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There is a teacher’s strike brewing here in British Columbia.  They began withdrawing all the ‘extras’ a while ago and now they are escalating the disruption of services provided by initiating rotating strikes.

All the years that my daughter went to school the above analogy played out every few years.

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I suppose the thing that frustrates me personally is that the issues the teachers complained about during my daughter’s time in the public school system are still being bitterly fought over with the government.

Considering how this battle has raged on, you would think the quality of the education being dished up has improved?  Sadly, no it has not.

This is not a slam against teachers.  It’s not a slam against government but rather against the whole system and how it’s set up.

It is no longer working.  Why?

Over the years it has become increasingly fractured.  As the union and government quibble over money, benefits, class size, special needs, etc., and a few more generations of students are heading out into this world not really prepared.

I say keep it simple.

No computers in the classroom from grades one to six.  Introduce them then and only then as a learning tool.  Nothing more.  These days they’ve become a lifeline.

Cursive writing is being abolished from the school system.  Why?

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This one tool is major in the brain’s development in terms of creativy and cognitive functions.  Yet the decision has been made on what and how we want to teach children.

Did you know that the illiteracy rate has made a dramatic rise?  Are you really surprised? Apparently 40% of students these days are borderline illiterate.

WTF?!  (A display of just one of the problems)

And what is the role of education?  Is it not there to teach our children how to become criticaly thinkers, free thinkers?  Is it not there to challenge them to question and value the world we live in?  Is it not there to provide the rudimentary tools of how to learn, how to reason?

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I would be a tough teacher but I would be a passionate one.

I am certainly not an academic.  Not even close.  Yet I am intelligent.  Were I able to teach the biggest payoff would be knowing that what I had conveyed to my class was based on the facts given. And if there were other viewpoints, those too should be observed and debated.

To teach someone to think for themselves, to explore their talents, to evolve…

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That would be an enormous blessing.

Yet the job gets muddled up in contracts and harried teachers trying to work within a system that has long been broken and are seemingly ever pessimistic about the process.

A smiling Premier who looks like she should be doing a toothpaste commercial rather than trying to run a province, grins into the camera and ensures us that ‘our children come first.’

Tell that to all those who are graduating and not certain if their diploma will be awarded to them.

Ms. ‘Aw Shucks Golly Gee’ just spews the same bullshit that her predecesors have.

With every election I’ve ever voted in the issues remain the same.

Jobs. Education.  The Economy.  Affordable Housing. Health Care.

It’s getting old.

If you’ve not heard, Levar Burton is trying to bring back The Reading Rainbow. Power to him.

There are two things that should always be taught in school and that is reading and writing.  Those two elements will open a mind to many worlds.

Jim Carrey recently gave a commencement speech.  At the end he told them…

“You have two choices when you walk through those doors.  Love or fear.  Choose love.”

Could we go back to basics?  Could we roll up our sleeves and pull our head out of our asses and see that this foolish power struggle between union and government is leaving far too many casualties?

I never graduated high school.  A stormy home life found me on my own at the age of sixteen.  Much of what I’ve learned has come from my love of reading and writing.

I know too that learning is a lifelong committment.  It is being able to assess information that is offered up and being able to deduce its value.

Education should be free.  These days, like so many other things in this world, it has become a commodity.

Foreign students pay handsomely to attend our post-secondary facilities. At home, students take out loans that won’t be paid off until they are in their late 30’s early 40’s training for jobs that are no longer guaranteed.

Maybe, just maybe we need to do a serious overhaul.

But remember too, education starts in the home.  This is where the seeds should be planted and encouraged to grow. There is no blame being dished out.  Simply an observation on some issues that require our attention.

http://blogs.marketwatch.com/themargin/2014/05/28/marc-andreessen-following-jim-carreys-career-advice-isnt-a-good-strategy/

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