a little east of reality

Saturday, April 28, 2007

wept like a baby watching this video

This is a shortened version of the story - for the whole thing follow the title link or just watch the video. I've mainly included the text in case anyone can't access the youtube video. People like this are so inspiring. We have so much strength that we don't realise until something calls it from us. I wish it was easier to tap into my potential as a human being without waiting for some terrible challenge to demand it of me. Dick Hoyt at half speed would make my life look unfulfilled.

The story:

Rick Hoyt (Dick's son) was strangled by the umbilical cord during birth, leaving him brain-damaged and unable to control his limbs.
"He'll be a vegetable the rest of his life;'' Dick says doctors told him And his wife, Judy, when Rick was nine months old. ``Put him in an institution.''
But the Hoyts weren't buying it. They noticed the way Rick's eyes Followed them around the room. When Rick was 11 they took him to the Engineering department at Tufts University and asked if there was anything to help the boy communicate. ``No way,'' Dick says he was told. ``There's nothing going on in his brain.''
"Tell him a joke,'' Dick countered. They did. Rick laughed. Turns out a lot was going on in his brain. Rigged up with a computer that allowed him to control the cursor by touching a switch with the side of his head, Rick was finally able to communicate. First words? ``Go Bruins!'' And after a high school classmate was paralyzed in an accident and the school organized a charity run for him, Rick pecked out, ``Dad, I want to do that.''
Yeah, right. How was Dick, a self-described ``porker'' who never ran more than a mile at a time, going to push his son five miles? Still, he tried. ``Then it was me who was handicapped,'' Dick says. ``I was sore for two weeks.''
That day changed Rick's life. ``Dad,'' he typed, ``when we were running, It felt like I wasn't disabled anymore!''
And that sentence changed Dick's life. He became obsessed with giving Rick that feeling as often as he could. He got into such hard-belly shape that he and Rick were ready to try the 1979 Boston Marathon.

Eighty-five times he's pushed his disabled son, Rick, 26.2 miles in marathons. Eight times he's not only pushed him 26.2 miles in a wheelchair but also towed him 2.4 miles in a dinghy while swimming and pedaled him 112 miles in a seat on the handlebars--all in the same day. Dick's also pulled him cross-country skiing, taken him on his back mountain climbing and once hauled him across the U.S. on a bike.

This year, at ages 65 and 43, Dick and Rick finished their 24th Boston Marathon, in 5,083rd place out of more than 20,000 starters. Their best time? Two hours, 40 minutes in 1992--only 35 minutes off the world record, which, in case you don't keep track of these things, happens to be held by a guy who was not pushing another man in a wheelchair at the time.
``No question about it,'' Rick types. ``My dad is the father of the century.''
And Dick got something else out of all this too. Two years ago he had a mild heart attack during a race. Doctors found that one of his arteries was 95% clogged. ``If you hadn't been in such great shape,'' one doctor told him, ``you probably would've died 15 years ago.'' So, in a way, Dick and Rick saved each other's life.
Rick, who has his own apartment (he gets home care) and works in Boston, and Dick, retired from the military and living in Holland, Mass. , always find ways to be together. They give speeches around the country and compete in some backbreaking race every weekend, including this Father's Day.
That night, Rick will buy his dad dinner, but the thing he really wants to give him is a gift he can never buy.
``The thing I'd most like,'' Rick types, ``is that my dad sit in the chair and I push him once.''

Wow. Seriously, wow.

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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

lucky these gaps are in my blog and not my teeth

...or I wouldn't be able to chew steak, ever. Days go by as I look longingly at my blog and think of all the stuff I want to write about.

Now I'm heading off to Melbourne for six days and not sure how I'm going to go getting to a computer there. I'll try to at least check in once. I have a nice variety of stuff planned, so at least there'll be lots to tell you when I get home.

In news of the moment, I just had my first day this year where I got out of the shower and thought, "yeah, time to put a heater back in the bathroom". The winter quilt (100% goosedown, baby!) is being fluffed up after long months in a box, and yesterday I bought myself some winter PJs. They are soft and warm and not at all sexy, with little monkeys (yo, Ai! (my monkey-loving friend...okay that just sounds wrong somehow. my friend who likes monkeys and stuff with monkeys on) and stars and the words 'sweet slumber' all over them.

And now I'm going to go get me some o' that sweet slumber, so I don't do any sweet sleeping-in and miss my sweet plane.

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Friday, April 20, 2007

i think i might need one of these

Will he fit in my stationery drawer?

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i can't believe i'm feeling sorry for simon cowell

But I am. This Idol judge is pretty caustic when it comes to performances and he cops a lot of flack for his comments, but this week he's in a real pickle for something he never intended to do.

In case you haven't heard about the incident, basically the camera cut-away seems to show him rolling his eyes at a contestant's condolences to the families of the victims of the Virginia Tech shootings. However, it wasn't the condolences he was rolling his eyes at. He had just made a comment about the contestant singing the song very nasally. Rather than accept the criticism and move on, the contestant explained that he'd been singing nasally on purpose because he thought it was the right sound for the song.

Apparently he turned to Paula Abdul and said something along the lines of, 'right, he sang nasally on purpose' and then rolled his eyes. Because he was mumbling to her, he didn't even realise what else the guy had said. The timing was truly awful and I'm stunned that they left it in the final edit of the show. It's not like that show goes out live. Some people have said he's just making excuses, but I don't have any trouble believing it. I certainly would have been rolling my eyes at anyone saying they were intentionally making their performance sound nasal, and Simon tuning out on what the guy was saying at that point sounds just like him.

They say the camera never lies, but actually I think the camera's pretty good at it.


Wednesday, April 18, 2007

i rock. yes i do.

My mother likes bright colours, so when I send her flowers I tend to ask for gerbers and that kind of flower. They're so vivid and happy-looking. But this birthday I decided I'd done the gerber thing to death, so I asked them to send her roses in various colours, none pale. Apparently the florist outdid herself, because Mum has spoken to me three times now about how beautiful they are. One variety is one colour in the middle and another on the tips, and got more beautiful as it opened. As soon as my mum figures out how to use her new digital camera and sends me pictures, I'll post one for you.

Then the package arrived. In it was a book she had told me about maybe six weeks ago. She'd wanted it, but it wasn't readily available in Australia. I said I'd look into it and then promptly pretended to forget all about it. She conveniently did forget about it, until she found it in her mailbox yesterday morning.

Part of the conversation:
Mum: Thanks! I'll love you forever!
Chosha: Was that not on the cards before the book arrived?
Mum: Oh, you know what I mean...

Yes Mum, I do know what you mean. That I rock!!! Woohoo! Sorry I have to end this post and go bask in my own glory now. :)

(PS...and what book had her in such paroxisms of estasy? No, I'm not kidding. My mum is so cute.)

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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

context is everything

I'm kind of stunned sometimes as just how stupid people can be. I'm usually fairly tolerant of cultural sensitivities such as the Indian taboo against kissing in public (even while raising an eyebrow at the fact that they won't show a kiss in a movie, but will spend half of the same movie gyrating in a near-frenzy of sexually-charged dance moves). But the furore over Richard Gere kissing Shilpa Shetty on the cheek is making my blood boil.

It's the context that makes the whole thing so hypocritical. This "shocking" display of public affection ~ which prompted protests, effigy burnings, calls for the actors' deaths and public apologies, and three law suits ~ occurred at an AIDS awareness rally targeting one of India high-risk groups, truckers. Many of this group of men have helped spread the HIV virus across India by having unprotected sex with prostitutes during their trips and then infecting their wives with it when they go home. And this very public rally was not asking the truckers to stop cheating on their wives. Oh no, it was merely asking them to wear a condom while they do it.

Apparently though, they must have cheated on their wives (and later infected them with a deadly virus) in private, because amazingly there are no protests about this genuinely shocking sexual misconduct. No-one is burning effigies of truckers and creating public law suits against them. No, the protesters are going to save all their time, energy and flammable materials for two people who shared a friendly, consensual kiss on the cheek.

Seriously, is it any wonder the world is in the state it's in when so many people insist on being completely obsessed with trivial crap, while completely ignoring real and genuinely terrible issues that are right in front of their face?

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Saturday, April 14, 2007

vote lazy!

Direct from my sidebar to your eyes. Lazy Blogger's been on my list of blogs to keep track of for some time now. I enjoy his travel stories and especially his photos. Now he's been nominated for a Blogger's Choice Award, so I'm putting in a little plug for his blog.

You need to sign up (free) to vote, but maybe you already have from voting in previous years. LB's nomination is for Best Travel Blog. But this isn't a plea for a mercy vote ~ just check out the nominated sites if you're so inclined, and if you agree he has something to offer, then give him your vote.

And check out his blog today, because today he happens to be featuring the island where I was born! Here's the link.

I see Dan Boud has been published again. I love watching his career in rock photography take off. I'll be voting for Boudist for best photography blog. I know lots of people who take good photos, but Dan not only catches some amazing live concert shots (hard to do) but he also shares his knowledge on how to do it ~ pretty cool!


Thursday, April 12, 2007


I had no idea that there was a trailer out for Stardust, even though it's supposed to be released in Spring, which it is now in parts of the world where the release date info is given. There are some differences from the book in the settings or the way certain things happen, but overall I just love it. Can't wait to see the whole movie!

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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

if only i was a scum-sucking parasite

If I was a lowlife paparazzo (or would that be paparazza because I'm a girl?) willing to lurk outside people's homes or invade their privacy every moment of the day, I'd have it made. Apparently one half decent photo of Jake and Reese together could pay off every cent of debt I have, buy me a new car and an overseas holiday and leave enough change for me to put a deposit on an apartment. Does Photoshop count?
If you happen to have a camera close by, one new couple will earn you the really big bucks.
"Jake Gyllenhaal and Reese Witherspoon are Hollywood's hottest and newest couple and we haven't seen them together yet," says Splash News Online editor, Gary Morgan. "So a picture of these two will guarantee you a six-figure sum."
Morgan has some of his best men (armed with lots of lenses) stationed around the Brentwood/Westwood area where Witherspoon and Gyllenhaal have been working out and eating out.
The Hollywood hotties have apparently been dating for two months, but they are "taking it slow, having meals at home and being cautious," according to a Witherspoon pal.
"The last place you'd ever see them is at The Ivy," says Morgan. "This isn't Posh and Becks. The last thing they want is attention but we are dying to find them and give it to them."
Paparazzi are also perched outside their million-dollar mansions just in case one half of the couple drops by to visit the other.
In case you missed it, I loathe paparazzi. But it gives you a bit of insight into why they do what they do, no?

Oh and did I mention he's hot? I know the subject came up several times in my head while I was trawling Google images breathlessly looking for a photo to add to this post.

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Monday, April 09, 2007

another meme (oh just humour me)

From mad baggage:

1. Can you cook? Yes, but it's mostly a small range of things I do well and a large range of things I've never tried. (Shhh, don't tell my friend jojo. He's under the impression I'm a really good cook.)
2. What was your dream growing up? To be a teacher. Lame, I know. Teachers are great, but wanting to be one when you are a kid in school suggests lack of imagination to me.
3. What talent do you wish you had? Drawing, art. If not that, then perfect pitch.
4. Favorite place? Osaka, specifically. Near the ocean, generally.
5. Favorite vegetable? Broccoli? Potato maybe?
6. What was the last book you read? Sadly it was Tuesdays with Maurie. Sad because that was three weeks ago. I need more time for reading.
7. What zodiac sign are you? Virgo.
8. Any Tattoos and/or Piercings? No, except my ears (pierced, not tattooed). If I ever got a tattoo, which really isn't very likely, it would be a dragonfly and on my shoulder.
9. Worst Habit? Procrastination.
10. Do you personally know anybody on Blog? Yes, but no-one (yet!) that I met through their blog first, just real life friends who now blog.
11. What is your favorite sport? To play, field hockey. To watch, I don't have one. I like lots of sports ~ soccer, baseball, table tennis, gymanstics.
12. Negative or Optimistic attitude? Optimistic realism.
13. What would you do if you were stuck in an elevator lift with someone of the opposite sex? Nothing much. There might be cameras. :)
14. Worst thing to ever happen to you? Upcoming job in Japan fell through at the very last moment, while I was on holiday back home in Australia, and with all my belongings still in Japan. I wasn't emotionally prepared to go home and it made me sad for a long time.
15. Tell me one weird fact about you. I'm told liking salt on oranges is weird.
16. Do you have any pets? No, but have had cats, dogs and budgies in the past. Even had lizards for about 40min, until my mother found out.
17. Do you know how to do the macarena? No, I've avoided that pretty well, I think.
18. Is the sun shining where you are now? Ten minutes to midnight, so no.
19. Do you think clowns are cute or scary? Scary, especially toy clowns. Seen Poltergeist?
20. If you could change one thing about how you look, what would it be? Thinner, but not scarily so.
21. Would you be my good angel or bad angel? Depends on the situation. Mostly good. ;)
22. What color eyes do you have? Blue around the pupil, hazel edging that.
23. Ever been arrested? Fashion police count? I was around in the 80s.
24. Bottle or Draft? Neither.
25. If you won £10,000 today, what would you do with it? Pay off a loan, buy a car.
26. What kind of bubble gum do you prefer to chew? Grape Hubba Bubba.
27. What's your favorite bar to hang at? The Lighthouse, especially on open mike night.
28. Do you believe in ghosts? Yes, but I don't think everything described as a ghost is one.
29. Favorite thing to do in your spare time? Internet, movies, read.
30. Do you swear a lot? No, but probably more than I should.
31. Biggest pet peeve? People who are inconsistent with their kids and then complain about their behaviour.
32. In one word, how would you describe yourself? Waiting.


books read, or not

Book meme from Jay, who didn't tag me, but I tend to borrow any meme I think is fun anyway.
Bold print means I've read it, italics mean I'd like to, and like the two memesters before me in the line I've added some titles of my own. I think this is some kind of 'best books ever' list. I've added books I found profoundly interesting, but didn't stop too long to think - they were the first ten that came to mind. Don't think of them necessarily as recommendations. Palahniuk in particular is not for the faint-hearted, though he'll make you think for weeks afterward.

1. The Da Vinci Code (Dan Brown)
2. Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)
3. To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee)
4. Gone With The Wind (Margaret Mitchell)
5. The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (Tolkien)
6. The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (Tolkien)
7. The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers (Tolkien)
8. Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery)
9. Outlander (Diana Gabaldon)
10. A Fine Balance (Rohinton Mistry)
11. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Rowling)
12. Angels and Demons (Dan Brown)
13. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Rowling)
14. A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving)
15. Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden)
16. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Rowling)
17. Fall on Your Knees (Ann-Marie MacDonald)
18. The Stand (Stephen King)
19. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Rowling)
20. Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte)
21. The Hobbit (Tolkien)
22. The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger)
23. Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)
24. The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold)
25. Life of Pi (Yann Martel) (Jay, it's nothing like the movie Pi. That movie was one of the most fascinating things I've ever watched, but it nearly did my head in. And it was so random me even seeing it either - was bussing from Sydney to Adelaide, stopped in Melbourne and was trying to kill about five hours before getting on the next bus. Wandered into an independent theatre a little sleepy from the 11 hour bus ride and suddenly that movie was melting my brain. Can't quite imagine it in book form.)
26. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams)
27. Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte)
28. The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (C. S. Lewis)
29. East of Eden (John Steinbeck)
30. Tuesdays with Morrie (Mitch Albom)
Read this last month actually.
31. Dune (Frank Herbert)
32. The Notebook (Nicholas Sparks) Movie was corny sweet.
33. Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand) Interesting ideas, but that whole 'never allows anyone to edit her work' thing really didn't work in her favour.
34. 1984 (Orwell)
35. The Mists of Avalon (Marion Zimmer Bradley)

36. The Pillars of the Earth (Ken Follett)
37. The Power of One (Bryce Courtenay)
38. I Know This Much is True (Wally Lamb)
39. The Red Tent (Anita Diamant)
40. The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho) Deceptively simple. My favourite of all his books.
41. The Clan of the Cave Bear (Jean M. Auel)
42. The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini)
43. Confessions of a Shopaholic (Sophie Kinsella)
44. The Five People You Meet In Heaven (Mitch Albom)
45. Bible
46. Anna Karenina (Tolstoy) Sounds depressing.
47. The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas)
48. Angela’s Ashes (Frank McCourt) Even though it also sounds depressing.
49. The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck)
50. She’s Come Undone (Wally Lamb)
51. The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver)
52. A Tale of Two Cities (Dickens)
53. Ender’s Game (Orson Scott Card)
54. Great Expectations (Dickens)
55. The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald)
56. The Stone Angel (Margaret Laurence)
57. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Rowling)
58. The Thorn Birds (Colleen McCullough)
59. The Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood)
60. The Time Traveller’s Wife (Audrew Niffenegger)
61. Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)
62. The Fountainhead (Ayn Rand) Rand is tedious.
63. War and Peace (Tolstoy)
64. Interview With The Vampire (Anne Rice) The only Anne Rice book I've read, though I do love vampire stories.
65. Fifth Business (Robertson Davis)
66. One Hundred Years Of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
67. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (Ann Brashares)
68. Catch-22 (Joseph Heller)

69. Les Miserables (Hugo) Saw the stage musical, which was wonderful.
70. The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupery) I wanted to like it a lot more than I did.
71. Bridget Jones’ Diary (Fielding)
72. Love in the Time of Cholera (Marquez) Heard this title so many times and seen it featured so many times in movies as someone's favourite book, I really must find out what all the fuss is about.
73. Shogun (James Clavell)
74. The English Patient (Michael Ondaatje) No interest whatsoever in reading this. Hated the movie, especially the ending which I found annoying in the extreme (it WASN'T a good enough explanation for what he did and he should never have been with her in the first place).
75. The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett)
76. The Summer Tree (Guy Gavriel Kay)
77. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith)
78. The World According To Garp (John Irving)

79. The Diviners (Margaret Laurence)
80. Charlotte’s Web (E.B. White)
81. Not Wanted On The Voyage (Timothy Findley)
82. Of Mice And Men (Steinbeck) Also highly recommend the movie version with Gary Sinise and John Malcovich - brilliant and very true to the book.
83. Rebecca (Daphne DuMavrier)
84. Wizard’s First Rule (Terry Goodkind)
85. Emma (Jane Austen)
86. Watership Down (Richard Adams)
87. Brave New World (Aldous Huxley)

88. The Stone Diaries (Carol Shields)
89. Blindness (Jose Saramago)
90. Kane and Abel (Jeffrey Archer)
91. In The Skin Of A Lion (Ondaatje)
92. Lord of the Flies (Golding)
93. The Good Earth (Pearl S. Buck)
94. The Secret Life of Bees (Sue Monk Kidd)
Read this last month, too.
95. The Bourne Identity (Robert Ludlum)
96. The Outsiders (S.E. Hinton)
Rumble Fish was good, too.
97. White Oleander (Janet Fitch)
98. A Woman of Substance (Barbara Taylor Bradford)
99. The Celestine Prophecy (James Redfield)
Atrocious fiction masquerading as insight.
100. Ulysses (James Joyce)

101. Lullaby (Chuck Palahniuk) Explores the way that we borrow from ancient cultures without any real understanding or respect for the place of the things we borrow in their original culture. Interesting take on sound pollution, too. :)
102. The Beach (Alex Garland) The movie was okay, but the book is beautiful to read, especially as a writer - clean, efficient writing, very nice.
103. Wild Swans (Jung Chang)
104. American Gods (Neil Gailman) Gaiman is always good fun and has a vivid imagination.
105. The Golden Compass (aka The Northern Lights) (Phillip Pullman) The whole 'His Dark Materials' series is very interesting. I am so excited that they are finally making movies of these books. Can't wait to see it all on the screen (Iorek Byrnison!), even if it does basically paint God as a 'history is written by the victor' type victor of the war in heaven.
106. Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe (Fannie Flagg)
107. Lord Foul's Bane (Stephen Donaldson)
The first of (currently seven, eventually nine) books. I actually don't like Donaldson any more, don't read his books, and even find the writing in this series a little pretentious, but it is still some of the best world building I have ever encountered. His are the best Giants ever written, the Haruchai/Bloodguard fascinate me, the Ranyhyn, forestals, Waynhim, etc, etc.
108. Tomorrow When the War Began (John Marsden) First of a seven part series. All good.
109. The Owl Service (Alan Garner) Read this when I was young and loved it.
110. Farenheit 451 (Ray Bradbury)

For Jay's list and added items: http://feverdog.blogspot.com/2007/04/book-meme.html
And Treespotter's: http://treespotter.blogspot.com/2007/03/on-nats-book-list.html

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Sunday, April 08, 2007

unsettling art

Fight Club is one of my favourite films. This is NOT because it's a nice film. It's not. What it is though is very thought-provoking. It presents a harsh reality and a lot of ugliness, but not in a useless way that is just about shocking people or pushing the limits of what has been acceptable before. Instead it presents a lot of ideas about uncomfortable or dysfunctional aspects of our culture.

The Fight Club DVD includes an interview Edward Norton gave at a Yale film society night where they showed the movie. In answer to a question about the themes of the film and particularly the violence depicted, Norton said (and I'm paraphrasing a little just to make it more brief) that while some films (and other art forms) are purely for entertainment, it is also the responsibility of filmmakers (and other artists) to explore and expose what is dysfunctional or unhealthy in our culture and present it in a way that provokes discussion on those things. He finds it meaningful to do projects that wrestle around with things that make people uncomfortable and that remain morally ambivalent on those things, so that people do not walk away from the theatre feeling comfortable in having been told what they were to have made of the material. He wants a generation who have had their value systems largely informed by advertising culture to talk and argue and think for themselves how they feel about issues like the displacement of male roles in society or how external things like your home furnishings can offer spiritual calm or be seen as defining your personality, or how attractive the negative or nihilistic can be until you reach a point where you see that what was supposed to free you has a natural limit after which it traps you instead.

I've posted on Fight Club before. What brought it to mind today is that I've been watching the first series of The Boondocks. I always liked the comic strip, but the animated series is disturbing. It's blunt and pulls absolutely no punches in its depiction of American society, African American culture and the interaction of African Americans with white America. I was talking to a friend about how I liked Huey and his politics, but that the show often made me cringe. She said something important about it - that the show is specifically designed to make the viewer uncomfortable. Interesting, and it made me mull over again what Norton had said about art and dysfunction. You're not supposed to like what you see. You're supposed to think about what you see. I hate the way black culture is depicted. I see that culture on TV, but it doesn't really fit my reality of the black people I personally know. But that doesn't mean it isn't real. Gang culture exists, drug culture is real, there really are ghettos where people struggle to stay in school and afford decent child care and stay alive. Rappers really are worshipped and the violence they very publically bring with them when they become famous really does make violence look glamourous to the kids who listen to them. And it's still true in a lot of places that a black man doesn't have to do very much in order to be arrested.

Boondocks is kind of an ugly show, but so are the realities it portrays. And we should be talking about those things. So in spite of the cringe factor, especially given how the word 'nigga' gets tossed around like it's okay fifty times an episode, I think I'm going to watch through to the end, not in order to get more comfortable with it. Just the opposite.

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Friday, April 06, 2007

comings and goings

Miss Flighty, who had been thinking about boarding with me for a few weeks, asked if she could move in last Sunday. She and her far-too-much-for-one-small-bedroom stuff arrived in two trips, the second ending after dark. She's been trying to get back all week to get it from the carport to the room, but always had something delaying her till after dark. Unfortunately this includes her bed, which is leaning against one of the poles on the open edge of the carport, exposed to the weather. All well and good during this hot, sunny week where any dew that gathered could dry off easily by 10am.

Today, however, the dark clouds are gathering and the forecast is for possible light rain. While a lot of her things are in danger of getting wet, the bed is what most concerns me, because it will be most damaged if it gets wet. I'm here alone and the carport has a dirt floor, so if I try to move the bed further in by myself I will have to drag it and it will get hella dirty. I rang some friends up the road but they were...unavailable (read: unwilling) to help.

And "where is the owner of this soon to be rained on gear?" I hear you asking. Well, I'd like to say that she's at work, which I'm assuming is the only thing that would keep her from rescuing her own belongings. Sadly I have no idea if that's the case, because she hasn't bothered to let me know what's happening. I called and text messaged (no answer) and that's about where it stands. It's very frustrating, because even though all her stuff is here, because she hasn't technically moved in, she also isn't paying any board. That might not seem like a problem (she's not eating her or using my electricity, etc) but the thing is that while she is dithering around, I have to assume she IS moving in, which means that I can't advertise for anyone else.

This became an even more pressing matter yesterday when Silent Bob got home and announced that he's probably moving out next week. His engineering subjects are a lot harder this year and he's spent a lot of time at a friend's house going through material in the evening. He doesn't get home for dinner very often and it looks like this might continue. This friend is also Chinese (they know each other from their hometown in China) and doing some of the same subjects, and he's willing to discuss the work with him (which is very generous), so it looks like the best thing might be if he moves in with that guy and then he won't need to find dinner and catch the late bus every night. Which all makes perfect sense, but he's the easiest, most considerate boarder I've ever had, and I will definitely miss him if he goes.

I wish this was all a little easier.

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Monday, April 02, 2007

soy beans and strawberry pocky for everyone!

The international culture night was a huge success - I reckon about 300 people turned up. There were booths for Australia, Greece, the Phillipines, Scotland, England, Samoa, Tonga, China, maybe one or two more I can't remember, and of course Japan. We had to provide some kind of food for people to sample. I had edamame, wasabi peas and strawberry Pocky. And consequently spent roughly half my time in the booth explaining that you don't eat the pods of the edamame and showing people how to squeeze the beans out, and the other half stopping kids from coming back to take Pocky again and again. One Samoan girl was relentless. I told her she had to try the edamame before she had another Pocky stick, and the next time she came back she ate about nine of the edamame. :)

I didn't get a lot of time away from the booth to check things out, the people helping having decided that 'helping' meant putting up a few posters and then spending the rest of the evening with their friends and leaving me to it. But I did get to try treacle tart, something that I'd never had but which was often mentioned in the British boarding school books I used to read when I was a kid. Quite yummy.

There was also almost two hours of entertainment ~ singing, dancing, bagpipe and fiddle playing, and one guy read a bush ballad. I wish I could have done some Japanese drumming but I have no way to get hold of a drum here. It only occurred to me halfway through the night that I could have done a booth and even maybe a song for my own birthplace, Barbados. Maybe next time. We ended the night with everyone singing, "I am Australian." The chorus goes:
We are one, but we are many.
And from all the lands of the Earth we come.
We share a dream and sing with one voice,
I am, you are, we are Australian.

Quite stirring with 300 people singing. Strangely the chorus seems all about multi-cultural Australia/migrants, but the verses only mention the Aboriginal people and the British convicts/settlers. Nice tune though.

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Sunday, April 01, 2007

and here we go again...

I read the other day that some ridiculous group has released a anti-Mormon DVD US-wide. I'd like to ask, "why do they bother?" but the sad truth is that some people will actually believe the tripe on the DVD without ever once checking it for accuracy with an actual Mormon. Or rather I should say with an actual member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. And that refutes claim no.1: that 'Mormons' are not Christians. Notice the words 'Jesus Christ' in the name of the church? They're relevant.

An excellent point-by-point response to the DVD has been put together by the FAIR group. I'm sure it didn't take them long, because the misrepresentations and inaccuracies on the DVD are the same old chestnuts that have been misquoted, half-quoted and taken out of context a bazillion times already. And answered as many times as well. I won't reproduce the whole thing here obviously, but I will paste in a couple of paragraphs from the response to the introduction that identifies the flaws in the main premise of the DVD. Personally I think that gives enough information that anyone would see that the best place for the DVD is in the trash, but if you want to go on and look at specifics, feel free to check out the link above to the whole response.

This video begins with an ambitious declaration put forth by Patrick Powell, "Today we're going to investigate two of the world's most prominent and influential men to determine once and for all which one holds the truth." There are several problems involved in such a task.

First, Mr. Powell sets up a false dichotomy—he proposes to compare Joseph Smith and Jesus Christ. But Mormons do not equate Joseph Smith with Jesus Christ. Mormons proclaim Jesus Christ to be the divine Son of God, the only perfect and sinless person to ever be born on earth. Mormons believe that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God, subject to the same imperfections as other men; he did not live a sinless life. Indeed, in the LDS view it would be more accurate to compare Joseph Smith with Peter, Abraham, Moses, or any other biblical prophet. To state otherwise is a false comparison that serves no other purpose than to mislead the viewer.

Second, the statement attempts to set Jesus Christ in competition with Joseph Smith and presupposes that if one is right, the other is wrong. Joseph Smith, in acting as a prophet, was a witness for the divinity of Jesus Christ, bearing strong testimony for the efficacy of Christ's atoning sacrifice and the reality of Christ's resurrection.

You might wonder why I'm bothering to even post on this crap, but sometimes it does get on your nerves. I've actually been told occasionally by people on internet discussion boards that I don't know what my own religion teaches. Yes, I do. Because I'm there, every Sunday. And it's the height of arrogance to suggest that people who've read some flimsy, unsubstantiated anti-LDS pamphlet (or in the current example, watched a deliberately deceptive, flimsy, unsubstantiated DVD) know more about the beliefs of a religion than the people who live that religion every day.