Saturday, January 30, 2010

ani difranco

 

Last night I saw Ani Difranco for the first time. I’ve always meant to see her, but I was always poor when she came to town. So even though I haven’t really followed her newer stuff, last night was a long time coming.

 

I loved that even though there was a lot of music I didn’t know, she managed to change it up by making sure that even the songs I do know where different. She played them with more intensity or slightly different rhythms and managed to make them familiar yet new. And watching her on stage was really quite impressive. She defied the angry folk chick stereotype and actually came across more like a serious guitar rocker. If I was expecting angry, coffee shop angst, I was pleasantly surprised by what I got instead.

 

So thank you Ani for keeping it real and defying gender stereotypes by rocking it out last night.  You truly are one of my female role models and I wish more young girls had female icons who had as much integrity and as many positive values to promote. Britney, Lady Gagy, Beyonce and the rest of them have nothing on you!

Friday, January 29, 2010

lotus jewelry

SilverLotusPendantBrilliantEarth
Anyone who knows me, knows that I’m a jewelry whore. I LOVE the bling, always have and always will (I’ve even written about it before). But the thing is, whilst this writer loves her some flashy gems, she’s all about trying to keep things kosher on the ethical consumerism front.

Fall2008049 When shopping for engagement rings, I had 2 criteria that had to be met.

1. that the ring had to be reasonably priced
2. that the ring be ethical and sustainable

And not only were both met, I love the final selection (see left). My ring was purchased from an estate sale, was actually on sale (on top of a very reasonable price) and is unique, cause I didn’t want to be another diamond ring girl. (Not that there’s anything wrong with diamonds, per se… I just wanted something uniquely me).

While we were looking around at rings, I stumbled upon Brilliant Earth and fell in love. In fact, ifBE2  I’d gone the diamond route (cause Paul was a one point in our shopping, attached to the idea that my engagement ring needed to be a diamond), this ring from Brilliant Earth (right) was the only one that ever came close to really catching my eye. Not that I have any regrets… rest assured I am still completely satisfied with the ring I have.

But the point of all this musing is to say that I love Brilliant Earth jewelry and my most recent Brilliant Earth discovery, the pendant shown above, only confirms my continued love of this site. Because let’s face it, it’s simple (Zen-like), silver, ethical, AND a lotus symbol (because I likes the lotuses): how much happier could one piece of jewelry make me?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

internet addiction and burnout in crafty blogland

It’s official, our condo goes up for sale sometime late next week and I am now in the midst of packing up my library and household culture in order to make our condo more “zen” like for sale. Oh, and did I mention that my brother arrives on Tues? Yeah.. things chez moi are a wee bit hectic. And yet in the midst of it all… there’s still blogging to be done!

But that’s not what I really want to write about.

I’ve been thinking about lately is web burnout. Everything on the web seems to cycle and there seems to be a flow of synchronicity that is sometimes a bit too perfect to be a coincidence. (This is where I reveal just how many blogs/sites I read… it’s not pretty my friends, it’s not pretty). From Crafypod, there’s the podcast on downsizing on Etsy (which only recently game to my attention), to Superhero Journal where she announces that she’s taking a much needed break, to Boho Photography where she talks about how much time she spends plugged in and the need to fill the void now that she temporarily has no internet at home, to Gwen Bell reducing the amount of time she spends on her email.

Anyways, what I’m wondering is: Is the universe trying to send me a sign? Because right now, there’s a lot of web traffic in my world that is reminded me how addictive the internet can be. I know that when I was dealing with trying to promote my etsy shop, I was feeling overwhelmed by the need to be present online. I was trying to juggle marketing a “brand” before I even really had a brand to market. And all the web work was drawing me away from actually sitting down and focusing on the product/crafts.
Obviously there is an ideal out there about being able to craft from home and sell online and create a lucrative business, but the reality of it is far different than the dream. And some of what is written about this ideal is quite thought provoking, for example:

I think for many women the site [etsy] holds out the hope of successfully combining meaningful work with motherhood in a way that more high-powered careers in the law, business, or sciences seldom allow. In other words, what Etsy is really peddling isn’t only handicrafts, but also the feminist promise that you can have a family and create hip arts and crafts from home during flexible, reasonable hours while still having a respectable, fulfilling, and remunerative career. The problem is that on Etsy, as in much of life, the promise is a fantasy. (source)

However, the amount of effort it takes to create an online presence for your goods can be quite substantial and even daunting. It isn’t enough to stick to a “build it and they will come” motto. Because with thousands doing the same thing and the web’s 2 click culture (apparently the ideal amount of clicks users will travel for info before becoming frustrated with a site), it isn’t enough to just build something without working to promote it.

And in that building/promotion, there is a trap. Because as you start to work on creating your own web presence, you need to start paying attention to others, networking, forging links, getting out there by being present on other sites. And then bam… you’re addicted and reading far too many sites for your own good. What started out as a simple way to sell some of the crafts/arts you love suddenly turns into a job with undefined hours, blurred boundaries between private and personal, and a feel of co-dependency with the web, all of which eventually lead to burnout.

The solution? My guess is learning to step back and create boundaries. Define your hours, set limits, get out of the house, remember the people in your actual life (even if you know lovely people on the web).

146

If you’re like me, take all these posts to heart and remember to strive for balance before heading out for the next round of online sales. Remember to take the sales off the web and find craft fairs (my current project).
Yup, that’s all I’ve got by way of answers. And they all boil down to the very simple notion of Balance.

Monday, January 25, 2010

living room colour decor ideas – green, brown, and blue

livingRmIdea
In anticipation of our big move, I’ve started playing around with colour combinations for our new living room.
Our current living room is a combo of a grey/blue slate coloured couch (it’s darker than the colour in the photo … I couldn’t find an exact match and the colour looks very different once you add the green into the mix) and chair and dark brown bookshelves and coffee tables. Ideally I’d like to make the room pop a bit more so we’ve been playing with colour combinations online to see what appeals to us most. The room we’ll be moving into is very bright, decent sized, and part of my in-laws house, albeit a rental unit upstairs, so I don’t want to pick a colour that is too loud. And, I want to avoid yellow because after however many apartments over the years, this tenant is sick of yellow walls. So we’re looking at something in a light green shade. Bright enough to make the room warm, but not too sage or dreary that it reminds you of a hospital.
A long time ago I lived with a roommate who had apple green walls and I just loved it. In fact, to date, that apartment was one of my favourites because of the way it used colour.
So what do you think? Any suggestions?

scrapbook – take 3

holidays2009 copy

So my holiday pages might be much later in the makings than most of those scrappy blogland folks… but since I’m just learning, I think it’s all good!

In honour of my baby brother’s move out to Montreal, I give you my family (Mom, Stepdad, 2 brothers, soon to be sister in law, and me and my lovely husband… who is feeling under the weather tonight).

I created this page using a free template from Designer Digitals. I didn’t add much in the way of embellishments, but added a page background that I then tinted green (it was originally blue). I think I got it from Jessica Sprague but didn’t keep a record of it in the download and can’t find it on the site now… but I’m almost certain the background is from there.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

changes

honeymoon 412

Big announcements are in the air…

Life is changing rapidly in our little household and sometimes if feels a little hard to keep up with it all.

The first big change: my baby brother is moving in with us as of Feb 2nd. He’s not getting on with our parents, dealing with some rather serious anxiety issues, and needs some space to sort things out so is coming to crash chez big sis’ until he figures out what’s next. We went home over the holidays to see if we could help out and so now he’s coming to stay.

With that in mind, we’ve been contemplating our housing options (because I wouldn’t be surprised if he stays for a good long while) and have realized that the decision to find a larger home has become somewhat more urgent. Of course, my student loans being what they are, I don’t qualify for much in the way of a mortgage so we’ve decided to go another route. We’re going to sell the condo, pay off my loan, and rent the upstairs apartment from my in-laws until we have enough for a down payment. It’s 3 bedrooms, freshly renovated, and cheaper than our mortgage.

It’s not going to be easy but we both feel, after a great deal of contemplation, that the sacrifices will be worth the long term gains.

So the past month has been a bit of a roller coaster as we (I) have been sorting through some rather major decisions and changes. It’s a little surreal that our home will be changing soon but it’s a good thing and I’m already getting excited about the new decor options….

Friday, January 22, 2010

vegetarian is a diet; vegan is a way of life

It's been a while since I've gone into a good old fashion vegetarian rant, so it's high time that I get back on my high horse!

I recently came across the quote you see as this post's title and I have to say that I'm more than a little put out by it. As a lacto-ovo vegetarian of 17 years, there is nothing diet related to my vegetarian lifestyle. It's not something that I do to lose weight, nor to reduce calories or fat, nor is it something I cheat at. (I've been asked if I couldn't just cheat and eat a little meat).

Here's the thing: the very thought of chewing on flesh revolts me. If you love you steak, that's fine. I don't care, that's your choice. But for me, I try to eliminate my consumption of animal based products as much as possible. No, I haven't commited to being vegan because I realize how difficult this would be in a world that is meat-centric. From muffins and bread to cheese and chocolate, a vegan lifestyle would mean that my choices in mainstream culture would be more limited. I agree that veganism is a lifestyle choice, a very difficult, yet rewarding choice for those committed to making it.



However, my vegetarian lifestyle is also a choice that requires a certain amount of commitment (which I make very happily) and effort. I eat dairy but work hard to find yoghurt that is gelatin free. I drink milk, but only from organic suppliers (because milk production is a disturbing industry), my eggs, on the rare occasions that I eat them, are organic and free range. I buy organic cosmetics, free of pesticides and hormones. And if I take vitamins, they are vegetarian vitamins (no iron supplements from meat for this vegetarian). I read my product labels and check for meat based goods in everything from soups, juices, and cheeses. I eat rennet free and double check all those "Omega 3 and 6"s for fish based products.

Inasmuch as I can, I buy organic, fair trade, non-GMO produce.

I advocate for vegetarianism daily. I work hard to tow the line between militant activism and compassionate awareness in order not to alienate my non-veg friends, yet make them aware of the choices they are making every day. My motto in terms of vegetarian activism is, and has always been: You catch more flies with honey than vinegar. So I introduce friends to food options that are meat free when they come over [or did prior to moving in with a meat eater who is by the by, far more aware and conscientious in his meat consumption than he was prior to meeting me)].  I accept that they may love their veal, but I let them know about the ethical issues surrounding veal production and leave the choice in their hands.

I work with students and constantly teach them about essay writing by providing them with an essay based on advocating for meat reduced diets, if not vegetarianism, as a way to help reduce our carbon footprint (and they are always surprised by the facts that I present for my argument).

I make my extended family aware of vegetarianism, environment issues, and social justice whenever I can. I've watched the people around me become more and more environmentally aware based on curiousity that was piqued by an issue I discussed and the rise in media attention on the issue. My choice to not eat meat forces the people in my world to rethink where they eat and what they consume when we go out together, which by extension, makes them aware of the challenges of my choice in a meat eating world. No, they may never become vegetarians, but they are far more aware of vegetarian politics because of me. (Some would argue too aware because of some of my rants... but that's another discussion).

The point is, being vegetarian (even if this post makes it sound like it), isn't about a sacrifice on my part, it's about an ethical choice that I made at 16 to live according to principles that mean a great deal to me. And every year I learn more and more about the choices we make and their impact on the world and strive to incorporate them into my life in a meaningful way. Last year I eliminated most of my chemical cosmetics (there are still a few hold-overs, but for the most part my daily make-up/hygiene routines are low impact on the earth and body). The year before that I committed to vegetarian, enviro-friendly products to clean the house. And I continue to educate myself about product labelling and green-washing in order to avoid the traps that often lead consumers into thinking they are making sustainable choices that are far from it.

So yeah, when I read something like vegetarianism is a diet, it gets my back up. Cause I'm sorry but there is nothing diet-like about my commitment to a vegetarian lifestyle and activism. It's insulting to even hear/read that someone claims there is.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

mayla

My lovely husband, who can’t seem to make up his mind about blogging, recently wrote this about our beloved cat. You should read it because it embodies our current state of affairs perfectly and accounts for my lack of blogging (no fricken sleep to be had in the house)!

honeymoon 001

I love my cat, I really do… but seriously I’m going to strangle her soon if she doesn’t shut up!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

scrapbooking adventures - NYC

newyork

I’m not sure if I’m getting any better, but here is another attempt at scrapbooking, this time with images from my trip to NYC in December with my oldest friend, Karen. We’ve known each other since we were 10 years old (grade 4). In recent years we fell out of touch (only sending emails to each other about once a year) but my wedding sort of reunited us, which was really nice. It’s amazing how easy it can be to just be with someone who has known you that long and through so many changes.

It’s just nice to be able to enjoy silence with someone, especially when you’re travelling. We’ve never really travelled together before, but it was good partially, I think, because we have such a long history that it was simple. We could take a long train ride together and chat and do crosswords or knit or read and it was fine. It was a calm trip, but fun. I’m glad we did it together.

The design for this page was made from Jessica Sprague’s Echoes of Asia. The centre picture is a bit distorted and needs to be fixed. I may also add a background to the pictures in order to make the frames pop because right now I’m not sure if they really stand out enough.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

the host - stephanie meyer

Overall rating: 2.5 out of 5


General Plot Summary: Aliens have invaded earth and taken over human bodies. One alien soul struggles for dominance over her host body's soul, only to learn to love humans and end up fighting for their cause.

The beginning of this book is awkward and hard to get into because the mechanics of story telling are juvenile. That said, once you get past the beginning, the story is a light and engrossing read.

Although the female lead is stronger than Bella of Twilight, some of the gender politics continue to be a bit disturbing as does the moralism that permeates some of the tale. The book is sold as her 1st adult novel, however given the age of the protagonist (physically) and the weird sexual mores that go with this "adult" novel, it really feels like the story is meant for teens. Why she chose to rely yet again on a 17 year old female as a protagonist or why she finds it so important to render her character asexual is beyond me given that this is supposed to be a novel for adults. But whatever, that's her choice.

All in all, it was an ok read. Entertaining but a bit frustrating because the conversation between the 2 characters is trite and awkwardly developped through font styles. The novel still feels like a continuation of the adolescent wish fulfillment that was the Twilight series and relies on predictable plot development and conclusions.
 
And can we say sequel much?
 
image from : LibraryThing

Monday, January 18, 2010

mother – daughter relationships

Once upon a time I called my mother for everything. Literally, everything. All of my life decisions were vetted by mom for advice and feedback. Not that I actually did what she advised most of the time. I’m quite contrary by nature (Marya, Marya, quite contrary-a). She’d say go left and then I’d go right. I just needed her to say go left in order for me to be sure that I really wanted to go right! :)

From moving to Montreal, to being cheated on by my ex, from deciding to change my undergrad program in order to go to grad school, to deciding whether or not I was ready for marriage, to going to India or dealing with student loan anxieties, Mom has always been on the other end of the phone to listen and help me sort through what I really wanted (often listening to the same conversation over and over again as I processed my angst and indecision).

However, recently something has changed. I no longer turn to her for everything anymore. And even when I do, the nature of our conversations is vastly different. Don’t get me wrong, she still listens and gives advice but there’s something in the nature of our conversation that is changed. And the only thing that I can identify it as is adulthood. I don’t need my mom to approve or disapprove of my choices anymore. And I don’t really need her advice in order to know what I want. So the conversations are different because I’m not really looking for advice, which I’m sure she’s aware of, but merely slipping back into our pattern of behaviour even though it’s sort of an empty process now.

Ironically, I think that wedding planning is what brought us to this place. Without going into details, wedding planning was the straw that broke the proverbial camels back and dragged me out of my co-dependent relationship with my mother. Somewhere along the line, I’ve switched from needing my mother to not needing her anymore. It’s a weird and somewhat liberating, yet sad place to find myself in. I’m all grown up. It’s been sneaking up on me for a while now, but now it’s here and there’s no denying it.

Girl, you’re a woman now….

Friday, January 15, 2010

eco birthday wrapping for kids

IMG_2645
This year I’m looking to reduce my carbon footprint and teach the kids in my world by example.
Instead of going out and buying wrapping paper, I recycled some newspapers from work (using the funny pages) and old kraft paper. I used scraps of knitting yarn and cardstock leftover from the wedding (the backside is covered in trials) to create the wrapping you see to your right.
The animals playing instruments are in keeping with the party theme and can be coloured and turned into brooches for added fun (we’ll see if they even have time to notice at the party)!.

learning to scrapbook – take one

 cotedazur

And she emerges from her cave….

Know any good scrapbooking resources?

I’ve always seen these amazing online images of scrapbooks out there and have long been curious about how to make my own. So I downloaded a free digital scrapbooking program, Scrapbook Flair and some free pages/elements etc from Shabby Princess and got to work. What you see above is my first attempt. I have to be honest, the program is fairly basic but limited (hey, it’s free right?). It doesn’t seem to allow users to rotate images, which is a pain in the ass (though there’s also just a chance that I haven’t figured it out yet!) or manipulate photos to zoom in or out.

I enjoyed the process and look forward to seeing what else I can create. The whole world of scrapbooking strikes me as quite complicated and a bit overwhelming but I’d like to create photo albums that are more than just photos shoved into a book. I want to create a book worthy of our memories; a book that tells the story our life together.

Figuring out how to do that is just part of the adventure!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

the new year and blogging writer’s block

Student_Needs_Help

If I were the type that ascribed to new age philosophies, I would have to say that there must be something in the stars.

Hold on… wait… oh yeah, I am a new age ascribing kinda girl… So there really must be something in the stars because it seems like the blogging writer’s block is everywhere I turn. I mean, I read a lot of blogs and every time I turn around lately, it seems like someone out there in blogland is talking about not having much to say or questioning which direction they want to go with their blog.

And yet only a few weeks ago, my google reader account was overwhelmed with an influx of posting. So much so that I just couldn’t keep up. Was it the holiday rush? Or the end of the year blogging countdown, review of 2009, sharing of holiday inspiration, or was it something else? Perhaps we are all just experiencing a momentary post holiday slump?

Or crashing from the holiday sugar rush?

Don’t get me wrong, some of us out here on the wide world web of Internet land (yes, I rearranged the words on purpose) are feeling the inspiration. Perhaps we are just on opposite ends of the biorhythm chart?

Or perhaps those inspired writers are just not living in the colder climes I inhabit?

Whatever it is, I too am experiencing the post new year’s lull. Instead of blogging, I’m reading, or knitting. I am in hibernation mode and my energy is focused inwards at the moment while I work through some personal re-evaluations. Perhaps a few more days of introspection are all that’s needed before inspiration strikes again? Who knows. Suffice to say, I’ll be back.

Image credit: clip art for Microsoft Works

Monday, January 11, 2010

dishclothes and birthdays

IMG_2643

I turn 33 tomorrow. Craziness. Paul and I went out for Indian food on Friday to celebrate (yum… Indian food) and Saturday was dinner with his family (and I received some very lovely gifts from all of them, which was a total surprise as I wasn’t expecting anything). Otherwise it’s going to be a low key birthday. Some years I’m more motivated than others to celebrate (nothing to do with the age) and this year is one of them.

I’ve been reading and relaxing, sort of hibernating in my own little bubble and enjoying that space. So this year’s birthday is going to build on that theme.

Work, Nia,and then a quiet evening at home.

Otherwise, I’ve been crocheting dishclothes again, this time trying out red stripes in the simple SC pattern. The 2 that you see above are my first ventures. The bottom one is complete but the top one is still in progress.

I’ve discovered that crocheting I need to remember to ease up on the tension because my hands end up hurting because I’m pulling the tension too tight. Which is funny because when I knit I am the exact opposite. I need to remember to pull things tighter because my knits are generally very loose. Making these little dishclothes have been great in terms of realizing these kind of little details…

Anyways…

Between crocheting, reading, and getting back to work, my days have felt busy but calm. And that feels like what I need most at the moment. So instead of rushing around, drawing everyone together to celebrate my birthday because that’s what I’m supposed to do, I’m just going to take the time for me. I’ve been feeling very introspective lately and I just want to be able to embrace that space to the fullest at the moment.

So yay for 33 and a little bit of soul searching.

Friday, January 8, 2010

nia

I read about Nia about 6 months ago and was immediately intrigued. Dance, yoga, salsa and thai chi… sounds right up my alley. So, after meaning to go but putting it off because of the wedding, the honeymoon, the holidays, I finally went to my first course last night.

And let me tell you: I flippin LOVED it. It was soooo much fun. I was working up a sweat, but it wasn’t painful, and as clumsy as I am, I was still able to coordinate myself enough to get through the steps.

So for now, Tues and Thurs nights you’ll find me getting my groove on!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

travel

india2 It seems so strange to think of this, but 3 years ago I was frantically organizing my life in order to prepare for my trip to India at the end of January.

In many ways it was the trip of a lifetime. I went alone, and learned so much more than I ever could have imagined. India was exactly what I expected and yet nothing at all like what I anticipated.

And I would go back, in a heartbeat.

Something about India, for all of its chaos, poverty, corruption, and frustrations, is just so real and alive. It’s beautiful and heartbreaking, vital and challenging. For all the years I spent in my life wondering about what I wanted to do when I grow up, travelling in India was my awakening because the one thing that I’ve always been sure of in life is my longing to travel. Having children, a home, a car, and a career have always been questions for me. Travel has never been something questioned. My need to see the world surpasses my love of books, crafts, art, yoga and everything else in between. I never feel as alive and as complete as I do when I’m travelling.

And yet, for much of my life I have lived without travel. I’ve put school, work, and family before my need to see the world, which really makes no sense at all. The only explanation that I can offer is fear. Looking into the face of what I want most, I balk. What if I can’t do it? What if it’s not enough? What if I’m lonely or lose my sense of self? What if there’s no one to go with? Or what if I travel with someone and we don’t get along? It seems almost ridiculous to think that these fears would play into my decision to not travel, but they do, or have.

france2 As much as I want children and a comfortable life, I would sacrifice both for a life filled with travel. I know that most wouldn’t agree or even understand, but travel is what gives my life meaning. I work a comfortable, well paid job, and yet I constantly wonder if this is the right job for me because it makes it so hard for me to travel. Getting married and the implied settling down filled me with an untold amount of angst because it was very important to me that my husband understood marriage didn’t mean that I wouldn’t go and travel without him. Sure, I’d love it if he came with me, but there are some adventures I know I will be going alone.

Going to France, Cuba, India, and England have been some of the best moments of my life. With each trip that I’ve made, the world opens a little wider and my need to see more and experience more, grows. I know that there are people out there who understand this wanderlust, and there are even more out there who are living the life I long to live (not that I don’t love my own life too), but there are also others out there who I think don’t really understand how much of me is consumed by wanderlust. Thinking about venturing to far off places fills me with joy. I can’t wait to discover another corner of the world. We just got back from France and BC and I’m already dreaming of new adventures.

Anyone interested in seeing Marrakesh or the south of Spain?

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

proroguing parliament and armchair activism

 

If you’re like me and didn’t know what proroguing meant until recently:

prorogue: to discontinue the meetings of (a legislative body) without dissolving it

Lately I haven’t been writing about politics. I’ve been more focused on crafting and the holidays than reading the news and commenting on it. But recent events brought to us by the Harper government have this blogger up in arms, once again. (‘Cause nothing gets my blood raging like the Harper government!)

Ostensibly called in order to able to celebrate the Olympics, Harper has successfully called for the 2nd prorogation of parliament in the span of a year. I may not have been all that aware of politics in the past, but I would venture a guess that this is a rare, if unheard of, event in our political history. And that we’re calling them for the Olympics? Seriously? Every other country keeps parliament running, why should we be any different? Especially given that Harper has a track record of not even attending the major public events that he’s expected to be present for (or waits until the last minute to show up, not that that is anything new in Cdn politics!).

Here’s the thing, everyone knows that he’s proroguing parliament to avoid political accountability. See the Globe and Mail, x2, Elizabeth May, The National Post counterargument, and a more neutral, yet still sceptical CBC.

So for us Canadians that think that this is a BS political manoeuvre, what can we do? The web is awash with Armchair Activism, aka Cyberactivism but does it really work? From Facebook groups (see this article) to websites telling us to write letters to local media and post flyers around town, little real progress actually seems to be made.

Gone are the days when rallies and petitions seemed to make a difference. Our currently state of cyberactivism is belied by our political apathy. Clicking buttons and sending emails only works if we’re committed to fighting for the cause until the end. Sending off an email to parliament may or may not have effect:

[…] the effectiveness of email when it comes to influencing abusive governments is still open to question [18]. Firstly, the response of authorities to electronic messages is varied and the impact is not as predictable as in the case of conventional mail and faxes, although they cost less to send. Whereas letters must be sorted, documented and filed in most government offices, it is easy to simply read the subject line of an email and then delete it, or to shut down the accounts if there are floods of incoming appeals. […]

Indeed, the generation of identical notifications to the authorities for each person that “signed” the online petition was one of the key drawbacks of the Stoptorture.org website. Amnesty has always believed that the more diverse a letter-writing campaign is, the better its chances for getting the attention and respect of government officials. This applies to online as well as offline activism, so the organisation has now moved from the use of the auto-generated messages to one where activists are encouraged to send emails with distinct subject lines, by customising pre-existing text on their websites.

See here for further information.

The question that I’m trying to get at is whether or not it’s really worthwhile to join that Facebook group or sign that petition. I tend to sign up for online petitions via Avaaz.org, but is it effective? Certainly, as McLeans Magazine notes, those members are enough to garner media attention. But do they accomplish anything? Pardon me if I remain a bit cynical. For all that I want to be able to bring about change through the Internet, I have to admit that clicking and joining has little merit if it’s not done on a personal level, with a certain amount a commitment to a cause. Because although numbers count, this is a place where the individual voice matters more than the masses.

One person can make a difference. But only if they work conscientiously towards a cause. Armchair activism is unlikely to get you any where, even if your group is thousands strong.

As John Moore, from the National Post notes:

This emphatic anti-prorogation Facebook group shares intellectual and cyberspace with “Feed the Olsen Twins” and “Save Bandit the Pitbull!” (who in theory could be fed to the Olsens if efforts to save him fail). Almost all of the activist groups are put to shame by the membership of a dancing lobster fan club which boasts 141,000 enthusiasts. True, all of these pages jostle for attention amongst many earnest and worthy causes. But few things say “I care” with the empty ferocity of a Facebook page. 

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

please excuse me while i hibernate

winter

After the whirlwind of the holidays, I find myself back at work and just exhausted. Between travel, cold, family, and winter… I’m just drained. All I have energy for is curling up, reading, sleeping, and watching movies. Sure, I want to go out and do things, but I just don’t feel like I have it in me at the moment. My exhaustion is so utter and complete that I can barely keep my eyes open during the day. It’s insane.

So if I seem absent or a little blue, please rest assured that I am just taking a bit of down time in order to recharge.

Monday, January 4, 2010

resolution: year of letting go



All the blogs that I tend to peruse here in blogland are awash with recaps, reminiscing and resolutions and I have to admit that I'm not much different.


But just as quickly as it starts... the resolutions abound and good intentions already begin to pile up and fall to the wayside! I've got more on my list of things to do than could ever be reasonably possible. It's almost a sure sign that I'm a glutton for punishment... this long list of hopeful accomplishments.
 
So this year, I resolve to let myself not do everything that is on my list of things to do. I resolve to let myself make lists that I have no intention or actual ability to complete. I resolve to let myself dream about endless projects but be content if I only finish some of them.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

the holidays

IMG_1668 IMG_1681 IMG_1688  IMG_1705

IMG_1792 IMG_1810

This Christmas we used our fondue pot for the first time ever… apples and cheese so yummy! Built gingerbread houses (some of us were more serious about it than others). Spent time with both sides of the family, who were equally harassed with unwanted photo ops! And spent some time with old friends.

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails