Friday, November 30, 2007
Thursday, November 29, 2007
So in Edmonton, a small business owner was so fed-up with her influx of crappy employees that she resorted to unconventional measures to filter-out her next batch of workers. How unconventional are we talking here? Well, Charmaine Rose, owner of the high-end lingerie boutique, La Belle Femme, targeted the first place any job hunter actually starts their search--the Classifieds. But instead of the usual we-are-looking-for-full time-workers-spiel, Rose's full-page ad reads: "If you can come to work on time, not steal from us, not show up drunk, then come in and see us today..." Damn straight!
Not surprisingly, Rose's disillusionment is a reflection of Alberta's current human resource crisis. Since potential employees are basically tripping on entry-level jobs, this high availability of employment is ironically having an adverse effect on employers. According to Rose, "I've had 50 year-olds come to work drunk and missing shifts after payday, and saying to me, 'I know what the job market is like and can basically pick up 10 positions in a half hour....'"
So as Alberta continues to ride high on their epic oil wave, I can only imagine how disasterous the crash is going to be once all the pumps run dry...
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
After an exceptionally cruel beating, one of Tania's johns had noticed multiple burn marks all over her body. When she had come clean about her pimp's regular abuse, this particular john decided to buy Tania her freedom. Soon after her return home, Tania's younger brother passed away.
Sadly, Tania's story only echos the horrific tales shared by thousands of women worldwide. While both Canada and the United States have introduced harsher anti-trafficking bills to further protect victims within each country, such legislation obviously does not extend to the international community. And as the human trafficking industry exists to barter innocent lives in exchange for cheap and cruel sex, thousands of others stand to make a killing from these transactions.
**This PBS site has clips from the documentary as well as interviews from each of the women featured in the film: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/slaves/
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Saturday, November 24, 2007
Friday, November 23, 2007
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Addiction. It's that dirty little family secret that conveniently eludes conversation, or the troubled silhouettes lining the streets, known only as junkies. Someone once told me that being an addict feels like someone eating your soul and serving it up on a silver platter. A pretty powerful analogy when you consider that even the euphemisms--train wreck, hitting rock bottom, user--all paint really grim portraits of the affected individual.
And what about all of those addict-related movies we've seen? Trainspotting, Spun, Requiem for a Dream, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (the book was even more powerful), Walk the Line, The Basketball Diaries, and Blow--just to name a few--all tell dark stories of lives rapidly spinning out of control in the name of just one more fix...
Even more heart-wrenching is watching Intervention. Not only do you get a candid glimpse of this self-destructive behaviour, you are reminded of the humanity behind the disease. These are not mere junkies but mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, husbands and wives. Each of their stories are unique, while being tragically similar.
While I've never been an addict myself, I've seen friends go down that well-travelled path. I'm not going to divulge all the dirty details but I will say this: The worst part about it is that you actually think they are going to die, as in, OD into cardiac arrest and then just like that, they are dead. The end.
But they didn't die.
Instead, they managed to pick themselves out of that hopeless gutter and chose to live. While some may consider this a small miracle, I believe it was something much more tangible. I think that amidst the fog of all those empty trips and endless parties that there was a moment of clarity in which they realized there was more. Thankfully, their family and friends became a mirror of this hope.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
So the latest theme at the blogs I shamelessly stalk seems to be spilling your guts. While I'm a regular at pax compoundia, I somehow overlooked the fact that Karloff so obviously passed the guts-spilling-torch onto me so here goes nothing...
Monday, November 19, 2007
Still I Rise
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Sunday, November 18, 2007
Hundreds of thousand more are left homeless...
and are in desperate need of aid!
Today, I just wanted to send a huge THANK YOU to a fellow Pinay blogger for her kind words and tagging me in her last post. Such a kind gesture and you really did make me blush!
Girl, you inspire me too!
Check out Ivy's blog here!
Saturday, November 17, 2007
**NOTE: I will make sure to follow-up this post from the perspective of the Canadian criminal system. Also, I only included a very brief overview of Reiman's and Leighton positions. For greater analysis on these issues, I would recommend reading Reiman's book and Leighton's site.
Friday, November 16, 2007
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
So I'm writing this post in response to a recent discussion on Blog Catalog, and boy did it ever get people all riled up! Not surprisingly, the debate is a familiar one: Should intelligent design be taught in the classroom? Before I completely shoot down this notion, let's explore the facts from an ethical perspective.
Ethically speaking, public institutions are extensions of our government, and thus have the responsibility of being entirely inclusive and representative of all citizens as enshrined in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. By all means, if parents want their children to learn Creationism in the same breath they learn the Theory of Evolution, they definitely have the freedom to do so at any private school of their choice (unless the family happens to live in any of the 3 provinces mentioned above). So if public schools were to teach the idea of intelligent design, then the curriculum should also include teachings of Aboriginal spirituality, scriptures of the Torah, and the ancient philosophies behind the Guru Granth Sahib--not to mention all of the other spiritual teachings from our multicultural society. Honestly, do you actually think the Canadian government would be willing to open up that can of worms and fork over that kind of funding? (Especially since they are too busy wading through the crap of yet another expensive scandal. But that's in a whole other post, folks...)
Since I got that off my chest, what are some of your thoughts on this issue?
Monday, November 12, 2007
As much as I love snowboarding--the therapeutic rush as you ride through your favourite bowl, the overwhelming euphoria that's triggered by your board floating above fresh powder, and that sense of contentment knowing that you, indeed, have made the "first tracks" of the day--there is one creeping fear that lurks in the back of the minds of skiiers and snowboarders alike. Avalanches. Just the word, itself, makes me cringe. Because in that one word comes the frightening image of thousands of tons of snowy wrath chasing and eventually burying the poor sap who just happened to be in its rumbling path. Yiiiikkkkkeeessss! And if you may find yourself in this unluckiest of predicaments, you better hope to God that you at least packed a shovel and a transceiver to give you some chance of survival. Though in the end, one's only real choice when facing this imminent death is getting the sweet HELL outta there! As Jeremy Jones will show you in the following clip, when in doubt, ride it out!
Sunday, November 11, 2007
Imagine if you had the ability to instantly wipe the slate clean. I don't mean in the figurative sense here, but in the the literal push-of-a-button possibility of all those unwanted memories simply vanishing. (I realize that I'm sounding flakier by the moment here but please bear with me.) At first glance, I have to say that such an idea appears quite inviting. Memories of all those nasty break-ups--GONE. Memories of personal defeat--also GONE. I mean what harm could possibly be done by selectively discarding such unwanted mental baggage?
However, such mind alteration would have to result in some consequences. I mean take Charlie Kaufman's Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. For those of you who haven't seen the surreal film, here's the 20-second synopsis: Boy meets girl. They eventually fall in love proving that opposites do attract. But as the honeymoon phase ends, the couple realize that their differences may be irreconcilable. As a result, they break-up and both decide to undergo an irreversible procedure to erase all memories they have had of one another. Ultimately, Joel (Jim Carrey) regrets his decision and sets-out to metaphysically recapture all of his memories of his dear Clementine (Kate Winslet), despite the fact that she still has no recollection of their relationship. Are you all still with me? I know it sounds bizarre but I think that Kaufman truly has his finger on the pulse of the human condition. How? Well, read on, folks...
Recently, a very close family member of mine was diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease (AD). A truly hearbreaking illness, AD causes one's body and mind to eventually disintegrate. Essentially, the disease is progressive brain damage in which tiny plaques slowly envelope centres of the brain, resulting in permanent cell damage. And these nasty plaques don't discriminate either. They target one's use of language, reasoning, motor skills, and even long and short-term memories. In a sense, it's like individuals suffering from AD are like the love-lorn Joel. Knowing that their fate is imminent, I imagine that they try to hold on to their memories in any way they can, good or bad. Because in essence, our memories are what define us--they make us who we are. Even in those negative memories--that nasty divorce, the death of a loved one, or living through a natural disaster--there is significant evidence of our humanity.
At the same time, our memories of our loved ones are instant portals to those moments that define our relationships. Whether they allow us to relive the marriage to our sweetheart or the birth of our children, such memories remind us why these people are in our lives. And in the instance that a loved one's recollection of these moments simply vanish, as in the tale of Joel and Clementine, we carry on their legacies in our own way regardless of their spotless mind.
Saturday, November 10, 2007
All right, so this post is a small ode to Canadiana--a spotlight on two freakin funny Canadians! I realize that this isn't a new phenomenon as the likes of John Candy, Phil Hartman, Mike Myers, Jim Carrey, Dan Akroyd, all of the SCTV alumni (notably Martin Short, Eugene Levy, and Catherine O’Hara), all of the Kids in the Hall alumni, Norm Macdonald, Leslie Nielsen, Michael J. Fox, Tom Green, and even Lorne Michaels (SNL founder), are all Canucks that have memorably made us laugh our pants off. However, I would like to add two more funny favourites to the list. While Canadians everywhere will know both of these comics very well, perhaps our American and international neighbours will get a kick out of these guys too!
Friday, November 9, 2007
Here are just a few of the events taking place during International Buy Nothing Day 2007:
Thursday, November 8, 2007
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
Jimi Li has retaliated against our branded landscape. As our public spaces have become completely inundated with ubiqutious ad culture, the graphic artist has decided to take matters into his own hands. But fear not, folks. He brings not guns, or tanks, or bombs. His preferred weapon of choice? Well, bubbles of course. Yes, that's right--thought bubbles.
In what he has coined "The Bubble Project," Li has taken to the streets of New York City and targeted his advertising foes with the homemade bubble stickers. In turn, passersby are encouraged to fill in these bubbles with their own commentaries. Afterwards, Li photgraphs the tagged bubbles and posts the results on his website. More recently, this bubble boy has even released a book of his anti-branding work. The reasoning behind his bubble counterattack? According to Li, "[These bubbles stickers transform the corporate monologue into open monologue...More bubbles mean more freed spaces, more sharing of personal thoughts...and more imagination and fun." Thanks, Mr. Li.
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
Trinh T. Minh-ha--prolific Vietnamese American feminist, filmaker, artist, writer, and scholar. Notable works: Reassemblage (film), Women Native Other (book)
Vickie Nam--Vietnamese American journalist, editor, and youth leader. Notable work: Yell-Oh Girls!: Emerging Voices Explore Culture, Identity, and Growing up Asian American
Dr. Melinda de Jesus--Filipina American feminist, writer, editor, and scholar.
Notable work: Pinay Power--Peminist Critical Theory: Theorizing the Filipina American Experience (editor)
Amy Tan--prolific Chinese American writer and scholar. Notable works: The Bonesetter's Daughter, The Hundred Secret Senses, and The Joy Luck Club