Category Archives: Other Stuff

COVID-19, Oil Pipelines, and Water

It’s so great that oil is practically worthless now! Now if the governments would just stop bailing out those companies. We don’t need to extract and use more fossil fuels. We already KNOW they are a limited resource. We already KNOW that the environment is utterly destroyed by these processes, polluting ground water and aquifers and land for animals (including human animals) and plants.

We don’t need more pipelines, and more use of government violence to violate ancestral lands, medicine bundles, and the bodies of the matriarchs. We don’t want the RCMP used as a tool of colonial violence against the land and the protectors of the land.

What we want is clean air, clean water, healthy forests, thriving ecosystems, and an abundance of pollinators and scavengers and all the other bits and pieces that make up a healthy planet.

Continue reading

Universal Basic Income and COVID-19

If we already had Universal Basic Income (UBI) in place, COVID-19 would have had way less  economic effect on people, especially poor people, especially renters and students and workers in the gig economy. If everyone had a certain amount of money every month no matter what, we’d all be able to pay our rent and get some groceries during quarantine / isolation / lockdown / social distancing.

Just give every single person in the country, regardless of income or employment status, a certain set amount. The rich would end up paying it back in the their taxes, but at lower income levels, people would have disposable income (thus stimulating the economy, because disposable income and spending are what do that, NOT jobs—jobs are just a means to the money). The costs of this would be balanced out by the fact that we wouldn’t need any more welfare system, no Employment Income Assistance for people on disability or out of work, All those systems would be dismantled: no more welfare fraud lines, no more meetings to prove you’ve applied for a certain number of jobs, no more rent on huge office buildings to house these systems, , etc. And if that doesn’t save enough money yet for UBI, then tax the rich, tax the corporations, and tax the churches. Tax them at the same rates as individuals. It is fucking ridiculous that huge corporations get tax breaks while people on disability can’t make ends meet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

He was a Terrible Cat, and I Loved Him

 

Near the end of February, my sweet and terrible Orange Cat died. It was sudden and swift, and utterly unexpected. It is amazing what a huge space that little cat took up in my heart and in my home.

 

He’s been with me since he was eight weeks old. He and his brother came from the Winnipeg Pet Rescue Shelter, where they were dumped off in a box in the middle of winter along with their mom and another kitten. When my now-ex and I went to the shelter looking for one short-haired kitten, the mom and one sibling had already been adopted. These two remaining kittens were tiny fuzzy balls, one orange face and one grey with a vertical white stripe along his nose.  Apart from their color, they were identical in shape and movement: their little tails twitched simultaneously, their sweet heads tilted at the same angle; they moved and reacted in unison.  They were adorable! Continue reading

Weekly Pet Peeve: Cats at Night

You cat owners out there probably know that cats are nocturnal. That was a nasty surprise to me when I got my Kittenz five years ago. The cat I knew before that, Rakkertje, was already a sedate eight or so years old when I moved in with my then-partner. Rakker spent most of her days on a sunny windowsill, and most of her nights on our bed, with an hour of hunting mice in the yard around twilight.

That’s what I expected of the Kittenz (aside from the yard bit, as they are indoor cats). Boy, was I surprised to find out that no matter how much I played with them, kept them awake, interrupted their naps, and adjusted their feeding times, there would be a nightly hour (at least) somewhere between 1 and 5 am in which they’d be running around wrestling, jumping, singing, and stalking each other. And that’s on a good night! On a bad night, their schedules are staggered, so as one finally curls up to sleep, the other stretches, jumps lightly off the bed, and commences his hour of nocturnal frenzy.

I love the Kittenz. That is a fact. And I will never give them up. But I am a light sleeper, and insomnia is A Thing for me at the best of times, so I can tell you with a fair certainty that I will never get a cat again once these pretty Boyz are gone.

 

 

 

 

Behind the Scenes (or, My Brush with Going Viral)

I had an interesting WordPress experience this past weekend. It made me appreciate how this going viral thing works.

Back in May 2015, my friend’s dog Cookie died and I wrote a blog post about it (When Good Dogs Die). The pain of her loss was too fresh for my friend to want to read this post, and as time passed, it slipped both of our minds.

This past Saturday, I was at Cookie’s mom’s place with The Fluffy Dog for our almost-weekly playdate. We were talking about old dogs, and suddenly she exclaimed “Oh, I didn’t read what you wrote about Cookie yet!” And she felt she was ready. So when I got home later that day, I facebook messaged her the link to that post. She read it and shared it on facebook.

Now, Cookie’s mom is heavily involved with dog rescue and dog sport (agility and flyball, mostly). She has just under 200 facebook friends, and it seems that most of them are also committed Dog People. By the time I went to bed on Saturday, there were over a dozen comments and more likes on the post. Not too much. A nice number of people saying nice things about my tribute to Cookie, and remembering Cookie themselves.

What was fascinating, though, was what was happening on WordPress. My stats were jumping! Continue reading

Using Euphemisms for Death

So Qrys and I were talking today about death. She was wondering about the origin of “passed” as a euphemism. And that made me start wondering about death euphemisms in general. Why do people use euphemisms like passed, kicked the bucket, gone to a better place, departed, and so on? Qrys and I both prefer just to say that somebody died, and so we’re genuinely curious about why there are so many other ways of saying the same thing.

Here’s a little poll. Also, if you have more to say in the comments about the origin and use of “passed” in particular, I’ll pass that on to Qrys (see what I did there?)

Lest We Forget

Twenty-five years ago today In Montréal.

Geneviève Bergeron (born 1968), civil engineering student

Hélène Colgan (born 1966), mechanical engineering student

Nathalie Croteau (born 1966), mechanical engineering student

Barbara Daigneault (born 1967), mechanical engineering student

Anne-Marie Edward (born 1968), chemical engineering student

Maud Haviernick (born 1960), materials engineering student

Maryse Laganière (born 1964), budget clerk in the École Polytechnique’s finance department

Maryse Leclair (born 1966), materials engineering student

Anne-Marie Lemay (born 1967), mechanical engineering student

Sonia Pelletier (born 1961), mechanical engineering student

Michèle Richard (born 1968), materials engineering student

Annie St-Arneault (born 1966), mechanical engineering student

Annie Turcotte (born 1969), materials engineering student

Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz (born 1958), nursing student

Twenty-five years ago today. We remember you. We remember you. We remember you.

 

Hutspot: The Ultimate Winter Comfort Food

When I moved to the Netherlands, I was introduced to two typically Dutch dishes heavy on the Mighty Potato: boerenkool and hutspot. I’ve since stopped eating meat, and have yet to find a satisfactory vegetarian version of boerenkool, but hutspot remains one of my absolute favourite winter comfort meals.

Basically, hutspot is half-and-half potatoes and carrots, with some onions thrown in. Peel, chop, and boil them all up together, then mash them up with generous amounts of butter and milk. Add ground pepper to taste (and salt if you do salt), then nom-nom-nom. Freeze the rest in portions for later in the week (my standard cooking MO).

I bet real Dutch people have very specific ways they make this, and they’d probably be horrified at my cavalier recipe above. I change it up sometimes, too—for example, I rarely have milk in the house anymore so I use soy milk instead. And sometimes I substitute yams (are those the orange ones or are those sweet potatoes? I mean the orange ones) for some or all of the regular taters. And today my bromate made up a batch and he threw in a bunch of garlic as well.

There is nothing like a bowl of hot, buttery mashed potatoes after being out in the snow. Add ketchup or sambal or more ground black pepper or just eat it plain and steaming hot. All hail the magical potato!

 

 

 

 

Today I Can’t Shut Out the World

My Facebook news feed always shows me stories about hard-luck dogs: the ones abandoned, the ones surrendered to shelters by owners unwilling (or, so sadly, willing but unable) to care for them, the ones born wild and now starving / scavenging / suffering.

I’ve put most of those pages on a separate “interest group” so I’m not confronted with them every day, so I don’t start every day in tears as I eat my porridge before going to work.
But most of my Facebook friends care as much about dogs as I do, and the things they share still appear in my main feed.

I always care about these lonely and confused dogs, but at enough of a remove that the sadness doesn’t trip me up. Today, though, I feel overwhelmed by the magnitude of suffering in the world. I am feeling tender and moved toward all the abandoned and unwanted creatures, Continue reading

Hurt People Hurt People

It’s awful and heartbreaking and terrifying and absolutely unacceptable.

But please stop pretending it’s incomprehensible. And please stop thinking the perpetrators must be “mentally unbalanced.”

We in the white western world are in their countries, killing civilians, bombing hospitals, and destroying infrastructure. And in “our” own countries Continue reading

The Story Behind the Genderbread Person

The Genderbread Person

The Genderbread Person

I wanted to share the Genderbread Person with you, an infographic I found helpful in  being able to articulate the differences between gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, romantic orientation, and biological sex, and how these things can operate relatively independently of each other. But when I searched for “genderbread person” to find an image to insert into the post, I found The Genderbread Plagiarist, the story behind the genderbread person, a long, well-documented account of how the genderbread person was plagiarized and used for profit, It’s an old familiar tale of how the hard work of some is appropriated by those with more societal privilege or power. And it’s also a great example of how the truth will eventually out when enough determined and committed people are looking for it. Enjoy the read.

Too Many Ideas!!!

There are so many interesting bloggers out there! I scroll through my Reader and every second post catches my eye. And most of the ones that catch my eye inspire me to want to write something, so I have lists and lists of potential topics.

But when will I get to them? How do I carve out writing time? The dogs feel neglected, the cats are practically feral, the laundry is piled up and so are the dishes, my lawn is knee-high, and I’m due for a shower.

I am begging you, Other Bloggers: please stop being so interesting!

The Tyranny of Lists

I make lists.

I make multiple lists every day.

Right now there are five fresh lists between me and my monitor: stuff I have to ask the plumber to do, phone calls I have to make, ideas for blogging with a side list of songs to download, stuff I have to do at work, and the start of a grocery list.

Very few of these task will get done. I make lists, then I resent them. I’m all like “Don’t fucking tell me what to do!” Continue reading

Neither Bedbugs nor Breast Cancer: A Good Day

Yes, people and bots: That's well over $300 of meds. FML.

Yes, people and bots: That’s well over $300 of meds. FML.

Not last weekend but the weekend before, I got a little cluster of mosquito bites on my side. They were itchy as hell, and although I tried hard not to scratch, I did give in and rub them through my shirt a few times. By last Monday, the bites were swollen into welts and the itch was unbearable. They were right at the edge of where my bra sits, so they were constantly irritated. Over the week, the bites just got worse, and I even took Benadryl for a couple of days with no effect.

Then, two days ago, I woke up with another cluster of bites, closer to the centre of my torso. And I freaked out, because all I could think was “I’ve got bedbugs!” Continue reading

There are also good things…

Today’s post by The Bloggess is called The small things are the big things. She talks about how we tend to weigh negative things more heavily than good things. I was hesitant to read further in case it was one of those platitudinous positive thinking posts, you know the ones, where NOTHING BAD CAN HAPPEN TO YOU IF YOU THINK POSITIVE and YOUR ATTITUDE SHAPES YOUR OUTCOME and YOU ONLY HAVE CANCER BECAUSE YOU’RE NOT THINKING POSITIVE ENOUGH and all that crap. This context-free pushing of positive thinking completely overlooks the factors in people’s lives that they have absolutely no control over. Continue reading

Why a Blog (and not a journal)? – in three parts

I.

I love the Internet. I’ve loved it since I got my first email address in 1992 and built my first web site in 1994.

Meatspace is not always comfortable for an introvert like me, but I have met friends, colleagues, partners, and a whole whack of other fascinating people online. Some of these connections have moved from “virtual” to “real” life. Many haven’t. Either way is a-ok. Continue reading

Lottery Thoughts

DSC_0169[1]

The tickets I bought to take a picture to tell you how seldom I buy the tickets.

C. stopped by my desk at work today to say hi and ask how my weekend was. I hesitated, partly to admire C.’s clothes, and partly because I was in a painkiller-induced haze. “My weekend was fine,” I squinted, trying to remember. “But now I’m bitchy and crampy. When I grow up, I want to have no cramps and I want to win the lottery.” Continue reading