Environmentalists Only, Please

I cannot support any politician-candidate or incumbent-who does not consider the stewardship of the environment as a priority issue.

If they can’t acknowledge that human existence has an impact on the Earth, they have no business making decisions for the rest of us. And even if they acknowledge the impact but don’t think we are speeding up climate change directly, they should at least agree that we should minimize our impact for the benefit of future generations. Their actions should speak for them on these positions.

Take, for instance, this article in the New York Times about an epidemic of hyperthyroidism in cats which some believe could be caused by flame retardant materials we had in our homes. Chemicals meant to protect us, but now we know could harm us in other ways. Or what about this other article showing how much post-consumer plastic is being washed up on a remote island in the Pacific Ocean? 

We have a huge impact on our environment, and it is our responsibility to minimize the negative impacts. If we don’t have leaders who recognize this, we are doomed. Representatives with no environmental agenda should be replaced in the next election by others who are committed to preserving our planet.

This is Just to Say . . .

. . . I’ll be writing more soon. And not just because the film festival is fast approaching. 

I finally had the idea that there might be an app that would make posting so much more easy and convenient for me. And behold! There is. So now I don’t have to force myself to sit at my computer and write when I can just as easily scratch things out on the bus or snuggled in bed. Yay, technology!

Digital Laze: My Fingers Need Discipline

I’ve always been a writer, such that I’ve always had an awareness of what I’m writing above what I think is probably normal. It all began when I was quite young. Being from a broken home, a large portion of my relationship with my mom was conducted by mail. We put a lot of efforts into our correspondence, which was great fun, and my mom even bought me a book to help my inspiration. I might even still have the book, now that I think about it. It didn’t stop with my mom, though. When she moved not so long ago, she mailed me a box that was filled with letters I had received in return for letters sent to quite a large number of people, some of whom I had completely forgot. I was quite impressed with myself for the achievement. Today, I can barely get a reply to a text message (exaggeration!).

My attention to the written word continued into my professional life, where much of my business is done through email with people on the other side of the world. From the start, I made a point of carefully constructing my missives to be as clear as possible to the readers. While they are all English speakers, they aren’t American so there is always a chance for confusion. One person I have worked with over the years writes (especially in the earlier years) in extensive abbreviations, a hold over from the telex days when every character counted, literally. It took me some time to decipher, and so in response I pledged to myself to write out every single word always. I’ll admit I’ve gotten a bit lax. There are a few words I always abbreviate. But I still make a point of writing complete sentences, with proper punctuation and capitalization (as a result, my personal emails are practically devoid of these things). I pride myself in it. I have therefore been chagrined this week by the discovery my fingers have become quite lazy.

I was issued a new computer at work this week and have spent some time customizing my settings. I’m generally opposed to auto-correct, and have turned it off. What I discovered, however, is that on my old computer, I still had the “capitalize the first letter of sentences” turned on. Now, it seems at least half the time, I’ve been having to go back and fix my capital letters! Since when did it become so difficult to hold down the Shift key? Am I really in that much of a hurry? It has brought a new found awareness to my typing. I read an article recently about the growing disuse of periods as a signal of sincerity in typed messages. I pray I don’t fall victim to this herd mentality. It would really get my goat to have my behaviors defined by generational norms (I’m fairly safe as I’m not quite young enough to fit into the millennial range).

What does this all mean? Well, it means I’ll be paying more attention to my punctuation, in the traditional sense. So, if you get a text from me that ends with a period, there’s no need to read anything into it. When I’m being sarcastic, you’ll know it by the look on my face.

SIFF 2015: Day One

I started this year’s festival much like last year’s festival, with a French film starring Guillaume Gouix. Only this year, the film was The Connection, and it was not very funny nor whimsical. The main stars are Jean Dujardin as a magistrate fighting the heroin trade in 1970s Marseille, and Gilles Lellouche as the heroin trader. It is loosely based on a true story. Other than the pleasant surprise that Benoît Magimel played one of the gangsters, the story of the film was fairly predictable. I like Dujardin, but unfortunately, or maybe this was on purpose, he and Lellouche are very similar in appearance. I wasn’t the only one in the theatre who at times asked myself, “now which one is that?”

This year, I will be applying the Bechdel Test to all the films I see in the festival. To pass the test, a film  must have at least two named female characters who talk to each other about something other than a man. Someone is keeping a list here.

The Connection‘s Bechdel Rating: FAIL. Not surprising for a film set in the disco era, in France, there are hardly any women in it, much less talking to each other, or talking at all.

A Whole New Turn Which is More or Less the Same

I’ve moved my blog this weekend. It was a somewhat arduous process, helped in large part by hyakkotai. It has forced me to revisit these pages and gain inspiration to continue on this written journey. Perhaps my efforts will go unnoticed by other humans, but I will not let that deter me.

More musings, rants, general nonsense, and prose coming soon. Stay tuned!

Butterfly Affectation

Recently I met someone who made an impression on me. Something about him struck me, and I listened to his story, strange that it was. I wondered if what he was telling me was true, and at the same time also knew there were things he was keeping hidden. Eventually it came out that he needed a place to stay for the night, and I considered granting it. In the end, I guess you could say I chickened out (my mother is probably thankful for that) and sent him out into the night without anything to make his way any easier. What could I have given him? He didn’t even ask for anything. And I’m left wondering if I did the right thing, if he really just wanted a place to lay his head for the night, or if he may have had sinister intentions. Who knows, because when he left, he was gone. It brings to mind Jesus’ story about treating strangers nicely (“when I was hungry, you fed me, etc”). Maybe this guy, this fellow human being, was down on his luck but otherwise a decent person. Then again, maybe he was a thief and a liar. I feel like I should be able to connect with my fellow globules of atoms in a way that would help me know this. What have we become if we turn our backs on everyone solely on the basis that one of those people might be evil? I sincerely hope this man found a nice patch of grass to rest upon and that he made his way home after sunrise. And if there is any kind of karma, I hope it doesn’t bite me for turning away a stranger with an authentic need for shelter.

Spinnaker: Then and Now

For all of my life, I’ve never really been a fan of roller coasters or other thrill rides. Especially if it has a loop in it, I can totally live without the experience, but there’s usually enough other attractions at amusement parks that I can still have a satisfying time. At some point in my childhood, I found myself at Six Flags Over Texas with my sister, stepmom, aunt, and older cousins. We were in line for the Spinnaker, a spinny thing on an arm which lifts to a vertical position, giving the riders a few moments of being upside down. I had no desire to ride it, so I said that I wouldn’t. This decision did not sit well with my stepmom, and so began a battle of wills. I eventually lost, influenced in part by my cousin Brian’s offer to let me ride with him in his pod (this same cousin Brian introduced me to peanut butter on pancakes, so I knew he could be trusted).  It wasn’t the worst thing in the world, but I still didn’t like it, and never rode it again. I just didn’t see how taking a turn on an amusement park ride would bring the slightest amount of betterment to my life as a whole. It did, however, provide me with a lasting memory.

Which is why, sitting at the bar of Oddfellows last night with Maryam, I felt compelled to drink a cocktail named Spinnaker. From what I can tell, it is a house creation, and its ingredients are bourbon, Bonal, Cointreau, and bitters, served with zest of orange. It was not nearly as scary to me as the amusement park ride, so it was not difficult to convince myself to get it. I had no previous knowledge of Bonal, but it is apparently harmless (as much as a 16% alcohol beverage can be), and actually quite tasty in the Spinnaker. I may have to check out this aperitif next time I’m at the ol’ liquor store. I can be quite adventurous in aspects of life that don’t involve mechanical arms and such throwing one’s body into the air.