enjoying the foliage

Archive for the ‘random’ Category

How was yours?

Like all those pictures I have of myself from every year of elementary school, except smirkier.

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1. I got back from Japan last Monday. I had wonderful company and a fabulous time. Coming home was awfully dull and made worse by the fact that I had terrible jet lag that lasted me almost an entire week. I had nothing of real purpose to do last week outside of going to class for one day and catching up on studying, so I ended up succumbing to the midday sleepiness. I had drive my mom to work once and she actually made me pull over and slap myself awake. I think I finally got over it because I was at a conference over the weekend that forced me to be functional and interact with people over the entire course of the day that involved sunlight. But this bout of jet lag wasn’t as bad as in second year, when I came back from a trip to India in January and ended up with vampire-like sleep schedules for an entire month. I don’t have any recollection of how I managed to study for most of second semester. Conclusion: a) your SCN is a powerful thing, b) do blind people have significant jet lag?, and c) I miss Japan.

2. A friend I made whilst in Japan told me about this design website called NOTCOT. After finally remembering what it was called yesterday, I paid a visit. Fatefully, the first thing I saw was my name plastered across the website. Seriously! I’d heard of this skincare line before, but figured it was a little drugstore brand in India, perhaps to be found next to the bottles of coconut oil and Closeup toothpaste exports at the tiny Indian grocery shop about two minutes from my house. In other words, nothing to exclaim about. But now I can own a bottle of face wash with my name on it, that I may actually like. Natural, eco-friendly, prettily packaged! Perhaps it will become famous, like Aveda, and a spa will open at every Square One-equivalent in every suburb, and I won’t have to explain to people how to say my name anymore. How strange would that be?

And on a (slightly) related note, the Pratimas on the internet are designers, artists, decorators, and professors professing corporate social responsibility. We aren’t a bad bunch, I think.

3. Apart from a few odd hours a week, I’m not really working for the rest of the summer. I’ve been looking for things to do to occupy my time. Today, I stopped by Chapters to pick up a “Teach Yourself Hindi!” package with a CD. Recently I’ve been feeling pitiful about my inability to speak any second language with any measure of proficiency, and figured that learning Hindi has the highest potential for success (also I think it sounds awesome, and would be helpful for Bollywood viewing). The lessons in the language text I bought are entirely based around this soapy story about a “foreigner” named Pratap from Nepal (?) visiting a family in India and falling in love with the teenage daughter, or something. Awesome.

I’ve also investigated volunteering with a couple of environmental NGOs in Mississauga. I’m hoping it’ll workout.

4. And finally, you may have seen this floating around already today (it was on Kottke), but I’m so amused that I’m linking it here too. Fonts at a Font Conference! Wingdings<3.

Fin.

So I was talking to some BFA (bachelor of fine arts) friends of mine last night, and this conceptual art exhibit, Shedboatshed, came up. Basically, the artist, Simon Starling, came upon an old shed by the Rhine one day and decided that he would reconstruct it into a boat, row the boat to the museum he was having an exhibit at, and then rebuild his boat into a shed. It won the Turner prize in 2005. I thought it was a neat piece right away just because it automatically made me think of the good old Ship of Theseus paradox about object identity (as much as I hate that kind of metaphysics) – is Starling’s shed at the museum the same shed as the one he found by the river? But other than that, I think it still raises a lot of interesting questions – from ‘what counts as (good) art?’ to ‘in what ways do manufactured objects relate to us specifically, people in general, and the world around us?’. I suggest scrolling down to the bottom of the Tate page (first link) and listening to the audio clips or reading the transcripts from them about Shedboatshed. It’s nice to note the thought behind the piece rather than just dimissing it as a weird, postmodern act of futility.

I have an unusually deep fondness for basil. So, rather than buy the stuff imported all the way from the Dominican Republic at Food Basics for my summer cooking, I decided to grow my own. I bought four small plants from the farmers’ market yesterday and then impulsively bought a fifth on the way home from the natural-foods store. We’ll see how they do.

This is Sadie. Her friends are Bertrand, Sol, Cleo, and Beryl.

If you knew me in high school, you knew that John Cameron Mitchell rocked my world and you probably saw me at Artsfest in grade 11 – Salvation Army fur coat, blonde Tina Turner wig, neon-orange fishnets – singing Wicked Little Town and its reprise with Tracy and Jade. I’ve outgrown Hedwig and the Angry Inch a bit since then, but I think I’ve found a replacement in JCM’s new film – Shortbus.

If you’ve heard of it, it’s probably because of Sook-Yin Lee and the real sex she has in the film. So let me just say it: there’s a glorious amount of sex on celluloid here. It’s not clever camera angles and lighting and heavy breathing; it’s real peopleĀ  having real sex with one another, and it’s great. You’ll have to trust me when I say that it’s not pornographic. There is so much sex (and of all kinds too), so many happy naked limbs flailing around, and yet it’s fabulous because it really is just about more than a bunch of people fucking. Somehow, JCM manages to efface all of the dirt and shame that weighs down just about every other depiction of sex in the history of North American cinema and to make sex a joyous and transcendent affair. Really, Shortbus just makes me incredibly happy.

Watch this when you need to be reminded of the fact that there is love in the world or when you have someone you love beside you.

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As you all know, I’m stuck in my wicked little town this summer because I have an internship with a major collaborative research initiative (MCRI) being run out of Queen’s called the Ethnicity and Democratic Governance project. Although I don’t do anything particularly original or academic, I got a really good sense of the kinds of things that other people are doing for the project this weekend when about fifty of us converged on the Four Points by Sheraton in downtown Kingston for two days for a workshop/conference called Assessing Territorial Pluralism. Comparative politics, constitution building, and empirical studies are really way beyond the scope of my interests, so I definitely got some exposure to things I’d never really thought about or heard of until yesterday or the day before. I just thought I’d share some of the things I learned that came out of the conference:

  • philosophy students tend to grimace especially when academics are accused of being so far removed from the real world, but then there are individuals like Richard Simeon and Marie-Joelle Zahar who were in Iraq in 2005 to advise the Iraqis in the drafting of their constitution
  • everyone is busy talking about Tibet, but Chinese ethnographers have officially identified 55 different ethnic minorities living within Chinese borders, and strangely enough, there are articles in the Chinese constitution that recognise the existence and rights of these nationalities. For the present, of course, all real power lies with the CCP, but these constitutional guarantees might come in handy in the future
  • Belgium is an incredibly divided nation-state that may in fact be in its death throes. Civil society, politics, and just about everything else are divided along language lines, i.e. as a politician, you’d probably speak both French and Flemish, but you’d have to decide whether you’d run as a candidate for the Francophone green party or the Flemish green party. There just isn’t any dialogue going on between the Francophone and Flemish populations anymore. [The chocolate of both societies, however, is still fabulous – I can attest to this personally.]

Because I’m stuck in my wicked little town for the summer and know all of five people, I’ve begun a curriculum of cultural enrichment for myself. I rented DVDs from Classic Video down the street for the first time last night and started off with Wong Kar Wai’s Chungking Express.

I think I’ll report back here from time to time with my cultural adventures, but I’ve grown out of the days where I had obnoxious opinions about everything and was just a general loudmouth in her own little corner of the internet, so no full on reviews this time. It’ll suffice to say that Chungking is hilarious, disorienting, beautiful, and made me laugh out loud quite frequently and gesticulate widely to no one at times. It was also nice to know that as far as girls vying for the attention of some cute boy go, I’m not that crazy. I haven’t bought goldfish and broken into anyone’s apartment yet. I don’t talk to my bar of soap and project my sorrows on to it either. Maybe this film isn’t the best way to measure my sanity, but it’s great nonetheless.

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