Sunday, December 24, 2006

We're going where the wind is blowing

It's almost Christmas and I'm getting pretty excited. This hardly constitutes as a gift but I thought I'd leave a little something for the people who read this blog:

Butterfly-girl: Your enthusiasm in class was always infectious (whooo!) - Whenever I see a giant foam finger I'll always be reminded of you. Thanks for your comments, and great parties. Our programme may have had its faults, but I'm so glad it gave me the opportunity to meet you (and the rest of our classmates).
Boots: Knowing you check this on Mondays gives me incentive to have something for you to check. Good luck with the wedding plans - does a lack of glasses change any of the plans you already made?
Hamesy: Halifax hasn't been the same without you. No more bad puns, or jokes with a 'kernel' of truth - truly, you are missed.
MJC: Garp wrote a story for pretty much the same reason I started this
To 'all the people' who write in questions that just happen to address whatever topic I wish to cover - thank you. I look forward to your continued support in the future.
Lastly: To anyone who reads this blog site thanks for taking the time to do so.
Happy Holidays everyone. I truly wish you all the best this time of year has to offer.
Jesse V.

Monday, December 18, 2006

I'm in the way

While at a grocery store this evening I noticed that a cashier's name-tag was "Amanda!" None of the other cashiers have an exclamation point following their name. I know this because I checked, I had to. It made me wonder how exactly her name is meant to be pronounced. Should it be said like she is in some sort of mortal danger. "Amanda! Nooooo!" Maybe her name is supposed to said like someone meeting an old friend that they haven't seen in years "oh my God, Amanda!" Or, maybe her name is simply supposed to be shouted in a loud, clipped voice, like seeing a friend walking by on a crowded street "Amanda!" However, I then realized that I was limiting myself in my thinking for although Amanda! looks very caucasian, how am I to know that the ! doesn't represent a sound in the !Kung language.
Then I started to wonder, am I up to the task of saying her name? Probably not, but I think should have tried. I'm not sure which way I would have went with but I think any one would have led to a very awkward moment.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

A quai

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Saturday, December 09, 2006

You are what you love

A lot of people have been writing in again, this time to ask what happened to the photo of me and Capital M. I've replaced it with the one to the left.
Allow me to fill in some very random details since I'm more of an outline in this one-

- When I was a younger, thinner man people told me I looked like Jay Leno, or the illegitimate love child of Jay Leno and Elvis Presley (while Elvis may have been a heart throb to many, Jay Leno is not) More contemporary comparisons have been made with the most recent winner of American Idol, Taylor Hicks - I think it's because of the grey hair and maybe the chin. I have also been compared, only once though, to the character Hank Azaria played on 'Friends.' However, the person I am likened to the most is Quentin Tarantino. I can't say I'm overjoyed with any of these comparisons, especially Tarantino (unless I was making movies), but there it is.

- I just bought a Christmas cd. Actually, I bought some cookies that came with a Christmas cd. I really like cookies and this gave me an excuse to buy some.

- Going to work at CCH is one of the 'top three best decisions' I ever made (even though it cost me three of my nine lives)

- I like to make people laugh and wish I were better at it

- I have no ability whatsoever in the fine arts - unlike a lot of my relatives

- I have yet to read a piece of non-fictional writing in my free time

- I want to start 'the international day of Fruit and Justice.' An international holiday in which the goodness of both fruit and Justice are celebrated

- The cd that came with the cookies isn't very good (I didn't think it really would be)- it's a good thing I have the cookies

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

My date with Jane

Being a teacher was not part of the plan when I was younger. For quite some time I wanted to be an anthropologist or a primatologist or involved in the field of international development. Shortly into the first term of my first year of college, my anthropology professor told the class that Jane Goodall was giving a presentation at the University of Calgary (about an hour and a half away). My professor said that it would probably be the last time she would be in Canada and that we should take the opportunity to go and see her. He also informed us that there was a group, not affiliated with the college, who would be providing transportation to and from the event, as well as selling tickets. I never had a moment's hesitation. One bright and sunny afternoon I set out to find the headquarters of this Nature group. It proved to be quite a journey that took me well outside the city limits and well past the last stop of the city bus. The roads went from paved to gravel, houses starting appearing less frequently and the space in between was filled with trees or marshes. By the time I reached the place I was happy just to be in contact with another human being. I paid for the ticket and then started the trip back.

The event was being held a few nights later and I was pretty excited. Fortunately, the bus that was travelling to Calgary was in a much more central location to where I lived. I put on my best pair of shorts and a nice shirt and set off to the bus. One of the first things I noticed once we started moving was that none of my classmates shared my enthusiasm for this event and I was alone amongst a crowd of older somewhat odd seeming people. As such, I put on my walkman and tuned out the general drone in the bus, including that of the woman in charge and stared out the window. This proved to be a bit of a mistake.

As the bus pulled into the parking lot near the auditorium where Ms. Goodall was presenting I took off my walkman and caught "alright, you all have your tickets - enjoy the presentation and we'll meet back here at 9:30pm." I didn't have a ticket - the woman I paid said they'd be given out on the bus. I asked the woman in charge (who really wasn't) and she told me that people were supposed to go back to the nature centre and pick up their tickets (people like me who paid for one before the centre actually had it). The woman didn't seem very sympathetic and I soon found myself standing alone in a parking lot.

No problem, I thought, I know people in the city - no one answered at the two places I called. People were still funnelling into the auditorium and I wanted to be one of them. Moreover, the prospect of hanging out a foyer for the next 2 hours was very unappealing. Also, I really wanted to see the presentation. In desperation I went to the reservations desk and explained my situation; I didn't have any money on me and very little in the bank so I couldn't actually pay for another ticket. The woman I spoke with (who was very nice) told me that someone just called to say they wouldn't be able to attend and that they had already paid for their ticket. She gave it to me and told me to enjoy the presentation. And I did.

I just struck me that this happened almost exactly ten years ago. I am grateful no one was home when I called the people I knew in Calgary - I would have missed out on something great.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Movie Review - Babel

The following is a counter-point to the well written review posted by my esteemed (future) colleague and (present) classmate Jobes.

The movie Babel is concerned with finding that which binds humanity together. I think the movie finds it; a bit clumsily maybe but it's there. My knowledge of biblical stories is rather limited but if I understand the story of Babel from the book of Genesis it's about how humanity at one time all spoke the same language and tried to build a tower that would reach the heavens. As a punishment, God made people speak different languages so no one could understand one another and sent people to different parts of the world.
Director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu starts from from a similar perspective. Every scene from each of the four stories is completely disparate from one another. From craggy hills in Morocco to the bustling pulse of life in Tokyo to a wedding in Mexico, Inarritu does a great job at capturing the essence of the location and the people who live there. However, what works even better is the language that can be heard beneath the Spanish, English, Arabic and Japanese. There is no need for subtitles when it comes to the language of human emotion. Love, fear, anguish, dispair, confusion, loneliness - all are instantly recognizable and evoke strong emotions in anyone willing to listen past everything else that seperates us.
The movie isn't with out its flaws. The most interesting story centres on a deaf and mute teenage girl in Japan. Unfortunately, this also has the weakest tie to the other stories. However, the underlying principal is still significant. Our world has become so interconnected that small gestures and actions can have far reaching and increasingly global consequences.
Bottom line - I liked this movie. I didn't leave it wanting to see it again but it made me feel something while I watched it.