Friday (November 22) evening I had gone out for pizza and drinks with my best friend and my partner. It was a momentous occasion, since it was the first time both of them were meeting. We were enjoying bulgogi pizza with shots of Soju while my phone was ringing silently. It wasn't until we were all in my friend's car after eating, that I checked my phone. Several missed calls, a voice mail and a few text messages were waiting for me. My sister's message was urgent. This was only somewhat typical - it was the missed call from my father and mother that set me off. I hadn't spoken much to my father since October 25. We had a falling out, so to speak (parents just don't understand). So it must have been important for him to breach the awkward tension to call me.
I called my sister first. She gave me the news. My grandmother is dead. Just like that. Now, just imagine for a moment, a person who is akin to a Nazi, dying. Are you sad? No, not really. Actually, you probably feel elated. Like, finally. One of the most evil people in the world died - no great loss. I know it's a horrible thing to say - people say you should never celebrate someone's death. Well, perhaps if it was a regular person or even if they weren't, as long as they weren't bitter and cruel to their dying days. Unfortunately, my grandmother was like a Nazi. She hated everyone - every sexuality, every colour, every nationality, everyone. She hated her friends, her family and her peers. I don't remember her saying anything nice about a single person - except herself. She always had praise for herself. How kind she was - how smart she was - sadly, all delusions. She may have been steeped in denial and lost all objectivity. Either way, she was not a good person.
I dislike this fact however my opinion isn't necessarily shared. My sister was broken up about it. She was crying. She actually felt sad. I was surprised. I mean, my sister never visited - if anything, I visited much more frequently (to my chagrin). Nor did she speak kindly of her or to her - she would openly mock my grandmother, but in a way that my grandmother didn't know it was happening. It was embarrassing. I never dared to behave that way, despite not liking her. Yet, my sister was broken up about it. My father's reaction was expected - he was sad, but sad for different reasons. He felt like it was a life wasted - she didn't learn anything and she died alone, with no one who loved her. Perhaps she could have arguably deserved some pity if it wasn't for the fact she lived her entire life abusing others. I have zero tolerance for abuse.
So here I am, contemplating. My grandmother was 91 when she died. My father told me that she was found standing up, leaning on her walker with her eyes open. I hate to have been the one to find her. It must have been terrifying. The workers knew my grandmother and did their best to avoid dealing with her except when mandatory. She was in an assisted living facility where they had to check on her twice a day. So there she was, still moving, still stubbornly pushing - she died mid-movement. I can't think of many people who do that. That was her though - she was incredibly stubborn. So stubborn in fact, we were all convinced she would never go. She had already defied the odds years ago when she walked again, after doctors said she wouldn't. She had disc surgery in her back, and in more recent years, both hips replaced. Yet, she walked. Nothing stopped her.
While it's obvious there's no love lost between my grandmother and I, I can admire her tenacity. I have never known another woman so fierce, so stubborn, and so determined. Maybe I have her to thank for those attributes in myself. Either way, she's now gone. There's no point in belaboring the same point again and again, she's dead now.
Yet, it does leave me with some curious questions. How am I supposed to feel? Despite not liking her, I had visited her frequently throughout my entire childhood, adolescence and adulthood. I knew her closely. My father, sister and I played cards with my grandmother. We ate at the same restaurant for years and years and years. This Chinese buffet she preferred going to - she was also incredibly cheap and refused to eat anywhere else. We had gone so frequently, I recognized all the staff and knew exactly what food was served where. I had a preferred route!
So I was "close" to her. Although no one was truly close to her. She didn't have depth - she had layers of manipulative abuse. How do I feel about her death? I was honestly happy. I thought, finally. She's no longer a burden to my father. He often complained about how difficult it was for him to take care of her, and her affairs. She was stressful and demanding. If he didn't answer the phone, she would call the police and have them search for him - from another province! Controlling is a word that describes her. Yet, is that okay? Is it okay not to care about the death of a close family member? If one of your relatives was a "Nazi", would you feel bad upon their death? I will say that she was one of the last remaining ties to my father's side of the family. That part is sad.
Regardless, I wanted to update the Blog with what's going on in my life. I moved in October to a different place, so it's taken a long time to transition and organize everything. I've only begun to get settled in. I apologize for my absence but hopefully there will be more updates coming soon.
Sooo...I've known for a long time that I would need to watch Game of Thrones because I'm a fan of fantasy - especially medieval + dragons fantasy. I mean, who isn't?
I'm presently watching season 2, episode 8 (I promise, no plot spoilers) and I'm grateful that I've waited so I can just power through a whole bunch in a row. I suppose there are two sides to that. On the other hand I know a lot of spoilers from being a citizen of the internet. In my opinion, it's a positive since I'm prepared for the mental and emotional anguish.
Believe me, there is anguish. Sometimes just disgust or perhaps a lot of loathing, maybe now and then a glimmer of victory, which you languish in briefly before it's cruelly snatched away. Oh Game of Thrones, she be a harsh and unforgiving mistress but she be beautiful. Ar, she be beautiful.
I don't know why that just happened. Anyhoo...I decided in my musings to list my favourite characters so far - that way you can pinpoint the exact moments of my unfathomable grief.
Good day readers! As of Friday, April 26, 2013, a new series shall premiere! Part of a story will be posted every Friday night on a separate blog named, "Shadow Vault", located under the Blog tab. It will be similar to the Storytime Sunday format but this time the theme is completely different and some segments may be written before Friday.
Shadow Vault will be for mature readers only. That doesn't necessarily mean just adults but it is recommended. It may include mature themes, offensive language, violence, nudity or other explicit scenes. It is intended for mature audiences only. Reader discretion is advised. If you'd like to know a little more about the story, click below.
Hello readers, today I'm going to discuss my own perspective of life and death. If you are sensitive about these topics, please feel free to stop reading right here. My blog is a place where I can express my opinions but I certainly don't expect you to share them. You are entitled to your beliefs and it is not my intention to tread on your dreams. However if you are curious, please read on. I realize these topics are complex but I'm hoping to provide the simplest answer I can.
Over the course of my lifetime I have been plagued with the thoughts and unanswerable questions of generations before me. What is life? What is death? (What is the meaning of life? I will attempt to answer that in a later blog post.) Before I could answer these questions I spent all my life asking questions of my own. In university I chose all of my courses to learn the most I could about people, be it individuals, groups, cultures or beliefs. With much thought and consideration, I have finally come to the answers that satisfy me.
For the answers to life and death, I personally found that a mixture of ideas and intuition was best for me. Everyone will come to their own conclusions and this just happens to be mine. After studying tribal cultures such as North American First Nations, Australian Aboriginals and African tribes like the nomadic Kalahari, I discovered something very similar between them. They all believe that life is cyclical. I don't think this is by mere coincidence. Somehow, very different people across the world all came to the conclusion that life is not linear but it is cyclical. I've combined this belief with pieces of Buddhism, neo-Paganism and a dash of mysticism.
It is a common Buddhist belief that what brings us misery is desire and ego. In order to separate ourselves from misery, we must abandon our desire to want things and at the same let go of our ego. Doing both of these things will only leave room for happiness. When I think about things that make people miserable, ego and desire are often the reason. Things such as "wants" are unnecessary and inevitably create more want. We are never satisfied with just one thing, there is always something ready to take its place. For example, "I want a flat screen television" turns into "I want a bigger flat screen television". It's like a never-ending goose chase. We are never satisfied. Perhaps the real reason is that none of these things truly satiate the appetite for happiness. They are mere distractions. They may entertain us but they will never fill that hole. (In a previous post I discussed The Key to Happiness and the hole borne in each person's heart.)
Then there is neo-Paganism. If you aren't familiar with the term, let me help acquaint you. In my own words, neo-Paganism is a collection of sub-cultures that derive their practices, ideals and beliefs from the history of Paganism. People who are a part of neo-Paganism would simply call themselves "Pagans" since they do not separate themselves from the cultures before them. To sum up, neo-Pagan cultures include many diverse groups such as witches and druids but they all tend to share similar beliefs, that is respect for people, the Earth and the belief in Karma. More importantly, neo-Pagans believe we are all connected. The environment, the animals and of course each other. We are all united and share the same energy and in turn to harm the Earth or another living being is to harm ourselves. To love each other is to love ourselves.
I have described pieces of beliefs that I have come to accept for myself from tribal cultures, Buddhism and neo-Paganism. The last part is mysticism. Again, in my own words, Mysticism is the idea that we privately seek our own answers using our intuition to reach conclusions. Perhaps this means meditating or praying in private or maybe communicating with nature, whatever it is, is up to you. In my own thoughts and times of meditation, I have come to accept certain ideas.
Life is cyclical. We are born, we live and we die but only to be re-born again. I am a true believer in reincarnation. Just like the Law of Conservation of Energy states that energy can neither be created or destroyed, I believe that we are beings of energy and therefore cannot be created or destroyed. Our bodies are mechanical but the "energy" that makes us tick exists almost separately. We are all connected and to me that describes life as a ball of energy. When we are born, energy is borrowed to make us breathe and when our bodies fail us, the energy is returned. Perhaps it is easiest to compare to people's notions of a soul. The difference for me is that the soul is described as individual, as though it has a personality of its own. I'm not sure that's true. I am more inclined to believe that due to life's connected nature, the energy is without personality. For me this means, there is no judgement and therefore no heaven or hell.
I realize it may seem like a lot to take in and perhaps it's somehow offensive to you but that would be silly. I am not here to persuade you to think like me. In fact just the opposite, I'm hoping to inspire you to search out your own answers. I am here to say that I have come to this conclusion after much deliberation and I appreciate anyone who takes the time to reach their own conclusions. If something I've said rings true with something deep inside of you, please follow up and do the research. Learning is always a good thing. If you want to ask me questions, just use the contact form and I will get back to you. In the meantime let's try to spread love, not hate; peace, not war.
Everyday I do a little research and find events for that particular day. Sometimes it's a famous birthday or a bizarre holiday. Today it's a historical event. I learned about something that I didn't know before. I always appreciate learning. So I thought it would be a great idea to share it with my readers.
This day in history, December 6, 1917, Halifax (Nova Scotia, Canada) was shocked by something now known as the Halifax Explosion.
During the first world war, the Halifax Harbour was a crucial port for the Allies. Due to the success of German U-boat attacks, the Allies were forced to form convoys and used the Harbour as a starting point. The convoys would leave through the northwestern end of the Harbour which was guarded by anti-submarine nets and Royal Canadian Navy patrol ships.
In order to move between the Harbour and the basin, ships had to navigate something called "the Narrows". It was here that the Norwegian ship, Imo stubbornly refused to slow down or stop when they were met with warning signals from the French cargo ship, S S Mont-Blanc. This caused an inevitable collision, despite the Mont-Blanc's seasoned harbour pilot, Francis Makay. Unfortunately the Mont-Blanc was filled with munitions and the collision detonated a devastating explosion.
Smoke filled the air, rising over 6 100 metres (20 000 feet) and the explosion destroyed over 160 hectares (400 acres). The seismic force resulted in a 18 metre (60 foot) tsunami. Every building within 26 kilometres (16 miles) was destroyed or damaged while 1 600 people were immediately killed and 9 000 injured.
The resulting damages were worth about $35 million in 1917 but when adjusted for inflation, the damages would be over $531 million today.
The loss of life was horrific and what's worse, the relief efforts were not equally distributed. The black community known as Africville was heavily damaged but ignored by relief funds and reconstruction.
Death, destruction and on top of all that, racism. I wish I could say times have changed and this sort of behaviour is a thing of the past but unfortunately I can't.
Following the devastation of hurricane Katrina in 2005, I think it's obvious that the government was ignoring the citizens of New Orleans. Yet when New York was hit with hurricane Sandy, there was no end to the preparations and funds funneled into protecting the wealthy and white. I hope that people will realize sooner rather than later, that all lives are equal.
November 13, 1887 saw one of the most notable demonstrations in history. Britain had created a difficult social situation due to a severe rise in unemployment and suspension of many civil rights, mainly affecting the Irish working class. After years of unrest it had finally reached a breaking point. Around 10 000 protesters marched on to Trafalgar Square, a symbolic meeting point of the working class and upper class. In response 2000 police and 400 troops were called in to halt the demonstration. As in every political demonstration where the working class rises to defend itself against the tyranny of government and the upper class, the police relentlessly beat down the innocent protesters. Using their fists and truncheons they beat not only men but women and children. Most were injured with at least 200 being treated at a hospital and 3 suffering from fatal wounds and dying.
I wish I could say this behaviour was abnormal. I wish I could say that this type of thing remains in the past but unfortunately it doesn't. Unfortunately it's not unusual for the government to silence its people. The working class were merely trying to bring attention to their cause. They were practicing the art of free speech and bringing to light the atrocities the government refused to acknowledge. What was their reaction? To beat down everyone who attended. It didn't matter the age or sex, they were quickly and viciously shut up.
You wish to hear examples of present day demonstrations where protesters are mistreated? They are countless but here are just a few:
- Battle in Seattle
- Quebec Student Protests
- FEMEN Protests
- Bolivia Revolt
- Occupy Wallstreet
You'll notice one thing when reading about protests, past or present, they blame the protesters. They claim that they're violent and dangerous. Sometimes the media even paints them to be anarchists. What a ridiculous notion! Just because you disagree with the government or corporation or IMF/WTO/World Bank or whatever it is doesn't make you to be an irrational anarchist. It seems like "anarchists" are the next "terrorist", the next bogeyman the government and media warns you about. Well guess what, those protesters are defending you and me. They're defending their rights. They're simply trying to bring to light an atrocity. The Bolivia Revolt is a perfect example. An American corporation attempted to privatize water in Bolivia, meaning that everyday people would have to pay for a necessity, how absurd! They were punished severely for speaking out but that didn't stop them.
Another great example is the Battle in Seattle. The WTO (World Trade Organization) was meeting to decide the fate of the world as we know it. So peaceful demonstrations took place to try and stop their globalization agenda. Yet the media reported violent protesters, which wasn't the case. Yet it made everyone assume that the protesters were evil and the WTO were innocent victims. If you knew what the WTO were doing, you wouldn't believe it.
I could go on and on about this but I think it's important that everyone does their own research. Make your own decisions. It would be your choice to decide whether or not the media evaluated situations correctly. Yet I would urge you not to believe everything you see and hear on television. Think about who controls the media, it's not the people. It's corporate entities, bending and shaping it to their will as they see fit. Makes you think, doesn't it?
If you're really interested, there are some excellent documentaries. There's one entitled "Battle in Seattle" about the 1999 protest I mentioned. More importantly there's one documentary you must watch called, "The Corporation". It's on Netflix right now (if you have an account). I highly recommend watching it.
Remember, remember the 5th of November,
The Gunpowder Treason and Plot.
I see no reason why Gunpowder Treason should ever be forgot.
Today is Guy Fawkes Day, a memorable moment in history for Londoners. In 1605 Guy Fawkes (Guido Fawkes) and accomplices, all Catholics, planned and failed an attempt to destroy Parliament along with the Protestant King James. They had disagreed with his heartless political actions so they sought to assassinate him and replace him with who they considered to be the rightful heir, his daughter Princess Elizabeth.
Guy Fawkes had been prepared to set alight barrels of gunpowder when Parliament was back in session however as left his station the night before he was arrested. Following procedure he was tortured until they were able to obtain a guilty plea under duress. His punishment would not be a merciful one. He was to be hanged, drawn and quartered along with some of his co-conspirators. (If you're unsure what that means, I suggest not looking it up. It would make most people squeamish. I can guarantee that it was the worst way to die.) Guy Fawkes knew of the horrible death that awaited him so with the noose around his neck, he jumped. This caused him to break his neck, killing him instantly.
In my opinion Guy Fawkes and the others must have had an excellent reason for attempting assassination and destroying the entire parliament. They were prepared to destroy the very symbol of their government, most likely in hopes that the government to replace him would be significantly better.
King James was by no means an innocent man. He was like most royalty: cruel, narcissistic and arrogant. For example, he was personally involved in torturing young women who were accused of witchcraft. He must have been a very unjust leader since in his first year of reign alone there were 2 separate conspiracies against him, one to kidnap him and the other to remove him and replace him with his cousin Arabella Stuart. One reason that Guy Fawkes might have been personally motivated to remove him from power were the heavy fines levied at Catholics who did not attend the Church of England (Anglican Protestant currently). Not to mention the Anglo-Spanish war that never seemed to end.
Guy Fawkes to this day has remained a notorious figure. On Guy Fawkes Day in England they commemorate the event with fireworks and burning an effigy of Guy Fawkes. This serves as a warning that the treason will never be forgotten.
In recent years the image of Guy Fawkes has transformed from heinous conspirator to folk hero. This change in perspective is due to the popularity of a film entitled, "V for Vendetta" based on an American comic book of the same name. The story features a dashing, mysterious figure named "V" who seeks to undermine and uproot the fascist dictatorship in a futuristic England. He re-tells the story of Guy Fawkes, explaining the necessity to destroy government when it is working against the people. This film has become so popular that Guy Fawkes masks (featured on V) have been used in protests against governments and other organizations. Guy Fawkes has become a symbol for freedom from tyranny and oppression.
I simply love the movie "V for Vendetta". In honour of Guy Fawkes Day I will be watching it and remembering why the Gunpowder Treason should never be forgot. To my readers, always be suspect of your government, they don't always have your best interests at heart.
"Voilà! In view, a humble vaudevillian veteran, cast vicariously as both victim and villian by the vicissitudes of Fate. This visage, no mere veneer of vanity, is a vestige of the vox populi, now vacant, vanished. However, this valorous visitation of a by-gone vexation, stands vivified and has vowed to vanquish these venal and virulent vermin vanguarding vice and vouchsafing the violently vicious and voracious violation of volition. The only verdict is vengence; a vendetta, held as a votive, not in vain, for the value and veracity of such shall one day vindicate the vigilant and the virtuous. Verily, this vichyssoise of verbiage veers most verbose, so let me simply add that it is my very good honor to meet you and you may call me V."
- V for Vendetta (2005)
Happy Birthday Farrokh Bulsara! If life wasn't so cruel you would be 66 years old! Farrokh was a Parsi born in Zanzibar and lived in India until he was 17 when his family decided it would be safer to live elsewhere after the Zanzibar Revolution claimed thousands of lives. They moved to Middlesex, England and changed the course of history.
Freddie met Brian May and Roger Taylor in 1970 and John Deacon in 1971 to create the band known as Queen. Their first big hit was "Killer Queen", written by Freddie Mercury. He wrote 10/17 songs on their Greatest Hits album including: "Bohemian Rhapsody", "Somebody to Love", "We Are the Champions", "Bicycle Race" and "Crazy Little Thing Called Love".
Freddie Mercury truly was a treasure to the world. He had the masterful ability to sing over a range of four octaves! As a performer he was flamboyant and extroverted but as an individual off stage he was introverted and humble. It's truly unfortunate that such a talented and wonderful person was diagnosed with AIDS. His final scenes in front of a camera were in the music video "There Are the Days of Our Lives" filmed in early 1991. Freddie Mercury died later that year, November 24, 1991 at the age of 45.
To this day Freddie Mercury remains a popular icon even to the extent that he represents an everlasting symbol of success.
Thank you Freddie Mercury, the world misses you.
Merry Frankenstein Day! In other words, Happy Birthday Mary Shelley! She was born August 30, 1797 so that would make her 215 years old!
Mary Shelley gave birth to a timeless story about a lonely doctor who managed to bring remnants of a person back to life! Frankenstein's monster has become a recognizable icon, inspiring countless works of art. This includes an almost infinite list of films featuring the monster, such as Frankenstein (1931), The Curse of Frankenstein (1957), Young Frankenstein (1974) and other less known films like The Erotic Rites of Frankenstein (1972) or Blackenstein (1972).
The first adaptation of Frankenstein was for the theater in 1823. She attended one of the performances! In 1831 she actually altered her story due to the story's influence. While the myth gathered a lot of attention during her time, it gained even more popularity after her demise. To this day we celebrate Frankenstein as a permanent fixture in horror fiction.
Quite a while ago I discovered I have a few white hairs. I was in denial at first because it seemed so unlikely. Then I came to accept they were in fact real. I haven't the foggiest why this has happened. People always suggest it's stress related and if in fact that is the case that makes sense. I have indeed experienced enormous amounts of stress in my life. However I've performed a Google search and discovered it could in fact be a vitamin B12 deficiency. So I think the first thing I'm going to do is increase my intake of vitamins. Luckily for me I've started to eat more fruit.
Sometimes when I brush my hair and see those white hairs I find myself filled with questions about mortality. We're aging all the time. We're constantly growing and changing on a molecular level. I have to admit I've taken my youth for granted. It was just so easy to be young and ignorant but now I realize I can't live like that anymore. I need to face the fact I'm not going younger nor am I staying the same age. I'm getting older.
So what does that mean? It means I need to treat myself better. Instead of shrouding myself in ignorant bliss I'm going to do my best to live healthier. I want to feel healthy. I want to feel young. I don't want to feel old. I don't think anyone does. There is no better time than right now. That means eating healthier and getting more exercise. The age old solution. Everyone repeats those words but does anyone really understand what that involves?
Live life like you mean it. We've only got so long before we move on.
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