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Posts Tagged ‘Blogging’

Been spending a bit of time each day with the new book project at http://requiredreadings.ca

As I’ve posted here before, it’s a page on which Meg and I are putting together a list culturally-significant writings across genres – fiction, non-fiction, poetry and plays. It’s a hell of a lot of work – the list sits at around 700 texts currently, and we know we are missing a whole lot. More, though, the task now is to write brief posts on every single item – not summaries, necessarily, but a couple of paragraphs on why the text is important and how it is had a lasting impact on the general consciousness. They are pretty quick to do, but I am fast realizing that it’s gonna be a long long while before I have everything up to date and can just do ongoing maintenance. I got Tarzan of the Apes up today, following yesterday’s foray into Gregor Mendel’s Experiments on Plant Hybridization and Wednesday’s Romeo and Juliet. But with 11 books down and hundreds more to go, it’s clearly going to be a slog. (more…)

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Just a quick note today. The new book blog is up at http://requiredreadings.ca

Still in progress, of course, and I am welcoming suggestions.

For now it’s primarily just a list, but we’ll be trying to do short posts on a different entry every day.

Read. Debate. Read more.

 

 

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Nothing Important

A rainy Saturday in Vancouver. Up this morning, we managed to get out into the garden before we got too wet, a chance to move some plants around, re-mulch the back area and generally clean up the part of the yard that is to be home to the bee-hive once it is finished and the bees arrive. (more…)

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Getting Back

Been thinking for some time that I should get back to writing here – mostly because I find that it is good for my own reflection, and a practice that does indeed contribute something to my life when I do it regularly. Hard, though, to get back into it, largely because I always feel like there’s no point writing anything here if I don’t have anything to say. On the other hand, I am a firm believer in the notion that we don’t know what we think until we say, and in that regard writing is an important intellectual/ reflective practice even – and perhaps especially – when we aren’t clear of the point. (more…)

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Well, That Was Unexpected…

Well, first off – holy shit. This little blog has only ever been a place for me to knock of whatever is on my mind and to keep a few far-flung friends apprised of the goings-on in my life. And that means I generally expect that somewhere between ten and thirty people check in, very rarely going up to fifty or so if I write something that Megan comments on, driving traffic from her far-more-established presence on the interwebs. And a few pieces – mostly the stuff on wrestlers and unions – get a few hits a day from folks across the globe who stumble upon them by accident.

But this? Holy shit.

A couple days ago I decided to try blogging again after a long hiatus, and wrote a little stream of consciousness on diversity of tactics and the anti-Olympics shit. Meg referenced it on Red-Cedar, and that link spun off into something crazy.

A reader of Meg’s blog posted my piece on Facebook. It did the rounds in the activist and Left communities here. That led to contact with anarchist collectives in Toronto and elsewhere, who picked it up and linked themselves. Next thing I know, my personal musings for me and few friends are out there being passed around and debated like an actual piece of writing. Some 800 hits in three days, plus all the readers who found the piece elsewhere and read it without actually tracking down this site. It’s awesome. But also totally overwhelming and a little intimidating.

My secret place on the web is no longer secret. Everyone in my community and wider knows now that this is where I muse on shit. And that’s totally cool, but for one thing. This space has never been about polished writing, and only occassionally about writing of any substance. Mostly it’s just bullshit reflections and updates on daily happenings. Now, however, I feel a certain amount of pressure, some expectation to regularly weigh in on larger debates and to do so in a way folks want to read.

Well, I ain’t promising anything.

I’m really glad that my little stream of consciousness has made some small contribution to wider discussions about activism and resistance and relationships of struggle. I’m really glad that something I wrote resonated with so many others. I’m really glad to have connected with such a wide network of people in this way, and connected in new ways with folks from my own community as a result. And I just feel good. Like somehow I write something worthwhile, even if by accident. That’s pretty fucking awesome.

But intimidating, too, the reading of it creating its own set of expectations and pressures. And so, all I can do at this point is say; thanks, all, for the blog-love. Thanks for the kudos, and thanks for the respectful disagreements that keep this super-important conversation happening. And thanks, too, for the reminders that even my stream-of-consciousness can be a little too academic-boring for some. Thanks, everyone, for turning my little time-waster into something more. Maybe one day I’ll write something else worth reading and talking about.

Mostly, though, I’m just gonna keep doing what I do, writing bits and pieces of whatever’s on my mind. Next up is likely to be about the politics of mini-schools, as I get ready to send my daughter off to high school this year.

That’ll be later today or tomorrow, I expect.  Not so exciting, I know. But it’ll have to do.

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Nope. Not Writing.

Well, after a couple of months of this, I think we can say it’s official. While Meg and I are hugely encouraging of each others’ writing, and while we can develop ideas and projects and write together, we are certainly bad for one another’s discipline. Both of us have seen our posts drop way off this summer, only cropping up intermittently and only when we spend a day or two apart. We’re aware. Aware that we’ll need to find ways to ensure we build time to write into our days if we’re going to be together more often than not, as it appears will be the case, Almost enough to make one miss work, and the built-in screw-around time that provides such fertile ground for blog posts and reading the news and so on.

We have not been writing. We have been travelling. Alot. Most recently Quebec City, with today as a brief pause to unpack, do laundry and re-pack before heading to the Sunshine Coast for a couple of days. It was, then, to be my blogging day. A day I’d spend a couple of hours, think about something amazing or amazingly-fucked-up or simply demanding a rant and get it written up and posted.

Alas, twas not to be. No, instead I spent my writing time on just-for-fun projects, had several long hot baths to help my bones recuperate from too many days involving several hours of walking on cobblestones and too many nights in a shitty hotel bed, and generally lazed around my house doing nothing of any value. My dog appreciated that, I’m sure. And my body certainly appreciated it, which is good, too. But my brain? My creativity? Anything remotely connected to my politics? No. These parts starve today.

And that, he said, is that.

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I normally sit down to do these posts when I have something in mind – a story in the news, a particular thing happening in my life, a recurring thought to sort through. Today, though, I’m just here. So you’ll have to forgive the “general-update” tone.

Meg and I did the second dining-out thing for our newish Viaduct project the other night – dinner at Nick’s Spaghetti House on Commercial Drive. Got a draft thrown together today, which will need some editing and additions by Meg, as well as her photos, before going up, but take a look in the next day or two and you’ll find it there. We’ll be trying to take a break from the food-theme for our next post, for fear that we’ll turn into a restaurant review site by accident. Well, partially for that reason; partially, too, because we’re quickly realizing that East Van institution doesn’t equate to decent meal, and we really can’t stomach this on a weekly basis.

Next week is our first up-on-the-stage singing thing together. A date change for any who have penciled this in, the Workers’ Cabaret is now being held on Thursday, June 19. The End Cafe – 2360 Commercial – hosts this monthly get-together of folkies and labour types to sing union songs together. We’ve got a set-list of four or five songs, and are both getting pretty psyched. Not cause we’re any good, just cause it’s fun to sing, funner to sing radical tunes, and funnest to sing radical tunes together.

I’ve bought myself a new guitar for the occassion. My acoustics haven’t been working for me lately – one a cheap thing that’s fine for bashing out songs but with less than optimal tone, another a nice guitar but old and busted up. So, I’ve been playing Meg’s lately – Seagull, a brand I hadn’t heard of before, with a great look and a really phenomenal sound, and easy to play for those of us with smaller hands. A trip to Rufus Guitar Shoppe, an hour or so playing different models, and I liked the Seagull I found there. Four guitars in a row to the staff, they pick that one out as the nicest in the shop in its range, and I’m ready to get home and start playing. Very exciting. Yes, I know I’ve had a bit of a guitar thing in the past, but I am actually quite sure that I needed this one, and I remain committed to weeding the collection that still clutters my home.

On the book front I’ve been slowly savouring Upton Sinclair’s Boston, a fictionalized account of the Sacco and Vanzetti trial. Fucking great, if a bit wordy. And I’ve been madly devouring White Line Fever, the autobiography of Motorhead’s Lemmy. Fuck. It’s a horrid book as far as the writing goes. But a neat story, nonetheless, for anyone interested in rock’n’roll generally and heavy rock’n’roll in particular. I mean, he’s 63 and still-going, he was playing in the scene the Beatles came out of, and he worked as a roadie for Hendrix.

Plus the guy’s got some politics, too, from lamenting the fact that LA rioters tear down their own communities rather than making the trek to Beverly Hills to take on the “aristos” to asides about Russian peasantry and the fact that ‘for all his blather’ Lenin didn’t do a damn thing to change working people’s lives to a final note on the September 11 attacks in which he reminds the U.S. that just about every other country in the world has been bombed, too, most a whole lot worse, and the Americans have done more than their share of the damage. It’s always a huge boost to read a rock’n’roll or wrestling bio and see commentary on shit that matters, even if it comes in brief little asides and random comments.

And lots and lots on women in hard rock. Lemmy likes to get laid, and makes no apologies for that. But this is clearly a guy that took alot of shit for his decision to take women-dominated metal bands on tour, not as props but as musicians. I went to a Joan Jett gig a couple of years ago, and she was talking about Lemmy, so I looked around on-line for more on what she had to say about him. Joan noted that they’d toured with ‘smart’, “progressive” bands like Rush, who always treated the women like crap – girls playing dress-up who didn’t know shit about music. Motorhead, though – and Lemmy in particular – were,as far as JJ was concerned, the one and only established group that just saw women in rock as rock’n’rollers.

I always liked that about Lemmy. And this read just boosted my respect for him tremendously. No, it’s not a well-written book. No, it’s not especially coherent. But it’s real and it’s honest, and what comes through is a solid working class politics, with all the contradictions and insights that entails.

Last – but most certainly not least – I also had this week one of the strangest and most awkward moments of my life. Indeed, part of me hopes no one has bothered to read this far! After a conversation quite some months ago about men needing to take responsibility for their own fertility, I have decided that a vasectomy is in order. However, after talking things over with the girl in my life, I thought, too, that it’s always good to have a just-in-case escape route.

Well, in the case of this particular just-in-case, said escape route comes in the form of a sanitized room, a plastic cup, and a couple year’s storage fees. Yeah, we’ve all seen the sitcoms and heard the stories about the whole sperm-banking thing, and….yup, it’s pretty much exactly like that. Awkward, tense and entirely un-sexy.

My lasting thought, though? Who the hell still defines Playboy as pornography? I mean, shit, there’s more skin on any given TV ad and more sex in Cosmo! Piece of advice to anyone responsible for stocking these clinic rooms – take the smut up a notch or two. Fortunately, we live an an era of text messaging capability and I happen to know a shameless girl sympathetic to my predicament, so I was able to bypass the suggested arousal process for something a little better to work with.

Hmmm. Yup, that’s the week, I suppose. Sprinkle liberally with moments of boredom staring at my office computer, games of Clue and cards, drinks and smokes on the front stoop with Meg and assorted random activities that fill all of our days and that about covers it. Yeah, not very exciting to read about, I know. But it’ll have to suffice for now.

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