Sunday, November 29, 2015

Adulthood or not: a weekend assessed

-One article edited, one pitched, one completed and sent in, and a chapter part completed.

-One Canada Moose-themed (but not branded) dog parka purchased. One poodle paraded around in the same. 

-One grocery-store trip that somehow did not include juice, eggs, canned tomatoes, or anything useful for the week. Have quite possibly unlearned how to grocery-shop without a car.

-Several trips to several Asian markets (and I do mean much of the continent - Vietnam, China, and Japan were represented, while the ultimate splurge bit came from Korea) for hot-pot materials. 

-One at-home hot-pot of indeterminate cuisine achieved. Used a Japanese cookbook (and a kombu-sake stock) but since it's the Chinese supermarket that sells vegetables (and also because pea shoots are the best food), ended up with something closer to the (Edison) Little Sheep lineup. 

-One bathroom (I mean, there's only the one) cleaned thoroughly. Still feeling pretty damn smug about this.

-Two matcha lattes consumed at two different coffee shops. And two Portuguese custard tarts, at home, in a row, because those things are tiny.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Canadian Thanksgiving

-Read (that is, was vaguely aware of) the guides to dealing with the proverbial conservative uncle.

-Read the Internetfolk pointing out that actually (is this where #actually is needed?) it's kind of condescending as well as ungrateful to approach Thanksgiving in this way, and also, not everyone is a young urban-dweller with conservative small-town family. And remarked (privately? aloud? who even remembers?) that each of the people making this point seemed to think they were either the first or, at the very least, going against the current. Which had shifted, and which is now distinctly pointing towards announcing that one will graciously attend one's conservative uncle's do. Which, why do I even know this? It's a busy time of the semester here, and between teaching and other work, I'd forgotten it even was Thanksgiving. (But also - isn't the whole issue here the difference between being a sanctimonious liberal, and being, say, LGBT, and facing actual, personal backlash from your family?)

-Went to the 7-11 for a Kit Kat and a diet Coke, and once again received the upsell speech about how there's a special on kebabs.

Saturday, November 14, 2015


I've been following the Paris news, and commentary, and social-media response. It's very, very different - even with the on-the-ground feeling of Twitter, and even having spent a lot of time in Paris - to read about this than it was to be in Manhattan on 9/11. 9/11 the symbol is always going to feel secondary, to me, to the event itself. I'm following this story closely in part for personal reasons, but also, in part, for the same reasons as everybody else. I learned about these attacks when a news alert popped up on my phone, as I was sitting in a coffee shop in Canada. Yes, I recognized the streets, and yes, all the more so, I worried about friends. But it's something quite different.

Responses seem to go one of two ways. Either people mention time spent in Paris (even if it was three days 30 years ago), which is (I think) sincerely felt and well-meaning, but which risks the why-are-you-making-it-about-you accusation... or they jump straight into the virtue-signaling approach - also well-meaning, I suppose, but frustrating. By this I mean the comments - in the immediate aftermath of a tragedy that (for all you know, people doing this, has personally-personally impacted your friends) accusing the grieving of racism. Why? Because they haven't shown equal concern (or 1/3 concern, given the current death tolls) regarding a terrorist attack in Beirut.

Cultural affinity - that same thing that people take for granted when people throughout the Muslim world, and many Muslims elsewhere, feel an emotional connection to the Palestinian cause - is suspect the moment it's people in London or Chicago (or Toronto) identifying with Parisians. Cultural affinity isn't quite the same thing as racism, particularly given that the Paris being grieved for at the moment is hardly monolithically white or xenophobic.

But more to the point: this just happened. The first response after a tragedy shouldn't be chastising people who are upset. If chastising is your go-to response, by all means, tsk-tsk away at the dangerous idiots conflating refugees with that which they're fleeing from. It's not that it's too early for politics - everything's political, I get that. But there's enough to be legitimately sad and angry about that it's probably possible to wait a minute before calling out your grieving friends.