beboots: (Civil war lithograph)
 Hey guys, today, I'm here to talk to you about poppies. Specifically, the red one that you wear on your lapel at around this time of year if you live in certain countries.

(I'm talking about the one with the really long needle that inevitably falls off so you are forced to buy another one, but hey, it's all to support the veterans! Also, tip: push the end of the needle through the edge of the flower, and it won't fall off. Genius!)

Anyway, I just wanted to put in my two cents in the whole "debate". There are some people out there who object to wearing red poppies. Now, I can understand if you are in, say, the Republic of Ireland, or are a very recent immigrant who feels absolutely no attachment to the sacrifices of Canadian (or British, or other British allies') soldiers especially from the First World War, but also other battles since. I am fine with that. 

But what really makes me angry is when people start using Remembrance Day as an anti-war day. Like, a forum for current politics. 

You know what? Remembrance Day ceremonies (if you actually go to them, and most of these objectors don't) don't glorify death, as many object. At least, none of the ones that I have ever been to have, and I have gone to a ceremony on November 11th ever since I was literally a babe in arms. They are respectful of death. Yes, they use the words "supreme sacrifice" far too often, and sometimes the presenter's take on history is a bit shaky ("When we fought the GERMANS" like they were solely at fault and fighting alone against the entire world in both world wars). Yes, they don't question the validity of the justification for going to war, but they respect the men who died for their country all the same. 

Although we do honour all veterans since the First World War, Canadians haven't exactly participated in a whole lot of controversial wars (unlike in the States with Vietnam and Iraq). You may not believe in the mission in Afghanistan (and, uh, before you rant about it, can you double-check your facts and make sure you're not angry about Iraq by mistake? PLZkthanks), but that's still no reason to disrespect all soldiers, point blank. Even if you are fervently anti-war, can you not at least summon up a modicum of decency to respect people like the Canadian soldiers who liberated Holland, which was being slowly starved (quite literally) by Axis forces during the Second World War? For (and this feels like a cheap shot, but it has to be said) the men who fought Hitler and his allies? If you are anti-war, I'm pretty sure you're probably anti-Hitler. I'm just saying. So have respect for the guys who helped take him down.

I should also take a moment to talk about my own background. Yes, I come from a military family. My father's a Canadian military engineer, now retired, who served in the Gulf War. My mother is British, and my grandmother still lives in England, and she lived through the Second World War (out near Manchester, I believe). My father's mother is a Dutch War bride, from the Holland that Canadian troops liberated from the Axis.

(I also had a Great-Uncle who lost a leg during the First World War when a grenade was thrown into his trench and he had the choice of doing nothing and letting everyone there get killed or stamping down upon it, absorbing the impact, and losing a leg/possibly dying.)

Perhaps these family facts make me biased. Perhaps they make me able to see through other people's bullshit.

Furthermore, if you're all about the justifications of war (like, "we shouldn't be honoring the guys who fought an unjust war!"), the First World War was fought on rather... strange justifications. Almost everyone acknowledges this. But that doesn't change the fact that thousands and thousands of our men died an ocean away from their homes, fighting for their King and country. Look, blame "the Man" all you want, but have a little respect for the people on the ground, guys. 

(I can understand if you're from Quebec and your great-grandfather was drafted against his will to fight for "England's War", though. The Quebecois at least objected, riotously, and pleaded their case at the time... which, incidentally, was one of the reasons that Prime Minister Borden justified giving women the vote in Canada in Federal elections - you could vote if you had a man in the war. So you could vote for his Conscription Bill, obviously, but it's because of the contingencies of war that women enjoy the political power they have today in our country.)

And as for those people selling white poppies "for peace"... I understand the sentiment. I really do. And I'm still torn about the idea of wearing both a red poppy for remembrance and a white poppy for peace. It's a neat idea. Except that most people DON'T wear both. They wear the white one. And it politicizes things. And remember: the purpose of selling those lovely red poppies (by donation) is to help veteran's services. (Another thing that pisses me off: people who rob the poppy sellers. I'm beginning to feel old when I feel the need to exclaim" Now what is this society coming to?") Where does the money paid for white poppies go? I've never seen it publicized (but I'm willing to be informed, if anybody reading knows). Making Remembrance Day into a debate about the merits of war vs peace is silly, and it's taking money away from the veterans by discouraging people to display the red poppy. 

By the way, guys, the vast majority of these soldiers were not fighting because they WANTED TO. They weren't fighting because it was "fun", or because they liked being violent. They were fighting for the same thing as you: peace. And guess what? They succeeded. More or less. 

Veterans get enough flak as it is. They need all the support that they can get. And it's one day, guys. Seriously. Have respect for ONE DAY, hell, even the ONE MINUTE (or two) of Remembrance at 11:00 this Thursday. Just be quiet for those two minutes of silence, and have respect. Go back to campaigning for peace afterwards, after having respect for the men you died for YOUR cause.

Hell, even create an international day for peace! If there isn't one already. And sell your white poppies then. I'd buy one. Just don't do it by disrespecting your elders and countrymen.

I'm just going to end with a little poem that's always read on Remembrance Day ceremonies, and when read properly, I always get shivers. (Hint, don't pause at the end of the lines: pause at the end of the sentences. In fact, I'm going to shake things up and ignore the traditional stanza divisions, and write out the full sentences. Pause at the end of every line here.)

In Flanders' fields the poppies blow, between the crosses, row on row that mark our place.
And in the sky the larks, still bravely singing, fly, scarce heard amidst the guns below.

We are the dead. 
Short days ago we lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, loved, and were loved.
And now we lie in Flander's Fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe. 
To you from failing hands we throw the torch.
Be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die we shall not rest.
Though poppies grow,
In Flanders' field
s. 
-Lt. Col. John McCrae, 1915

(That turned out to be a really long and serious post after being prompted by a series of stories in the National Post over breakfast. Anyway, thoughts?)
beboots: (Default)
 So I had a lovely day today! ... Until I finished up my day's activities to learn that I'd gotten a $50 parking ticket for parking in front of a friend's house downtown. :P I didn't want to pay the $10 for three hours it would cost to park in the official parking lots on campus, and assumed that it was fine because I knew the person (and her parents!)... but no. :P The cops patrol the area frequently, apparently. 

But otherwise I had a decent day! I had to drive downtown for a meeting with Edmonton Immigration Services Association (EISA) with whom I volunteer, and a friend of mine who also volunteers for them came with me back to campus so we could go to this super-awesome peachy keen anthropology lecture on excavating vampire graves in Greece. You know, how rural folk would "desecrate" bodies of suspected vampires by doing things like driving metal stakes through the skull, chest and pelvis? Anyway, it was a fascinating lecture to attend... and also included free Hallowe'en candy! :D The room was packed.

I then took the Metro downtown to meet with Maria, the Peruvian woman who needs help improving her oral English (my EISA client). We had tea on Churchill Square at a café called the Three Bananas, and had loads of fun talking. She also gave me some chocolate as a thank-you gift. :) I left with a warm fuzzy feeling

...And then I when back to my car near campus and it all went crashing down when I saw that parking ticket under my windshield wiper. :/ Thanks, City of Edmonton! 

I mean, I realize that I was in the wrong, and I gambled, but... I'm unemployed, man! And I had been having a wonderful day until this really brought my down. :( I loved that lecture, but it wasn't worth $50, you know? And now I feel angry with EISA of all things for insisting upon a meeting every three weeks to discuss problems that I don't actually have (it's an awesome program), forcing me to drive there and then to campus when I would normally take the bus for free with my student transit pass. :P One bit of negativity begets more negativity.

Meh. I'm going to head off in 15 minutes to twitch, groan and be creepy. Maybe that will help me feel better.
beboots: (Elizabeth)
After having a three hour discussion about the rise of the beauty industry and all that it entails in my History of American Women class this past week, I feel that this video, which was only just linked to me, needs to be watched. I had the urge to cheer with the crowd at a few points during this video.

beboots: (confusion)
 I can't decide if today was a good day or a bad day. Let's see, what happened?

To begin with, I have an 8am class to which I have to commute from another city. That means that I get up at 6:15, to catch a bus at 6:54 from my house... only I missed it. So I had to leap in my car to drive frantically to the transit station to catch the right bus. But I did end up catching it! So: not late for the last class before the midterm. Also, I didn't forget my lunch. Bonus?

Anyway, I then I had a three hour break. :/ I got some reading done, but never enough. A Temeraire/Harry Potter fanfic that I've been following was updated, so I got to read that on my little iPod, so it wasn't all boring. Also, lunch! And snacks! (Salted nuts, cheese slices, homemade yogurt parfait, etc.) So that was fine. I then had my class from 12:30 until 2:00, and the lecture was almost directly relevant to my thesis and thus topic of interest. Sounds fine, right? 

I was pretty tired, though, and I was debating if I wanted to stick around for the three extra hours I'd told myself I was going to so that I could attend a little talk at 5:00 on what one can do with a history degree. I hesitated, really, REALLY tempted to just get on the bus and head home, but I thought, "nah, this is my career! I'd better go". So I stuck around for three hours, getting some reading done, but nowhere near what I would have had I gone home and made some tea and worked on it in a comfy chair with lots of light. 

And then I went to the room, and it turned out that the meeting was cancelled. I didn't get the e-mail because I hadn't RSVPed. >_<; I felt like an idiot, and like I'd wasted my day. I was tired, had a headache, and wanted to go home. 

But I still had a meeting at Fort Edmonton - a dress rehearsal for Spooktacular (more on that in a week or two), and a friend of mine that I carpool with was going to pick me up at university at 6:30. There was no sense in me going home - during rush hour - only to turn around and drive back into Edmonton. 

SO I went to go swimming! (I'd brought exercise stuff just in case, as I had that six hour break.) It was the first time I'd actually used the fitness centre at the university - you know, the one I pay like $160/year to keep running? And I felt really refreshed and energized and healthy after swimming laps for half an hour. 

And then I went back to the Honour's room, where I'd dumped my stuff (my phone, my purse, my study notes)... and I couldn't find my key. Correction: keys. My housekey, my car keys, my two university keys (one of which I need to give back sometime next week). Also, I have several keychains from around the world, bought my myself and by friends, that I'm kind of emotionally attached to. I ran back to the gym (no-one answered my frantic knocks on the honour's room door - surprise surprise, it was past 6pm), and they weren't in the Lost & Found there. I ran back to the room, and this time someone was there to let me in... but no dice, my keys weren't there either. 

I still haven't found them. I'll ask again at the lost & found tomorrow, and I hope for the best. I really, really don't want to have to replace these... :( 

On the plus side, I still have my bus pass and I had a ride home? And I got to pretend to be a zombie (and got to "devour" someone) at the rehearsal?

Verdict? Good day or bad day?
beboots: (Default)
(I realize that most of the people who watch this journal will have no idea what I am saying, but sometimes I need to let things out in a language other than English. I don’t want to offend anybody.)

Il y a des temps dont j’ai de la difficulté à comprendre les personnes qui parlent mon lange natal. Je suis anglophone, mais parfois… :(

Peut-être c’est parce que je n’ai pas été confronté par beaucoup de francophones méchantes, probablement parce ce que je ne parle pas avec trop de francophones quotidiennement. Tandis que j’ai besoin de parler avec les anglophones chaque journée, il semble parfois que les anglophones sont beaucoup plus maladroites.

Ils ne pensent plus quand ils parlent ou écrivent, car ils n’ont pas besoin de la faire.

La majorité des personnes avec qui je parle sur l’internet sont des personnes qui parlent l’anglais. Je sais qu’il il y a beaucoup de personnes parmi eux qui ne sont PAS anglophone et je trouve que ces allophones (les personnes qui sont ni anglophone ni francophone) sont les plus gentilles personnes. Les finnoises, les argentines, et beaucoup d’autres… Ils utilisent la grammaire avec beaucoup plus d’attention que les anglophones, et ils choisissent leurs mots avec soin.

Mais les anglophones…? Ils pensent rapidement, et ils écrivent dans la même manière : sans penser.

Premièrement, je veux dire que je ne veux pas critiquer seulement les américains, car je suis certaine qu’il y a les canadiens tant que les britanniques qui comprissent cette groupe.

J’ai eu plusieurs incidents pendant cette dernière semaine ou j’ai sentis… le malaise. J’ai lu ce que cette personne (un anglophone) a décidé de typer et partager avec la monde, et je me poser la question : « pourquoi n’as-tu pas PENSÉ comment les autres personnes interprétera tes mots avant que tu as cliqué le bouton send? » Cette personne critiquait les choses qui sont très insignifiantes, mais dans une manière que j’ai interpréter comme brusque, impolie, et manquant de la respecte. J’ai pensé un mot anglais qui est très similaire au mot français pour un cerf femelle.

Sur l’internet, on a souvent seulement les mots écrites (et peut-être les émoticons) pour communiquer nos messages. On n’a pas l’opportunité d’utiliser ni nos voix, ni le langage de nos corps… Donc le « ton » du message peut être interpréter comme impoli BEAUCOUP plus facilement. Je ne peux pas vous juger sauf en utilisant vos mos écrits. La leçon que vous avez besoin de tirer de mes mots-ci? Relire ce que vous avez écrit. Je comprends que nous sommes tous anonymes ici sur l’internet, mais les personnes qui lisent vos mots ont des émotions aussi. Souvenez-vous de ce fait. Soyez respectueux, s’il vous plait.

J’apprécie le criticisme constructif. Je veux améliorer mon écriture, et moi-même; je sais que j’ai aussi dit les choses avant penser. Mais on peut faire les suggestions sans devenir impolis.

S’il vous plait : respectez les autres. Pensez avant que vous typez.

Je suis fière d’être canadienne, et je suis fière de mon bilinguisme : mon écriture et ma diction en anglais et en français. Je choisis mes mots avec soins, car je ne veux pas que les personnes sentissent mal à l’aise.

Je suis aussi fière de mon habilité d’être discrète avec mes émotions négatives, de choisir mes mots avec soins (consciente de leur réception), et d’être une force positive dans le monde.

C’est une indication de mes buts ainsi-décris que j’ai écris cette note en français et non pas anglais; même après que cette personne m’a blessé, je ne veux pas la blesser de retours. Je la respecte encore, mais si cette personne sans nom continue à faire ces commentaires sans tact, je ne sais pas si je continuerai à la respecter. Je sais que cette personne lit mon blog, donc j’ai écrit ce message dans une langue que je ne pense pas qu’elle comprenne.

Peut-être je manque de courage.

(Et si cette personne me critique parce que je n’ai pas mis cette note au-dessous d’un LJ cut, je pense que je pleurai.)

An English translation may follow.
beboots: (Default)

Reflection by ~Beboots on deviantART

Construction Woes )

Also, work is still awesome. :) Today at work I did an evening booking, for something called Murder Mysteries. I think that they do different verisons on each street (it would be so cool to see it at the actual Fort). It's essentially a group of actors in costume that host a party (the one that I worked was at the Johnny J. Jones Midway in 1926) and there's murder. They serve the guests (who've bought tickets to attend) food and drink (lots of drink, let me tell you) and they have to figure out who the murderer is by asking questions to people in costume.

Now, I was just running the carousel with Sasha for an hour, but since I was in costume, people asked me questions. I was in-character, but all I said was stuff to the effect of "Oh, I'm just green help" (i.e.: newly hired carnie), and sometimes I would add "And let me tell you, what with all of this drama, I'm not sure I'll hang about." It was fun. :)

Also, people who are tipsy enjoy the carousel even more. Seriously. Children of all ages.

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