Tuesday, August 26, 2008

New Lappy!

It's me on my new lap top! Yessssss

Behold my now superior computing in all its glory. While this will have no effect on you, the audience of my blog, it will have a tremendous effect on me (and my cheque book).

After discovering that I couldn't use spaces or apostrophes in my computing name I have gone with ProfessorPlum because of it's plum purple colour and Doctorate in semi-sweet fruit.


Monday, August 25, 2008


It's a beautiful Monday afternoon, I am off from work and I am supposed to be packing. I am, however, allotting myself some time to compose this post that has been several months in creation. Normally my writing here is... gosh let's say goofy at best, banal at worst.
This will hopefully raise the bar just a touch.

Two years ago I stopped going to church altogether (apart from Christmas to humour my mother). Now I'd been going less frequently as a general rule because of school and lack of interest for sometime, but I actually finally came to the conclusion two years ago that I was not even comfortable going to church anymore. I decided to get to the bottom of why.

In recent years the Anglican church (the one I was born and raised in) has made great strides: blessing same sex-marriages being a big one in my books, and I am inclined to go and support them for that reason alone. While I've never been a fundamentalist, I've never had any problem with the core teaching of the church: that there is a greater (for lack of a better word) spirit that resides in everything in this world and beyond linking us together as one, and that we should all treat each other as we would like to be treated. "On these two commandments hang all of the laws and the covenants."
I guess I'm not sure, but I don't really think that Jesus was actually a real guy, but I don't think that that's the point (as much as people make it out to be, anyways). The point is the story, and Christ represents someone who stood up against the oppression of the innocent, protected the sick and the poor and healed the wounded, and said not to judge people unless you'd like to get judged yourself.
I think that in the story when He says "I am the way" He doesn't mean, "Believe in me and you'll go to heaven", he means "Do what I'm doing, spread the message of peace and love and look after people who need it". By and large, I think that most Christians probably believe at least that much.

What has happened (takes a deep breath for the plunge) is that for thousands of years people have committed atrocities in the name of God and Christ. People have used the bible to oppress others, to hurt other human beings and to justify their own acts for their own ends.
In recent years we've had a man in the White House and a country full of evangelical Christians touting their political, war mongering agenda in the name of God and Christ. They claim moral superiority and use God as a means to justify their political positioning, bigotry and just about everything from oppression of the weak, to an absolute refusal to take care of the poor and sick. There is a divide in their country and many others between (sorry for the "liberal bias" here)"Right Wing Christian Fundamentalists" and everyone else. "You're either with us or against us", well sorry, but I guess I'm against you, because if God is the way you say "He" is, then I hope I go to hell.

It has gotten to the point that I am uncomfortable saying "praise God" because of all that that seems to imply. I shouldn't feel uncomfortable with the idea of God or Christ or the Holy Spirit, in essence there's nothing about them to make me feel uncomfortable. One of my all time favourite parts of the church service used to be "and he whom the spirit lights give light to the world". It's an absolutely beautiful thought if you think about it... the idea of this light that shines in each one of us with the potential for goodness and love that we can share with the rest of humanity. I am actually getting down right angry that anyone could ruin this for me. And then I had a realization (with a little help from Scott).

III: Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.

Maybe we've mistook one of the commandments. "Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain". What if saying "God damn it" isn't taking the Lord's name in vain? What if dropping bombs on a country, killing and mutilating its population and then saying that God told you to do it is taking the Lord's name in vain? What if saying "God hates gays" is taking the Lord's name in vain? What if telling people that "if you just pray to Jesus all of your problems will go away" is taking the Lord's name in vain?
I suddenly had a new appreciation for this commandment.

My idea of God, Christ, the Spirit and what that all means is always changing. Maybe some day I'll feel the need to go back to church to reconnect with the history and ritual, but for now I think its best left to books and an attempt to treat other people the way I'd like them to treat me and, if I can, it's time to stop letting the powers that be ruin a perfectly good bit of spirituality that could make me feel deeply connected, instead of divided.

Peace be with you :)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

"Are you a fan of joy?"

Totally awesome, but as Andrew said "as opposed to the nights when it's a bad setlist?"

Cat's In The Well

It Ain't Me, Babe

Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again (Close second for favourite)

Girl From The North Country

High Water (for Charlie Patton)

Just Like A Woman (Kind of funky, possibly better than album version)

Rollin' And Tumblin'

Tryin' To Get To Heaven

Highway 61 Revisited (Personal Favourite of the night)


It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding) (Point at which I couldn't help wondering if those giant "incense" blowing smoke machines were in fact only that. We were pretty much on the verge of being hot-boxed and as far as I could tell no one around us was lit up)

When the Deal Goes Down

Thunder On The Mountain (Point at which the dude behind had most clearly come to enjoy his LSD and began manic nerdy dancing)

Ain't Talkin'

Like A Rolling Stone

All Along The Watchtower
(Just plain brilliant.)

To be fair, he probably could have played All Along the Watchtower on the Kazoo and I would have thought it was brilliant.

OK, I'm having all sort of video problems apparently, so I'll work on fixing them and get back to y'all real soon.

PS: Yes that is his Oscar that you can make out faintly on stage with him.

"He got the Oscar for best original song for the movie Wonder Boys for 'Things Have Changed', and anyone who didn't know that has to move down one seat so that I can get closer to the centre of the stage." - me

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Calm Blue Ocean...

Last Friday I came home after a long, agonizing day at work followed by a two hour drive home on the QEW/403.

I might have slightly over-reacted to the news of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince's release date getting moved to next July.

I'm pretty sure the only poor muggle I tortured into madness was my brother.


In SLIGHTLY less geeky news, I bought a new computer. I was going to wait until I got it to do my first blog from the new lappy, but it won't ship until September and I can't wait that long.

It is a lap top with a 17" screen. I am calling it Liz's BFC.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Brenda and Brian's Wedding

My Aunt Bev and Uncle John. John has now married/reaffirmed vows for my mother and both of her sisters. Quite frankly I'm pretty sure he would have done his own wedding ceremony to my Aunt Bev if he could have.

You can't really see in this picture, but if you look across the lake you can see Toronto from the shore of Lake Ontario in St Catharines. It was a bit cloudy but the weather held out JUST long enough for us to get family pictures and race inside for the reception.

The ceremony had a traditional celtic theme. That's right, not only did we welcome Brian into our family, we also turned him into a Scotsman!The blancmanges have attacked!
My Aunt is radiant, and (amazingly) in this picture not crying.

Brian and Brenda decided not to have people throw confetti, but to blow bubbles instead when they were pronounced. This of course gave my family the opportunity to play all night.

My brother and father looking less goofy than usual. My Dad has kept up the Scottish/Celtic theme, sporting the Buchanan dress tartan.
My Aunt and now Uncle are off to London, followed by Italy. Brian told me on my way out, "we'll be sure to do EVERYTHING theatry while we're there". I think I gave them exactly the same face as my mother is giving right here:

I am very sad not to have a picture of the toast I gave Brian to welcome him to the family. By which I of course mean the actual physical piece of toast that I gave him that said "Welcome Brian".
I hope no one ate it.

An exerpt from Anam Cara, A Book of Celtic Wisdom

In the Celtic tradition, there is a beautiful understanding of love and friendship. Anam is the Gaelic word for soul, and cara is the word for friend. So anam cara is the word for soul-friend. It is originally referred to as someone to whom you confessed, revealing the hidden intimacies of your life. With the anam cara you could share your innermost self, your mind and your heart. When you had an anam cara, your friendship cut across all convention, morality and category. You were joined in an ancient and eternal way with the "friend of your soul."
The soul is a divine light that flows into you and into your Other. This soul-bond awakens and fosters a deep and special recognition and belonging. In the warmth of the love of a true soul-friend, the soul can be itself. The love is the source, centre and destiny of experience. Real love is not manufactured or achieved by the act of will or intention, but rather as an act of recognition.
In everyone's life there is a great need for an anam cara. In this love you are understood as you are without mask or pretension. Love allows understanding to dawn and understanding is precious. When you are understood, you are at home. Understanding nourishes belonging. When you really feel understood, you feel free to release yourself into the trust and shelter of the other person's soul. May you always be in the gentle nest of belonging with your Anam Cara.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

The Source of all Human Suffering

I may have identified the source of all suffering in the world:

I can work with kids, and I think I get kids. I love Robert Munch and Dr. Seuss, Harry Potter, Disney movies and The Muppets- I love kids. I can work with teenage boys. I can talk video games and Star Wars, hockey and The Simpsons. Teenage boys are great. But I can't seem to work with teenage girls. And rather than blame myself or them, I blame High School Musical. And boy bands. And Lasenza Girl. And everything else that reinforces that girls should be more interested in fashion, money, cute boys and being "perfect" than having a real personality.

When I say that I can't relate to 98% of humanity it's because sometimes it feels like 98% of humanity is teenage girls. Look at American Idol, Justin Timberlake, shopping malls, Paris Hilton, Miley Cirus and tabloid news. It's like girls aged 14-18 have taken over the world.

Now I know what you're going to say, "Liz you were a teenager not too long ago, weren't you a girl then too?" Sigh- yes. But I now present the court with two pieces of evidence in my defence:

Grade 11 Drama
JOEL: The girls in this grade all suck.
ME: Hey!
JOEL: Well not you Liz, you don't count.
ME: Thanks... I think.

Grade 12 Math
ME: Sutor, I have to say, you guys are idiots.
ME: But as dumb as the guys in this grade are, you are not anywhere near as stupid as the girls in this grade.
SUTOR: Not even close.

I used to be a little offended by Joel's remark about not counting, but as I've grown older I've come to take it as a compliment. I'd rather not count.

Work yesterday
Erin: Look we can sit here and analyze all day why they're acting like this, but let's face it they are teenage girls.
Me: I think it's impressive that they haven't started systematically destroying one another with gossiping.
Amanda: mmmhmmm

My solution: pay one really cool teenage girl to say that she likes independent films, anything on SubPop records and would rather read from the canon than Teen Magazine. Within weeks we should have a considerably more freethinking, interesting bunch of teenagers, within months we might even see some serious improvements of popular culture. Let's make the sheeople effect work for us!

Saturday, August 02, 2008

I Don't Wanna Grow Up

Further evidence that I am nowhere near ready to have children: I had to get the following jokes out of my system before the shower I went to today-

seeing "Baby on Board sign in the back of a car in the parking lot-
"I got this 'Baby on Board' sign so that people will stop deliberately ramming into the back of our car"

"If Toys R Us sells toys, shouldn't Babies R Us logically sell babies?"

The guy I lived next door to from 1 to 18 became a father and I went to his baby shower today. On my way to the shower I wondered whether the girl who lived across the street from me growing up was going too, as I saw her mother and father babysitting her two children. At the shower the younger sister of a childhood friend was six months pregnant.

The odd thing for me is that I haven't seen most of these guys in 7 or so years. They are permanently etched in my mind's eye as children/teenagers.

Boy next door:

I just picture him having his kid stand up on a spinning chair in her room and twirling her around until she gets dizzy, falls off and bangs her head on the desk (poor Scott) and he puts a hat on her head and tells her not to tell her mother.

Friend's little sister:

Her child will sleep through the first day of school because even though Mom promised to wake her up she forgot, probably on purpose because it was funny. (Oh don't think I don't know!)

Girl across the street:

I just see their house having bare gardens because their mother has dug up all of the flowers to give to the next door neighbor.

(OK, to be fair the garden destruction thing was a one time incident. I'm just jealous that she picked such great names: Liam and Maya!)

More than anything it's just strange having people I grew up with getting married and having babies. So many babies...