Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Glass on Glass, Shadows, and Bank Street Construction

Random pics from around Ottawa in Early May:

Here, the shadows of Rideau Centre's glass roof on the wall above Sears in the Eaton Court

Inspired by M's glass reflection photo, I attempted to take one of my own of a building reflected in another's glass exterior.

Also, non-stop construction on Bank Street near work. This is the second summer they rip the street's guts out, and though it needs the "surgery", I feel for the shop owners...

Monday, May 28, 2007

Anti-American, Anti-Canadian or just Pro-Equality?

I read this fantastic article on about a book regarding what's often called Anti-Americanism, but what's actually Anti-American Exceptionalism. The article's author defines American Exceptionalism as: "the increasingly shameless U.S. tendency to believe it is above the rule of law, that it is exempted from the rules other nations are expected to obey."

The test she uses to define whether Canadians support this exceptionalism is as follows: "When America does something, like invade Iraq without the permission of the UN or rampage through Afghanistan, how would we assess that act if it had been done by Syria or Libya? Dreadful, we would say. Action must be taken. We would call on the UN to place sanctions on Syria, to starve its citizens (as was done to Iraq), to bomb it back to the Stone Age, or however non-thoughtful people phrase it. "

Unfortunately, this exceptionalist attitude is creeping into Canadian politics with the current governing party, the Conservatives. I won't go so far as to call them Canada's version of Republicans, because Canada in general is a more liberal and left-leaning country, but we're currently as close to a right-wing, we-know-what's-right, international-law-be-damned attitude as we've been in a LONG time... and it's very very scary. Read the whole article here; it'll certainly help to have a definition for what it is you are (and aren't) the next time you're called Anti-American...

Saturday, May 26, 2007

What I meant to say was...

To clarify what I said yesterday about not being inspired to write... this is not exactly accurate. It's more along the lines of the words I've written below. Maybe those out there who've had writers' block will recognize this oddly agitating feeling...

I have this freakish sense
I should be writing
am inspired to absorb
but the words come out
like scribbles: empty

how much poetry must
a person inhale
before her pores will bleed it back
for the world to swallow
before her senses
invert the experience
gush and froth
the words like water
breaking a dam
of silenced apathy?

Friday, May 25, 2007

One of those weeks (and T.S. Eliot)

This week the weather warmed up beyond expectations to high 20's / low 30's levels, along major humidity, making yours-truly incredibly sluggish... add to that going in for Jury Duty (my name wasn't called, so I didn't actually have to sit on a jury, just a lot of waiting around), staying late at work for some last minute stuff, and the fact that my boss retired today (best boss ever! I'll miss her A LOT) and I've been not particularly inspired to write or take pictures. I still wanted to update the blog (it NAGS at me when I leave it a long time, and the nagging has been in full swing for several days now) but being in a non-creative state, that left not a lot of options...

Sure, I could have gone through the roughly 60 pics I took at the Ottawa Tulip Festival on Monday, but that would involve figuring out which ones are good and which aren't, and I wasn't really up for that either, so those pictures will have to wait.

Instead, here's my favourite poem for your enjoyment: Portrait of a Lady, by T.S. Eliot. I love this poem for its simplicity, its lyricism, and most importantly, the way it delivers such a potent message in such a clever way. Enjoy:

Now that lilacs are in bloom

She has a bowl of lilacs in her room

And twists one in her fingers while she talks.

"Ah, my friend, you do not know, you do not know

What life is, you who hold it in your hands";

(Slowly twisting the lilac stalks)

"You let it flow from you, you let it flow,

And youth is cruel, and has no remorse

And smiles at situations which it cannot see."

I smile, of course,And go on drinking tea.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

What You See...

is not always what you get. This video by Dove shows so well how the beauty industry is unreal. It's a minute long. Watch it, you'll be glad you did.

Monday, May 14, 2007

ISNA Canada - this Weekend

The Islamic Society of North America's annual Canadian spring convention is this weekend in Ottawa (it's almost always held in TO, so this is big news for the capital, and a small victory for us Ottawans and our inferiority complex).
I'll be talking on a panel about my experiences as a second generations Muslim Canadian, under the heading: "From Integration to Contribution". M and I were discussing yesterday, and he made a good point (which I think I'll steal for my talk) that Contribution, in some ways, has to come before real integration comes. Until you care about the society to contribute to it, you haven't truly integrated. I think he's right.

The other thing that comes to mind when I think of Integration is the following Quranic verse:
"O mankind! We have created you from a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know one another..." (49:13)

It doesn't say to ignore one another. Integration is a basic concept in Islam.

Oh, Canada

They did it again: Today, in Russia, Canada's Senior (over 20) Men's Hockey Team won the gold medal at the IIHF world championships with a 4-2 win over Finland. After taking a 3-0 lead into the third period, the Canadians had to make it interesting for their fans by conceding 2 goals before going back up 4-2.
Way to go boys! The Canadian team not only won the gold medal, but they went a perfect 9-0 for the tournament, something they've never done before. We dressed my niece in a little "Team Canada" Red T-shirt with a player skating down the front before the game started. Being as young as she is, she had no idea what was happening, but could sense our excitement, and it rubbed off on her a bit...
There are few things that give me a more genuine sense of pride in being Canadian than watching our hockey teams do so well. This year, Canada has swept international tournaments by winning the Men's tournament, the Women's tournament, and the Junior tournament.
It's consolation that my NHL team, the Habs, didn't even make the play-offs...

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Slater Ave.

I finally tried out my camera in manual mode and fiddled with the various settings of aperture and shutter speed... These pics from Slater Ave on Friday afternoon.

In other news, the Ottawa Senators advanced to the third round of the Stanley Cup play-offs for the first time in forever last night, beating my most hated team, the New Jersey Devils, in the process... Not quite enough to turn off the Habs and on the Sens permanently, but they are my hometown team, they are the only Canadian team left, and they are FINALLY, FINALLY playing as well in the play-offs as they always do in the regular season. 8 more wins and a Stanley Cup parade in Ottawa... A possibility? I think so.