The Songs We Were Singing

This is a story about how I fell in love with music.

A few days ago I drove to Seattle to go to the Deck The Hall Ball, an incredible line up, with two of my current obsessions, Death Cab for Cutie and Mumford & Sons, headlining the event. While we were leaving we quickly chatted with a  Mother & Son who were climbing the stairs of Key Arena at the same time as us. It was the boy’s first concert, and he was maybe 11 years old. What a great choice, we told the family.

My first concert experience isn’t nearly as exciting, but it’s indicative of my music listening style. In grade 9 my friends and I started going to Ska shows in Victoria, where we grew up. Several friends had older brothers in a relatively well known local band, so I put on a tie over my tank top and headed out to my first concert. (Other than my own violin concerts). It wasn’t in an arena and it wasn’t a big name, but my friends were all there, and we experienced the music together.

That theme has continued for me. The best concerts I’ve been to involve my friends, hilarious stories, adventures, road trips, or  ferry rides. Piling into my tiny 2-door car and driving across the border, following friends in bands through state borders to book shops or libraries or university campuses. Quick phone calls and sudden plans made across hours of traveling. Planning the ultimate concert weekend, or buying spur of the moment tickets because that one band will play. Showing up at the venue to see the opening band has cancelled, and even though they’re the reason you bought the tickets you still stay in the front row, in front of the stage for the headliner you don’t know. Going to a concert with friends who love the band and coming away from it listening to one of their CDs for 6 weeks straight before going to see the same band in concert again.

I always say I’m never good at finding music by myself, but rely on my friends to tell me what to listen to, or who to try out. Music for me is a story through lyrics, the same way I love poetry. But the stories in the songs and the stories between friends, the experience of it all is what I love.

It’s always amazed me how I can hear a song and be transported back in my mind to where I was and who I was with when that song was on repeat for me. There’s a song by Paul McCartney, “We always came back to the song we were singing/ at any particular time” that sums it up for me. I can hear a song on the radio and be in High School again, in England, with friends across the country, or in another country. Specific people, specific times, they’re all connected to different songs in my mind.

Deck The Hall Ball - Dec 7, 2011

While High School and first year University are wrapped up in what songs were playing on our CD players, computers, or iPods, it wasn’t until second year that I started going to concerts, realizing that spending money on shows was more rewarding that some other things I could buy. I have fond memories of Regina Spektor, KT Tunstall, Kate Nash, The Proclaimers, Jeremy Fisher, Coldplay, Arctic Monkeys, The Mountain Goats, LMFAO, Ke$ha (Don’t judge, I have some theories on the subject for you). And this isn’t even a story about my nerd music tendencies. That story is for another time.

This past term was a great one for concerts for me. I realized how much I love Death Cab For Cutie. I sang ‘Don’t Stop Believin’ at the top of my lungs while a few hundred metres away Journey performed. I sat in Key Arena for over 8 hours watching seven bands (Grouplove, Two Door Cinema Club, Young The Giant, Forster the People, Cage the Elephant, DCFC & Mumford & Sons) play. There are three new tickets on my wall.

Mumford & Sons Take the Stage

And maybe I cried a little when Mumford and Sons took the stage at the end of the Deck The Hall Ball. But they’re more than just a band. They’re the CD I was listening to when I was struggling with future decisions in a job I didn’t love. They were the soundtrack of our road trip to San Francisco. They were playing as we drove for two days straight, as we jumped in the ocean in Northern California, as we wove through the turns along the coast in Oregon. Even though they weren’t yet a band when I lived there, they remind me of London and my hopes to go back there one day. They are poets and lyricists and I love their music. And I love that I could share their concert with wonderful friends

Concert Friends

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The #LondonRiots & The #CanucksRiots

I spent much of today following the events in London through the BBC, the Guardian, and multiple social media channels, and it caused me to think a lot about my reactions to both this riot, and the riots in Vancouver after the Canucks lost the Stanley Cup. In both cases I took issue with a lot of the discourse surrounding the events, and I’ve attempted to put my discontent into words, as incomplete and unfounded in research as they may be. I speak from personal experience in both cities, and what I have gleaned through multiple non-academic sources, as well as my own political leanings.

Yes there are people taking to the streets all over the UK today (In London specifically, but also in Birmingham, in Liverpool, in Bristol, in Leeds) to take the opportunity to steal and cause damage, yes similar things happened in Vancouver after something as innocent as a Hockey game. Yes violence and crime is inexcusable. But there are Societal factors that we need to look at too. Those who took to the streets caused violence, looting and mayhem. But why are all these young people so angry? In both London and Vancouver, we have high costs of living, lack of good jobs (for young people especially), a hostile economy, and conservative governments taking time and money away from social programs, policing, and so much more. It takes its toll.

I’m not excusing those who damage property and set things on fire, vandalizing and stealing, but I want to see research and evidence about what’s causing this. The people in the wonderful, beautiful, and diverse cities of London and Vancouver are not wrenching off the shackles of authoritarian governments, but we have governments that do not listen to us. Governments that focus on those with means and not the youth, the future who cannot see their own futures.

In looking at the events through the eyes of social media, the reactions I see are mostly those of shame. Friends on Facebook express how they are “ashamed to be British today” or those on Twitter talk about how it makes them sick to see the violence and destruction. Why do we not feel this same shame and outrage when we take the bus along East Hastings and see those left behind by society, invisible to those in power. When we talk with a man on the streets of London who’s wife died, who hasn’t seen his children in years, and who says he drinks and stays on the streets because it stops him from feeling.

Why do we not feel shame in our government for leaving the youth of London without jobs or prospects in a hostile economy? Why do we not blame those who have the power to change something for the better?

There are people who society has left behind. Who don’t conform or play the game, who don’t know how or don’t want to risk getting hurt again. There are people who have been left behind by their cities, their governments, their countries. And every once in a while there will be a spark. It will be something as simple as a hockey game, or as tragic as the shooting of a (perhaps unarmed) man by police, and the spark will cause these people to realize how utterly angry and left behind they are, and this will happen.

Those rioting are not doing so for overtly political reasons, but that does not exclude these riots as political events. 

- – -

On a lighter note, here are some of the nerdier messages left by the people of Vancouver on the boards covering up the broken windows of The Bay Downtown. “The Wall.”

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San Diego Comic Con Day One: Fun In The Sun

This year I was finally able to attend Comic Con International in San Diego, and I fell in love with the atmosphere before I even got on the plane to the city. While I was sitting in Vancouver International at the gate waiting for my flight to board, I looked at the people around me, and by their conversation, their dress, their excitement or the patches on their bags, discovered that many of my fellow travelers were going to the same place.

When I got off the plane in San Diego I was greeted with the sunshine, and aura of nerddom around me. The others in the airport shuttle were all here for the same event, and the city chose to welcome us with SDCC banners ‘Celebrating the Popular Arts’ and the porter at the first hotel we went to welcomed us all with ‘have a great convention’. I loved it. Couldn’t stop looking out of the windows.

The Banners Were All Over The City

Our first day at Comic Con began early, with breakfast at the hotel and a quick walk to the trolley – I’m pretty sure the Trolley to Comic Con is similarly magical to the Hogwarts Express – and got into the first line of many for the day. We got our Thursday tickets and swag bags on Wednesday, so we immediately picked up our Friday & Sunday passes.

The first panel I went to was about Battlestar Galactica, including Richard Hatch (Tom Zarek), Dr Kevin Grazier (A science advisor for many shows that film in Vancouver, and who was dressed as the 5th Doctor), Lilli Borden (Blood & Chrome) and Director Michael Nantin (Who was the director for most of the deaths in season 4.5).

It started off with a short featurette about the music of BSGand we got to see an awesome season three blooper reel (different than the one on the DVDs I believe). We ended the panel with a rousing chorus of “So Say We All” lead by Richard Hatch.

Battlestar Galactica Panel

We missed the Game of Thrones panel because we didn’t line up early enough, but we had so much fun wandering around the Exhibition Floor. I managed not to buy too much, but I did splurge on a Doctor Who comic and T-shirt at the BBC America booth. I also pre-ordered my X-Men First Class DVD, they were giving away free T-shirts! And I was planning on buying it anyway! It’s hard to say what the best part of the Exhibition Floor is. It’s size is staggering, taking up Halls A-G on the main floor of the Convention Centre (for perspective, Hall H alone can hold 6000 people).

There was even a Life-Size TARDIS

Some of the booths are gigantic, and even have multiple levels. There is an art section, poster section, gaming section, comic section, webcomics, networks, studios, and all around you there are cosplayers dressed as characters across a range of different mediums, fandoms, and times. And in amongst it all is the free swag. The Penguin Group was giving away books!

Thursday was also the day of my first w00tstock, which was everything I had expected it to be and more. It took place in the Balboa theatre, and was run by Wil Wheaton, Paul & Storm, and Adam Savage (from Mythbusters). Paul & Storm opened, (Someone give that man a sweater is the name of my Weezer Cover band). Wil Wheaton was amazing as always, he did a reading of “William Fucking Shatner” with musical accompaniment by Paul & Storm, and MC-ed like a boss.  Amy Berg, writer on Eureka was there, and wrote a hilarious scene for herself, Wil, and Felicia Day, who showed up (which was great, because I didn’t get to see her at any other time during the convention). Molly23 performed (though sadly, not My Hope, which is my favourite song of hers), Hard & Phirm were also there, as was the Drummer from POTUSOA, and Dammit Liz, in the role of stage manager.

Can you tell I was terrified?

Adam Savage sang “I did it my way” in the voice of Gollum, and told a hilarious story about talking to his son about Internet Porn. Grant from Mythbusters showed up as well, and many people did songs, readings, and just general awesomeness. It was an excellent way to spend upwards of 4 hours.

All in all, day one of SDCC was incredible and left me excited and energized for day two (which was good, because I would get up extremely early).

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My Thoughts On Harry Potter

As I sat in my room a week ago watching the cast of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows arrive in Trafalgar Square for the premiere of the final movie, my emotions were all over the place.

These books, and these movies have been such a part of my life, through so many years, that it’s hard to untangle all of my thoughts on the matter. Over the years I’ve done a lot of writing about my experiences with Harry Potter, and I’m not done yet. Those books have brought me so many experiences and so many friends, I’m certain that my life would be in a completely different place without them.

Without dreaming of going to Wizard School, I’m not sure I would have ended up where I did for my first year of university. Without that, I would have missed out on so many friends. There are cities I wouldn’t have visited, and so many friends and memories I would not have made.

It has been so important to me. Not just a book, not just a movie. Watching this final premiere was quite emotional. Watching the actors who have spent half of their lives growing up in their roles brought to tears by the crowd and the experience was emotional for me as well. I know these characters, just as I feel I know these people who brought them to life.

After seeing the final movie myself, surrounded by many of my closest friends, I’m attempting to sort out my feelings. I was an emotional wreck throughout the lead up to the final book release in 2007, and I noticed similar tendencies this time. Closer to tears, more focused on making this what I needed it to be.

We lined up outside of the Scotiabank Theatre on Burrard Street, in downtown Vancouver, a place I’d never been for a movie release before. And waited. Talked to other versions of ourselves in line. People who’s lives have been similarly impacted by the words written by JK Rowling.

Walking into the theatre, preparing our tissues, putting on our Harry Potter 3D glasses, I was ready. Deciding that this is not simply the End of An Era, but the beginning of a new part of my life. No more waiting.

Looking back, I had plans for this last release. I would be in Trafalgar Square, like I was for Goblet of Fire. I would be at LeakyCon in Florida. But this night in Vancouver, with as many of my closest Harry Potter friends around me as possible, it was perfect.

The film itself reflected a fitting end to this chapter of our lives. I’ve had my issues with the film adaptations in the past -from storylines left out, to issues with the casting of certain characters – but this was close to perfect. I know now that not everything from the books can make it in, but even when elements weren’t the focus, the details were in the background. Some characters’ whose journeys to the final battle were detailed in the books, were visible in the background. In a 2.5 hour movie you can’t do everything, but the detail placed in the background was a nod to the fans, to the history of these books, and the importance of every single character to the events of Deathly Hallows.

In two days it will be 4 years to the day that we stood in line at midnight to get our copies of Deathly Hallows the book, it amazes me to look back and see what we’ve accomplished and who we’ve become since then. So I will leave you with a video I made one year after the book release. The music behind the photos is by Oliver Body and The Remembralls, a Wizard Rock band, who I consider to be the lyrical voice of the fans.

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UBC F-Word Conference 2011: Women & Science Fiction

Last weekend I presented at my first Academic Conference. I was nervous, but the day went very well, and I’m glad to say that I’m proud of the presentation I gave.

The conference was the second annual F-Word Undergraduate Conference at UBC, put on by the UBC Women & Gender Studies Association. It ran all day on Saturday April 30th, and was a great experience.

The F Word Conference - April 30, 2011 @ UBC

The panel I was a part of was centered around the topic of Feminism and Pop Culture, the presentation topics ranged from gender in The Hunger Games, to women and Horror Films, to Harry Potter Slash Fanfiction, to my presentation on Women and Science Fiction.

We had a full room for our panel, with people even sitting on the floor and standing at the back of the room! And after our presentations we had some excellent questions, though it would have been nice to have more time, I think we had some great discussion from the room.

I thought it would be great to put (a condensed version of) my presentation up on the blog so those of you who would like to read it have the opportunity to do so.

Women and Science Fiction, by Pippa Adams
April 30th, 2011 

I love science fiction. Aliens. Spaceships. Technology that transforms society. All of it. I read the books, I watch the films, I powerdisc through entire television series during my holidays. I even go to conventions.

I also see that the commercials during my favourite sci-fi shows aren’t aimed at me. That my t-shirt buying options are limited to shapeless guys’ tees. That when I walk into a new comic shop for the first time the man behind the counter has trouble looking me in the eye. That the majority of people at the comic conventions are guys.

Science Fiction is often perceived as a part of popular culture that is reserved for men. A boy’s club of sorts. But I choose to disagree, as do many of the friends I share this interest with. Science fiction is a form of storytelling that allows us to go past these stereotypical ways of thinking about gender, and explore our hopes and fears about society in a different way. Science fiction has a lot to offer us, from compelling female characters, to commentary on the way society views and treats women today.

Science fiction as a genre, has a unique ability to explore themes, topics, and problems of today’s society in a way that allows viewers to see issues from a different perspective. By watching a show set in space, or on a different world, it allows us to separate our own assumptions and opinions from the present context, and presents situations in a way that causes people to think more critically that they perhaps normally would about tv.

Scholars such as Sherrie Inness*, Dominique Mainon, and James Ursini** have written on the ways that science fiction can illuminate a lot about our society, specifically when it comes to gender. They point out that a fair amount of contemporary science fiction has become a space for women to be presented outside of traditional gender roles, often taking on the role of a warrior.

It has not always a progressive place though, and is often inescapably indicative of the time it was written in. A product of the culture that produces it.

We can look at Robert Heinlein’s 1961 book, Stranger in a Strange Land which is supposedly one of the most iconic science fiction novels. I was unimpressed at the treatment of his female characters. They were all lower-level employees and hardly distinguishable from the each other, with almost no character development of their own. Despite the presence of dramatically more advanced technology, Heinlein wrote female characters very grounded in a 1950s perception of appropriate behavior for women. (As well as including some dubious exchanges about sex and rape in character dialogue.)

As time progresses though, one can see how the medium progresses, and people began to realize what can be done with it. How you can use it to explore how society can be different, not just technologically, but in other ways as well.

Star Trek: The Original Series famously included Lieutenant Uhura, a black woman, as one of the principal members of the bridge crew. Present in almost every episode between 1966 and 1969 and, she was an integral member of the cast. Looking back, we can see how her roll was limited to somewhat of a space secretary, but in comparison with Heinlein’s female characters, she is a drastic improvement.

Recently Paramount released the original document, written by Gene Roddenberry, pitching the series. In this document we can see that originally Roddenberry had included a Female First Officer, who would be Second in Command to the Captain. This was changed before production, and the character of Mr. Spock was put in her place. Roddenberrry was able to keep a woman on the bridge of the Enterprise in the character of Uhura, though she was still a product of the time in which her character was written, but she went where no woman had gone before, and for that she is extremely important.

While there were many female characters in the subsequent Star Trek television shows and movies, it will be particularly interesting to see where the 2009 reboot of the franchise will take this character. Will today’s Uhura be able to go further than the Uhura of the 1960s? Or will the constraints of a big blockbuster movie format restrict the character to translator and love interest? This question is definitely one I will be looking to see the writers, Bob Orci & Alex Kurtzman answer when the latest film is released in the summer of 2012.

Another sci-fi television show recently rebooted is Battlestar Galactica. Running over four seasons, it’s writers had the opportunity to develop well-rounded characters and explore our fears and hopes about the future in a context much different from one we recognize.

The original Battlestar Galactica was a television series that ran briefly from 1978 to 1979. It was re-imagined with the 2003 miniseries by Ronald Moore, and many of the situations, themes, and plotlines were shaped as a response to the events of September 11. At the beginning of the miniseries, the world is basically destroyed, and what’s left of the human race – 50 000 people scattered throughout a fleet of ships – is left to run from their attackers, and search for a new home. The series says a lot about identity through the next 4 seasons, though to some degree it laid aside questions of gender in order to focus on questions of race.

Moore’s Battlestar Galactica includes many female characters who manage to bend stereotypes and remain strong in their own ways. We are presented with Laura Roslin, who becomes the civilian president, and often clashes with the military leadership. She doesn’t back down, and remains a strong voice for the people throughout the show.

We also have a range of women who are part of the military structure, Kara Thrace, call sign Starbuck, who we first see as a fighter pilot and top gun, later becomes CAG, and is consistently involved in advising the Admiral and other military brass on strategic issues. Starbuck, a hot-headed fighter, is interesting as well because of her character’s history. In the 1978 series, the character of Starbuck was male, but Moore decided to cast a female in the role. This is practically the only thing about her character that changes. She is just as brash, just as boozy, and just as confident as the male Starbuck was in the 1970s.

There are many more examples, Athena who balances motherhood with military prowess, all the while fighting social stigma for being one of the enemy who switched sides during the war; and Number Six who manipulates and outsmarts many of those around her; and many more.

Women throughout the series were generally accepted as an integral and equal part of the society. No one questioned the ability of Starbuck, Boomer, or any of the other women in the military’s ability to fight, they were questioned for other reasons, such as race, or inexperience. Laura Roslin was more criticized for being a teacher than a woman, and her inexperience, not her gender, raised questions as to whether she was fit to lead society or not

Moore raises many questions, but doesn’t provide any clear answers, like most good science fiction, it is up to the audience to decide what they will take away from what is presented to them.

Any time I talk about women and TV, especially science fiction, I have to bring up Joss Whedon. Most people know him from Buffy The Vampire Slayer, another show with a wonderful range of female characters, as well as the short-lived Firefly. He is often discussed as a feminist writer, who  jokes that he writes strong female characters because people still feel that asking him why he does it is a valid question.*** The show I want to talk about today is Dollhouse. Running from 2009 to 2010, Dollhouse was set in modern day LA, but with a twist. A corporation has developed the ability to modify memory to the point of being able to place new personalities into whatever body they want. People, known as Actives, sign a contract for the corporation to have control over their bodies for a period of five years, during which they can be hired out to anyone with enough money. The Actives live in a blank, childlike “doll” state when they are not hired out, never leaving the “Dollhouse”

On the surface, it does not seem like a very feminist-friendly show. Much of the assignments that the Actives are sent out on are what you would assume; expensive and technologically advanced prostitution. But what this show does, and would have had more opportunity to do had it remained on the air longer, is to expose the utter ridiculousness of many parts of our society. The widening gap between those with money and those without, expansive power of corporations, the way women are treated as objects, the dangers of technology without ethical guidelines, what constitutes property, and the power inequalities in our world.

Shows like Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, and Dollhouse force audiences to examine contemporary issues in a context that is different from where we are used to seeing these problems – allowing a wide range of critical thought to occur – all while watching television. Science fiction is a lens through which we can view our anxieties and take a look at our own choices on a daily basis, especially when it comes to issues such as gender, race, and technology – all issues that people have strong feelings about, and see them in a different context.

Science fiction can be political, and powerfully so.

Overall it was a great experience, and I’m glad that my friend (and Mentor) Janni Aragon brought it to my attention. Hopefully I will be attending and presenting at many more academic conferences to come!

Thanks again to the UBC WAGS Undergraduate Association, the organizers, those who attended and Janni Aragon & Kelsey Wrightson for including me in their presentation group!

I’ve written more about women and science fiction on this blog, take a look in the feminism tag, or the political science fiction tag for more posts.

_________

* S. Inness, Tough women in outer space (pp.102-105) in Tough Girls, Women Warriors and Wonder Women in Popular Culture (1999) UPenn Press.

**D. Mainon and J. Ursini, Where No Man Has Gone Before, in The Modern Amazons: Warrior Women On-Screen (2006) Limelight Editions.

*** See my post from International Women’s Day

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Book Review: Bossypants

Another book I chose to read during my break was Tina Fey’s newly released Bossypants. And I loved it.

I think Tina Fey is amazing. She’s a smart, funny, feminist and her writing style does not disappoint.

She talks about 30 Rock (which I will definitely actually start watching now), her experiences impersonating Sarah Palin on Saturday Night Live, and how her life brought her to where she is today.

I particularly enjoyed the parts about Saturday Night Live before and especially during the 2008 Presidential Election. I remember watching SNL during that campaign. Wondering what they would come up with next. I particularly liked this passage from Bossypants,

In my opinion, the most meaningful moment for women in the 2008 campaign was not Governor Palin’s convention speech or Hilary Clinton conceding her 1896 delegates. The moment most emblematic of how things have changed for women in America was nine-months-pregnant Amy Poehler rapping as Sarah Palin and tearing the roof off the place.(232)

That moment was one of the funniest and most entertaining things to come out of the 2008 campaign. I remember laughing until I had tears in my eyes – and later memorizing the entire thing.

If you have a few hours to spare (as I finished this book the same day I picked it off the shelf at the bookstore), I would definitely suggest you give this book a chance. It’s well worth it.

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Summer in Vancouver

For me, summer in Vancouver is walking home from work over the Burrard Street Bridge. 


I kind of  love bridges. Different cities, different favourite bridges. San Francisco has the Golden Gate, London has the Millennium Footbridge (affectionately called the wobbly bridge), Victoria has (for now) the Blue Bridge, and in Vancouver its Burrard Street.

I lived in Vancouver once before, in the summer of 2009, and the best part of my workday was walking home from downtown, across the beautiful span of the Burrard Street Bridge.

Sure more cars go across Granville, and the Lions Gate is impressive with its own gorgeous views and those lions decorated for every cause, sports team and season. But it’s the Burrard Street Bridge that is my favourite. Maybe its that you can sense the history in its concrete designs, or the bike lanes that make it seem somehow friendlier. But for me its the way the light hits it in the evening, the sun slowly sinking into English Bay.

Summer in Vancouver is the sun and the ocean and the trees and the skyline. Summer in Vancouver is weather warm enough to walk endlessly, but cool enough to stay outside for days at a time.

Summer is this bridge and the views from its railings. Downtown, the mountains, English Bay, the boats, Granville Island, the Ocean, the West End, Kitsilano, at the tents set up for Bard on the Beach.

After living in Vancouver for almost four months now, I was so happy this past week to have sunshine and fair enough weather to walk home along the Burrard Street Bridge.

Of course, I can hear raindrops falling outside my window as I post this. But that’s life in Raincouver.


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Book Review: Full Frontal Feminism

Book Title: Full Frontal Feminism
Author: Jessica Valenti
Published: 2007
Pages: 248
Category: nonfiction: politics, feminism

With a month between one semester ending, and the beginning of another, I tried to be very careful in picking out my reading material. I wanted something fun but also informative (though I’m sure with a couple more weeks to go, I will find some fluff to read as well). And armed with a bookstore gift-card I made my way on a rainy Thursday to the Community and Culture section of a nearby Chapters.

I wasn’t super impressed with the amount of books on the Gender Studies shelf, but I did manage to find Full Frontal Feminism by Jessica Valenti, who founded Feministing. And I loved it. This book is full of important information, presented in a frank, no-nonsense format. Valenti has things to say and she says them, with emphasis. I loved her straightforward approach to issues that many people avoid being straightforward about.

Valenti did an excellent job of laying out the issues, and explaining what they are and what we can do about them. The book is written in a way that it seems like you are having a conversation with an author, very personal and personable. And she swears a lot. It’s kind of awesome.

While most of the information directly relates to politics in the United States, many of the same issues face Canadian women. Especially in light of much of the rhetoric in the current political campaigns leading up the May 2nd election in Canada.

I would definitely recommend this book for anyone. And everyone.

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#elxn41

I blame Stephen Harper for not getting any homework done on Friday.

I knew that the government was going to fall on Friday, and when I woke up and checked Twitter, I saw that it was about to go down. And then I watched about 4 hours of CBC coverage – watching Peter Mansbridge crack himself up about the fact that the CBC countdown clock counted down to a blank screen.

I’m not going to lie, I love elections. I love following the campaigns, watching Leaders attempt to one up one another. I like mocking attack ads. And I like that for what seems like once in a blue moon, people are paying attention to how we run our country.

In High School I helped organize a town hall meeting for our local candidates, and a mock vote for the 2004 election. I also got to vote for the first time provincially in 2005 – and I have pictures of me posing with my voter card by the polling station sign.

I sent in an absentee ballot in 2006 while I was in England for University. My fellow Political Junkies & I sat up in one of the computer labs, and watched election returns online in the middle of the night and we made colour coded Political-Party-Party-Hats, which we wore to our Politics class the next morning.

In 2008 (an election hidden amongst coverage of Obama vs McCain, south of the border) I sat in front of the TV in my house, laptop in hand, friend beside me similarly accessorized, and watched as the results were solidified before the news networks could officially release any information to the West Coast – not that we couldn’t find the information elsewhere online.

I volunteered for Elizabeth May, as she started her campaign months ago in Saanich-Gulf Islands. And I’ve campaigned for electoral reform in this province, I still have my BC-STV sign in the garage.

So while I’m dubious about the motivations for this election, I think it’s more necessary than the election of 2008. And I look forward to the #elxn41 tweets, the snarky updates from fake candidate accounts, the great political humour, and the chance that this election will be about issues, and that the Canadian people will be informed, and passionate about government in this country.

Because I live in hope.

*      *      *

I’ve got more thoughts on what this election will hold over on BC Vote. Take a look.

Wizard Rock the Vote - Registering New Votes Summer 2008 in Seattle

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Emerald City Comicon 2011

Last weekend (March 4-6) I had the opportunity to attend Emerald City Comicon for the third year in a row. ECCC as it’s known, is one of Seattle, Washington’s biggest conventions, and one of the best Nerd Gatherings in the Northwest.

Emerald City Comicon 2011

This year, just like in 2010 and 2009, did not dissappoint. Emerald City is always an awesome weekend filled with nerdiness and good friends, good food, and awesome experiences.

Wil Wheaton's Awesome Hour

The highlights in 2011 including meeting Wil Wheaton again, attending panels with speakers like Jonathon Frakes (Riker – Star Trek Next Generation) and Brent Spiner (Data – Star Trek Next Generation)

Riker & Data

 

 

Continue reading

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