Preparing for Steph’s Arrival

There’s no wind and it’s mild and humid tonight. It became hot and sticky by mid-afternoon in Halifax, but it’s continued to be very hot in nearby New Brunswick, thus triggering a chain of nasty thunderstorms.

Ste-Anne-de-Kent church goneMy take is that Nature is preparing for Steph’s arrival next week. After all, coming as she is from the thunder and lightening capital of the U.S., she wouldn’t feel at home, would she! So, not one but two bolts of lightening hit this church in Ste-Anne-de-Kent (about 1 hour north of Moncton), which caused the wooden structure to burn to the ground in a matter of two hours.

So, the Maritimes should be just like home for Steph! 😛

I Say “Good Thing!”

Last night, Canada became the third country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage. Bill C-38 passed third reading in Parliament, meaning that Senate approval and royal assent — both formalities — are the only steps left for the bill to become law.

Once again, Conservative and Leader of the Opposition Stephen Harper is trying to suck and blow at the same time. Last month, he had no problem cozying up to the Bloc QuĂ©bĂ©cois in his attempt to defeat the Liberals’ budget (and consequently toppling the minority government), all the while denying that such cozying up was occurring. But this month, he’s insinuating that the passage of the same-sex marriage legislation lacks credibility because it’s supported by the Bloc, arguing that the majority of federalist MPs are opposed to this legislation. So, it seems, “Bloc MPs are the legitimate representatives of Quebec voters,” but Quebec voters aren’t legitimate by virtue of sending Bloc members to Parliament.

Despite the reservations I expressed a while back about the whole project, I am happy today the bill has passed. It bugged me to see social conservatives ignore that the legislation was worded to protect religious freedom by clearly stating that no church, mosque, synagogue or temple can be forced to perform a same-sex marriage. Yes, on the grounds that love is love is love, same-sex marriages should be allowed; however, despite the societal myth that’s been constructed, marriage has traditionally been more about regulating property rights than about love.

I know a lot of gay and lesbian couples who today, while they’re also happy the legislation has passed, are no more interested in marriage than when it wasn’t an option to them. Indeed, there hasn’t been a torrent of same-sex marriages in recent years in places where they’ve been legal (all provinces and territories except Alberta, PEI, Nunavut and the Northwest Territories). In fact, the gap between what ought to be and what people ultimately want for themselves is rather striking.

I do believe that, with time, people in general won’t give a shit about same-sex unions, just as they don’t about interracial unions. To be sure, some people out there still object to the latter, but generally it’s just accepted as a fact of life. In Canada today, instances of racial discrimination are tougher to identify because they’ve become more covert; I suspect the same fate is now reserved for gays and lesbians.

I still think an opportunity was missed. I still think the political thrust should have been to remove governments from marriage and have them grant the right to civil unions for both opposite-sex and same-sex couples, leaving marriage as an optional, religious institution. But what is done is done. Now I just hope those who advocated so fiercely for SSM aren’t going to make pests of themselves and waste time antagonizing religious sects that avail themselves of their right not to recognize SSMs.

Tropics of Maritimes

Every time I look at the forecast for tomorrow (Saturday), it seems to get more incredible. The expected high is now a remarkable 34C (93F). That’s warmer than Florida! But there’s a glitch:

A mix of sun and cloud in the afternoon and evening with 30 percent chance of showers in the afternoon and evening. Risk of a thundershower. Fog patches along the coast. Wind becoming southwest 20 km/h in the afternoon. High 34 except 20 along the Atlantic coast.

Remember I told how a southwest wind is not a good thing in these parts? It might end up being 34 in the city itself but nippier than 20 at the beach. That’s just insane!

Though Not a Gambling Kind of Guy…

Sometimes you just have to go with your intuition, or follow your cravings, even if you think you’ll regret your decision later.

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Gamble I: Blasting Off!
I love Raisin Bran ™. Always have. But I haven’t eaten the stuff in years because …well, you know why most people eat bran or, should I say, what effect they hope to achieve by eating bran, right? Well, let’s just say that bran works too well for me. Explosively well, in fact.
     As I was nodding off for my last two sleeps, I simply couldn’t get Raisin Bran off my mind. My whole body seemed to be craving it! And I believe that sometimes your body actually does call out for something it needs. For instance, I’m convinced I crave bananas when I need potassium, though I don’t make that connection when the craving is happening. It’s not like I say to myself, “Hummm! I’m cravin’ me some yummy potassium!” The craving just happens. So obviously I’m craving something in bran cereal these days.
     So what the heck! I got myself some Raisin Bran this evening, and less than three hours after I ate a huge, generous bowl of the stuff, the grumbling in my lower stomach began, as well as the farting, of course. I expect …you know… *BOOM* …real soon. So I wonder if my body was telling me that it’s craving a natural laxative, that it needs to expel some stuff. How weird is that?! It’s not like I …err …you know, I think I’m going to stop now. I can’t believe that, like the delightful Mac, I’m blogging about fecal matter today.

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Gamble II: Patching Out!
I haven’t blogged much lately about how my smoking cessation program is going. And the reason for that is that there isn’t a program anymore.
     Now hold on! I did not just say that I quit quitting. What’s happening right now is a bit more odd than that.
     I switched down to Step 2 last week, as scheduled. But as some of you remarked, I was still smoking 3 cigs or so per day while on the patch. I skipped my patch on the Saturday before the step down (no point explaining why) and I didn’t go crazy. So, since last Saturday, I thought I’d try not wearing the patch anymore. And I’m still only smoking 3 cigs or so per day. This was Day 6 of No Patch …heading into Day 7.
     Now know that I recognize this is still short of my goal. But I’m comfortable with this for now. The stale smoke smell is gone from my apartment and my clothes, my smoker’s hack is gone and my breathing is so much clearer, and I love the extra cash I suddenly have! Finally getting rid of the 3 cigs or so per day might be tougher than the 25-30 or so per day I’ve eliminated, for I’ve kept those I really enjoy. But you know what? Right now, all I feel prepared to deal with is not lapsing back to anywhere near where I was before May 3, 2005. In other words, I don’t feel I can cope with anything more right now. Mind you, I do feel much more in control than I did before May, and I think that lack of control — perhaps more than the definite health issues — is ultimately what inspired me to try quitting.

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Gamble III: Switching Time
Summer has finally arrived and it’s suppose to be a humid 30C around Halifax on Saturday, so that’s a call for the beach for me. The trouble is that my internal clock is completely fucked. It’s as though my body refuses to fall asleep for its “night” before 5:30 am — usually even later. However, I usually sleep until 2:00 pm, which is good because I’m obviously getting all the rest I need (as the virtual disappearance of the nasty bags under my eyes can testify). The problem is that I’m not resting when I should be.
     Yesterday evening around 8:00, I decided to force my internal clock to switch. Fast. So I had a nap for about an hour and a half, got up, and I’m not going to go to bed until sundown today. So if I stick to the plan, I’ll wake up at a decent hour Saturday morning and go to the beach.
     The thing is, I know I’m nocturnal by nature; I’ll never be one to get up at 6:00 every morning and be happy about it. Never! But if I could eventually not sleep through all my mornings, especially during the summer, that’d be a nice change.

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Except for the Raisin Bran, I see these gambles as fitting into something bigger in my life right now — an overall feeling I haven’t been able to express, especially at aMMusing. One of these days I’ll figure an easy way of getting a password to those of you with whom I don’t mind sharing those thoughts so that I can password-protect those blog entries.

The Corporate Monochrome

When a new library was built at my alma mater and a physical link was built to join it with the neighbouring building, the Royal Bank made a donation for the link’s construction and thus the link became known as the Royal Bank Link (corporate logo included). After industrialist families gave oodles to allow the building of a library or another major building at a given university, the resulting library or building was named after the family matriarch (hence why the names McCain and Irving resonate on Maritime campuses). If you want to go to a NHL game in Montreal, you end up going to the Molson Centre; in Ottawa, the Corel Centre.

Ah, those benevolent corporations! What would we effin’ do without ’em?!

Well, from the looks of things, we couldn’t name landmarks anymore. Or events. For instance, isn’t the biggest curling event in this country named the Nokia Briar? And on and on it goes.

But what really bothers me with all of this is how we just accept how corporations have managed to incrust their names into popular culture and turn them into household words. We accept without questioning the fiction of corporate personhood. And the next step (when we ascribe a personality to a corporation) is that some of us feel compelled to “do something nice in return” for the corporation.

Think I’m exaggerating?

I think Air Canada’s real swell for comping tickets to fly RuPaul to Halifax for Pride. But do I think we should plaster the Pride site with a banner ad for Air Canada?

Absolutely not!

Sure, give the airline full credit for its contribution and let lots of people know exactly what its sizeable contribution is. After all, I’m sure Air Canada can use all the “good PR” it can get given how it’s reviled domestically compared to its discount competitors. But a banner ad? Nawh. Next thing you know, we’ll be offering to call the whole event the “Air Canada Halifax Pride Festival” or something vapid like that. Isn’t it already bad enough that the word “gay” no longer stands next to “pride”?

Okay, I’m going off on a tangent now (you’ve been warned!) …but I can’t help being reminded of the “You’ve come a long way, baby” commercials that objectified women, effectively slapping down the strides towards equality third-wave feminists made in the late ’60s and early ’70s. I fear gays and lesbians, in their attempt at mainstreaming themselves, are heading in the same direction, just as many young women today take for granted the gains made by their foremothers. At Pride events today, we no longer march; we “parade.” After all, heaven forbid we should “disturb” people by coming across as being a little militant or anything nasty like that! Plus, I am told and should understand, the whole parade is to be a “family” event.

Oh good grief…

In my mind, that’s very disingenuous since all that does is flatten the range of diversity. While the right-wing’s fiction of a “homosexual agenda” is just that — fiction — there are significant differences in world views resulting from centuries of marginalization. Ironically, RuPaul him/herself, commenting on a recent Pride event, commented on her blog:

i guess what bothers me about today’s gay culture is that it seems to disassociate itself from people who dance to the beat of different drummer. hell, these kids weren’t dancing at all! they were just emulating straight culture. i can already hear my pundits saying “ru! get over it! you’re old! times have changed! gays don’t wear head to toe MYLAR anymore!”

In another post where she comments on the Michael Jackson verdict, she correctly reminds us that “remember, it was the queens who started the GAY RIGHTS MOVEMENT, not the ‘straight acting’ cowards.” I may not fully follow or agree with her connection of that statement to the MJ trial (let alone her usage of the term “gay/straight ‘culture'”), but I do agree with her that we are endebted to the 1969 Stonewall queens for setting the wheel in motion and declaring that gays and lesbians weren’t going to take [the marginalization] anymore. And although Ru’s usage of the word “coward” isn’t “nice,” it rings true, for only by disturbing the mainstream did we get where we are today, not by meshing into the mainstream and all its (bland, materialistic) so-called values.

I think that’s the main reason why I expressed so much reservation two years ago about same-sex marriage; I felt government — the de facto regulator of the mainstream — needed to get its nose out of the business of marriage so that perhaps the institution could be re-created to fit everyone’s needs, not only the regulation of property rights or the religious symbolism. But two years hence, one of my best friends has married her (same-sex) love of her life, and the Liberal minority government in Ottawa is trying to get the House to sit through the summer in order to finally get the federal same-sex marriage legislation passed. Much hangs in the balance now, so the failure to pass this legislation would be catastrophic — not just for its own sake or my friends’ sake (as considerable as those stakes are), but also because mostly all the other issues, on which the GLBT community should have been working, have for the most part been neglected or, worse, co-opted into the mainstream.

I mean, Article 15.1 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms still doesn’t (and won’t) include sexual orientation as grounds on which “every individual is equal before and under the law.” I’m just sayin’ that it’s far from over. And that’s just the basic legislative stuff.