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friday favourites 10.08.12

image of the week
i got a different sort of assignment today at work, to go and be a photographer at an event for which we were a sponsor. it was a charity bike ride for cancer research, it's something that the company apparently does every year. it wasn't a challenging assignment. i just had to go there and take pictures of what was going on as the cyclists arrived and the organisers gave speeches and presented a big cheque. the most challenging aspect of the whole event was actually that it was outside and they were forecasting rain for the day.

since i knew i didn't want to be wrangling both a camera and an umbrella, i had the clever idea to don a jaunty cap to keep water off my head and out of my eyes. like so:

mon joli chapeau

i knew it wouldn't help in the event of a downpour, but it would certainly offer some protection against intermittent showers.

and when i got there, i noticed that several people seemed to have had the same idea. i mean, what further proof is needed that it was a good idea than its general acceptance by unrelated strangers, right? except it wasn't right, because what occurred to me after a few minutes was that the people there who were wearing hats were not doing so to keep the rain off their head, but because they were cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy who had lost their hair.

so instead of looking like a clever photographer, i looked like some douchebag with a camera who was making fun of cancer patients. way to go.

also, when i texted dom to tell him about this, my autotext kept trying to turn the word "hats" into "hate", which should tell you something about the kind of things i usually text and what a sympathetic individual i am when i'm not inadvertently mocking cancer patients.

that's why i think it's really much better if i interact with people through the veil of the internet. because knowing me in real life can be really, painfully awkward.

so, when i wasn't offending people and embarrassing my employers, here are a few of the things i was enjoying in the last week...

good news :: stuff i can't make up from around the internet

if your religious leader insists that you live in an 8-storey underground "ant hill" and never go outside, maybe you should look into some other spiritual options.

there are so many fascinating and terrible science fiction and fantasy movies that get released. you should see the list of ones that don't...

if you're going to sell contraband, try to remain inconspicuous. for instance, don't sell pot from your unicycle in the centre of town.

you know gun violence is getting bad when even the serial killers feel compelled to speak out.

goings on :: stuff you can [and should] participate in

if you're in the northern hemisphere... look up, look waaaaaayyy up and enjoy the perseid meteor shower, playing morning shows from now until august 13th. here's a convenient guide to getting the most out of nature's display.

if you're in toronto... what could be more fun than watching people play "street fighter" in real life? complete with flamethrowers. it goes down tomorrow night at the very southern tip of bathurst street. information available here. you'll also be able to see them at burning man [appropriately enough] in the near future.

if you're in canada... and close to a holt renfrew location, they're having their annual "beauty blowout" weekend [my name, not theirs], which is when almost all of the beauty counters introduce their fall collections, offer makeovers, give you gifts with purchase and other crazy stuff. it's a beauty lover's paradise, as long as you don't mind occasionally elbowing a few uptight suburban housewives out of the way. i don't.

musical notes

in light of the fact that we landed a flying saucer on mars, i thought something appropriately space-like was in order. here's a little something from bad sector, a band who always make me think of the vastness of the universe. someone made this video set to time lapse footage of earth taken from the international space station.



follow-up and shameless self-promotion

just as a follow-up to my note above on the holt renfrew beauty event, you can find information about various fall collections in this post. and you can read my review of the excellent nars fall collection here.

for those of you who might have noticed that there hasn't been a more like space radio show posted in a while, fear not, there is a new one in the works, i just figured i'd get it together on my own time. stayed tuned.

this week's image of the week is, of course, from nasa's flickr stream and is a shot of the earth taken from the surface of mars. part of me knows that the money that went into this could be put to really good use on our planet, but most of me gets drawn in by the fact that running an exploratory robot over the surface of another planet is just so damn cool...

kitteh of the week

the first night we had simon, dom observed breathlessly "he looks like a god". and while that may be augmented when he stands above you, it's pretty true. i can definitely see people worshiping him. other than us, i mean.


that's all for this week. thanks for reading!

Comments

Martin Rouge said…
I have seen the whole argument about spending the NASA budget on Earth, where "it might do some good", but quite frankly, its just bad math; if you really want to have a positive impact, how about we cut the massive subsidies to businesses that reap massive profits and cut down on some of the military budgets? Just cutting down on the amount of depleted uranium shells that the US Army uses would be environmentally efficient, along with preventing cancer in returning veterans.
Just saying.
Kate MacDonald said…
You make a very good point. There are actually lots of places to cut in the budget before you start slicing away at the stuff that fills us all with wonder at what we can accomplish... And by "we", I hope it's understood that I mean "people who are a lot smarter than I am".

as long as you're here, why not read more?

don't speak

you might think that it sounds dramatic, but linguistic genocide is something that happens. people in power will go to great lengths to eradicate certain languages, not just for the sheer joy of making the world a lesser place, but as a way of beating down the culture that's associated with it. language has a unique reciprocal bond with culture, and every group that has attempted to break down another has recognised that forbidding a cultural group from communicating in their own language is an extremely effective way to tear apart their culture.

there are lots [and lots and lots and lots] of examples of this sort of thing, some successful, some not, but far too many to cover in one blog post. however, i thought it was worth looking at some languages that have been the subjects of active repression, and what the political consequences of that have been.

devastation :: the native north american languages :: it should come as no surprise that the largest genocide in history [by a ma…

losers?

just a short time ago, i waxed prosaic about trump supporters who felt betrayed by their candidate pursuing in office the exact things that he said he would. short version: i have no sympathy.

today is a bit different. in the wake of america's bombing of a syrian air strip, in response to a chemical weapons attack by the syrian government, my facebook and twitter feeds were peppered with plaintive shades of "we believed you". these are the people who heard trump say that he wanted the united states to step back and focus on defending its own. indeed, trump did say such things, over and over; america cannot be the policeman of the world. even arch-liberal cynics like me had to admit that this was a refreshing argument to hear from someone outside the paul family, and, could easily have been turned into trump's greatest argument against hillary clinton. [he chose to go another way, which also worked.]

trump also said, repeatedly, that america needed to invest heavily …

long division

after the united states election last year, there were the usual calls for the country to unite behind the new president. that never happens anymore, because, since george w. bush scored a victory in 2004, having launched the country into a war in iraq for no reason, the people on the losing side of a presidential election have been pretty bloody angry about it. democrats hated bush 43. republicans really hated obama. democrats really hate trump.

it didn't help that trump didn't make the typical conciliatory gestures like including a couple of members of the opposite party in his cabinet, or encouraging his party to proceed slowly with contentious legislation. barack obama arguably wasted at least two and as many as six years of his tenure as president trying to play peacemaker before he felt sufficiently safe to just say "screw you guys" and start governing around the ridiculous congress he was forced to deal with. not-giving-a-shit obama was the best president in …