that Dawn guy's musings|
Here are 15 journal entries after the 15 most recent ones recorded in
yes, *that* Dawn person's LiveJournal:
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|Saturday, March 26th, 2016|
|The tale of the scholar
[originally posted on Medium
in a much larger font, without any indication of the abbot berating the traveler for putting themselves into their own story]
The traveler spoke to the initiates. “In this province, in a time when indoor smoking lounges for employees and outside smoking areas for students were common, there was a young scholar in their first year of attending high school. This school took thousands of students from the surrounding areas of the city. It was common for any student in a mandatory class to be acquainted with few of their classmates, especially at the start of their first year.
“One of the mandatory classes taught physical fitness and social hygiene in groups segregated by official sex. Like many of their peers, the scholar was roughly average in ability with some areas of strength. They had a notable deficit in graceful movement that made them seem less desirable than the norm in team sports, while possessing superior intellect that was evident in non-sports areas of thte curriculum.
“A slightly older, shorter student took a dislike to the student lacking in grace. They taunted the scholar in their one shared class and encouraged others to do the same. The scholar seemed to be aware of and to quietly accept the defamation and apparent loss of status that was confined to the one classroom, the gymnasium, and the sport field.
“Both the scholar and the student occasionally socialized in the smoking area. One day they crossed paths and the student challenged the scholar to fight them in this area at the end of the day, making a vague threat that trouble would ensue if the scholar did not make this appointment.
“The scholar had been trained in a fighting style by their elder siblings, and raised to avoid the use of violence. Their friends were aware only of the scholar’s character and behaviour, not their skill.
“At the appointed hour, the scholar arrived at the smoking area to find the student and a crowd of onlookers. The scholar expressed a clear preference to settle whatever difficulty the student had with them through discussion. When this option was clearly rejected, they moved to a position in which a wall was at their back. The crowd closed in.
“The student threw an experimental punch at the scholar’s belly. The scholar grunted. A steady rain of blows followed, all directed at the scholar’s well muscled stomach as the scholar had hoped: the student’s fighting style was learned through taking on weaker opponents and targeted areas the victim seemed invested in protecting. It was easy to absorb the force of the student’s punches and encourage them to pursue a strategy that would seem savage and effective to the attacker and onlookers while protecting the defender’s vitals.
“Eventually the student began to tire. At this point, a person in the crowd said to the fighter and all assembled, ‘Stop. It’s clear you’ve won and it’s gotten boring.’ The crowd murmured assent and the fighter stepped back. The scholar, head down, belly cradled in their arms as though the blows had had great effect, departed through a gap that formed in the crowd.”
An initiate asked why the scholar had not taken the case to the authorities.
“I will answer this question with another story of the scholar,” the traveler responded.
“One day, at this same school and in the same season, a criminal whose identity was known to the scholar arrived at the school in circumstances that they and the scholar were alone together briefly. The criminal threatened violence to someone beloved of the scholar, letting slip the information they knew which other school in the city held their intended victim.
“The scholar went immediately to the authorities and was told to wait. When the vice principal eventually heard the scholar’s tale, she expressed scorn and accused the scholar of lying to gain attention because no person, criminal or otherwise, could slip into the school unnoticed and leave as easily.
“The scholar’s request to contact the target school was denied, as was their request to contact a member of their family. They were sent to class, arriving late and interrupting the lesson.
“After the end of the school day, when the scholar reached home, they heard that the criminal had indeed found their target and done violence to them: violence that was returned in kind. The authorities at the other school suggested the scholar’s loved one leave the school because of poor citizenship and loss of face.
“Given the attitude of officials to threatened and actual violence, there was much to risk and little to gain in reporting the student’s threat.”
The initiate protested that it was the responsibility of the authorities to provide justice and equity.
The traveler answered, “the emperor makes the law and delegates the management of the kingdom to trusted officials, who in turn make regulations and delegate their enforcement, and on down the line. It is a small matter for wrongdoing to be upheld as well within the letter of the law and learned scholars to agree. Officials do not need to be corrupt for such an end to come about: all that is required is the obedience of a horse to its master.”
|Friday, March 25th, 2016|
|Tuesday, March 22nd, 2016|
|sometimes in the midst of the stress and disengagement
you realize you have been doing some important things wondrously well.
Seeing yourself described by the standards you reserve for others, rather than the impossible ones you set yourself, helps. And one could do much worse being raised by humans than welcomed into a wolf pack of one's own choice.
|Monday, February 8th, 2016|
|Leaning out the car window, 'cause that's how I roll
There was a faculty seminar at $employer today, and I was allowed to go because the powers that be opened up registration to include staff who had been through a particular leadership education program. The topic was "leadership in the post-secondary environment" and the target audience had initially been women faculty and grad students plus supporters of the whole UN-based HeForShe thing.
I went with the intention of listening openly, engaging in discussion, and learning. Because of my personal and work history and the cultures at $employer, my impressions were coloured by the caste system in evidence in the organization and the sector, intersectionality, the philosophy of feminism, and an intense awareness of differences between words and intent.
As I mentioned elsewhere, the majority of the (60-ish person, 10-20% male-appearing) audience appeared to be white, cisgender, heteronormative, highly educated, socially and economically in "comfortably above the mean" classes, able-bodied, physically and mentally healthy, and focused on improving the lot of highly capable white women with impeccable backgrounds. I did not actually spit-take when the speaker (from Toronto, a highly multicultural city an hour up the road) commented that of course $employer must have multiple highly activist black student groups. I noted the Sandbergian "lean in" attitude in the audience's questions and reactions to the speaker. I discussed some of the kyriarchy-related issues that were *not* raised with a couple of men who had been in the audience after the event was over.
I may well be a bad fit for a leadership role at various organizations because I allow my personal views on inclusion and equity (and my record of failures to meet my own goals and ideals in these areas) to be known. And if that means I've gone as far as the ceiling will allow in terms of positional power to create cultural change, the person I am today accepts that the ceiling is there while noting it's a stupid ceiling.
Because it is a stupid, tribal, vicious limitation we impose on ourselves and each other.
|Sunday, January 24th, 2016|
|Letting Google autocomplete make a dating profile
I am a
man of constant sorrow.My status is
baddest.I am looking for
cash job in Scarborough.I live
I die I live again.My height
in cm.My age
of anxiety.Body type
turtles.I like to
move it.I listen to
the wind of my soul.I watch
protein.My dream is
to fly.My dreams are
better than reality.I have
a plan.Looking for
continuing, having found the @TechnicallyRon sourceMy name is
Jeff.I live in
French.I was born in
the darkness.My body is
my own business.I am looking for
a job who
is beauty inside and has
to be tonight.I enjoy
being a girl.
mary jane being
number 2 speech.
|Tuesday, January 12th, 2016|
|if you can't say something cromulent
I've not been lacking for experiences, thoughts, and feelings that are worthy of communal sharing: enrichment, humour, common and uncommon humanity. I have, however, stepped into a place where writing about my inner and outer lives, formulating a narrative from my processes, is -- difficult. I'll tell you that I'm too full of dull plodding, the grey fog of enworldedness, and you might believe me.
Much of my state of being and becoming is admirable. Much of my interaction with society draws the razor-coated cynic out of me. I virtually bite my ethereal tongue, lest I give unintended, isolating, lasting offence.
I hope these words find you well, with a glimpse of the richness of your life.
Here endeth all I dare wring out at this time. Peace.
|Friday, January 1st, 2016|
S and I had purchased tickets to an event at a local independent movie house with DJ- and VJ-managed music, art, and shiny things. The event itself was scheduled to run from 9pm to 3am. We arrived around 9:20ish, to a fairly sparse group. Had our timing allowed us to catch a (free for the night) bus without much of a wait, we might have gotten there earlier and a bit warmer. I was low on stamina, having felt chilled for much of the previous three days. About an hour in S brought us both coffee; we'd had tangerines earlier, bursting with sweet fragrant flavour. We found seats in the least-lighted part of the theatre, where I mostly parked myself to enjoy the show; S sometimes sat companionably beside me and sometimes found enjoyment elsewhere in the venue. I put my scarf and neck warmer on when I felt cold.
As the night went on, noticeably around 10:30 when the music changed from vinyl to oontz-ful electronica, more people arrived. Some of them danced in front to the big screen despite the floor being on a bit of an angle. I'd have gotten up to dance to the mostly older rock but didn't want to dance alone. S got up a few times and danced to the electronic music, which I prefer to listen to and watch; he said the people were friendly.
There were two or three scheduled dancers with light-emitting hoops and sticks: they were fun to watch when I could see them. Sometimes when someone stood up close in front of me, I stood up so I could continue watching the light dancing.
Around 11:35 or so, the bellydancer I had particularly wanted to see started. I moved down from my seat to the front and managed without inconveniencing anyone to get a good view, perhaps the span or one or two arms away from the dance in a gap just behind the front row of people. The dance and the dancer were delightful.
Once that dance was done, I was ready to head home via city hall where I expected music, an indoor video game arena, and fireworks. S was also flagging, so we trotted off together. I nicked a couple more tangerines, one of which S ate as we walked downtown. We had a little conversation and agreed it was a good night.
At city hall, there was music and a host to count down the minute to midnight, but we did not see fireworks. We heard some later was we headed on homeward. Indoors, vendors and the video game minders were starting to pack things up. I did not play any of the games, even though they had a standup Ms Pac Man and a Gauntlet. S and I reminisced a bit about games.
I brushed my teeth, having already taken care of the rest of the usual evening rituals (S stayed up for the bedtime cat feeding) and slept.
I woke a little after five this morning, mostly stayed in bed for about an hour, and set to some kitchen chores. I stood in the relative quiet of our front porch as the snow fell in a light flurry and much of the city still slept. I brought in a disk of snow for the cats, and ate a little fresh snow myself. Yes, it probably is bad for me.
Now I'm sipping the coffee I made about two hours ago from the mug that keeps it warm for hours. I expect I'll go out later.
|Monday, November 23rd, 2015|
|maybe that's why they hate winter
This weekend we had the first snowfall (a flurry, but with enough accumulation to shovel in less-sunny places) of the season. Now a lot of people are calling it winter. For many of them, winter has begun.
I non-argumentatively disagree with them. For me, winter is the season from the darkest night of the cycle to the equinox. It's the rest, contemplation, preparation for becoming a new thing or growing further into what one will become once spring's light and warmth arrive. It's the season after it's gotten as drear, dying, darkening, as possible while leaving room for it to grow colder for something akin to hibernation. Light will begin to return the moment winter begins.
When winter ends, there may be snow and cold for weeks. But there will also be snowdrops, crocuses, the first signs of life returning from the underworld, migrant creatures, sap rising. To me, it will be spring then regardless of the cold, the grey, the dull filth autumn left behind in its late-season frost.
I am looking forward to another winter, for myself. For some of those I love, I recognize late autumn and much of winter are hard. For a few, even the early days of spring are difficult going until the danger of frost is past well over a month into the season. I try to be patient and learn from them, or at least not sing my winter's delight in the bones of their ears in February.
I'm glad to have a winter of three months, more or less. Late autumn and early spring have their own gifts that resonate less with my spirit, for all they're needed to set borders on winter. If those borders are too porous for you, I am content to listen to you yearn for the fire and something you don't see as winter; perhaps I can hold your hand in mine under a blanket of something warming.
|Sunday, November 15th, 2015|
|Because I can
I am working on a side project that requires, among other things, preparation for vocal performance of a song I've not done in either recital nor competition. Naturally the piece is not in the comfortable-to-me genres of opera and classical lied/chanson/26/etc. and has an added interpretation issue. It's technically difficult but nowhere near Menotti level.
Lately I'm recalling the highly personal, potentially draining, nature of this kind of work. Being three and a half years out of practice adds to the challenge.
I'm doing remarkably well, albeit not out of line with my track record of achievement. It will be interesting to see my progress in the remaining weeks before I set it down and put more of my energy into things that, I grudgingly admit, are more urgent and less life-affirming.
|Tuesday, October 27th, 2015|
|Open letter to the Prime Minister
Congratulations on winning your seat in Papineau and leading the Liberal Party of Canada to a strong finish in the recent Federal election. Because I don't believe that participation in the political process for the general public ends at the voting booth, I am sending you this letter (copied to my local MP and posted as an open letter here) with my thoughts on the future of our country.
I am a second generation Canadian, raised in an ethnically diverse neighbourhood and city in a lower middle-class family. We got by, in part thanks to my mother taking in and caring for infants of working mothers. Although I now consider myself a Taoist, my upbringing included extensive exposure to the Christian and Missionary Alliance Church. My parents always voted in every election. When I finished Grade 8, a long time ago it seems, my homeroom teacher stood up in front of what felt like the entire world and told them I needed to go to Ottawa to fix things and make sure they stay that way. Instead of embarking on a political career, I entered the technical field of computing and eventually became a leader in IT at a university that is proud of its researchers and graduates in technical fields. I currently volunteer some of my time serving on the board of a co-op that is dear to my heart, and my [immigrant] spouse and I both engage with our local community in support of progressive, responsible, sustainable government.
In business school, I encountered the advice that the first hundred days of a new leader’s tenure set the stage for the culture change that follows. As Kotter points out in his seminal work on change, it's a little more complicated than that. At the level of the federal government, it is easy to fall into the trap of spending much of your mandate and political currency in wholesale reversals of one's previous opponents’ work, only to have your own policies reversed 8 to 12 years later when the pendulum has swung the other way. Yes, you've made promises. You want to create some easy wins to reward your supporters and gain the trust of the general public. Use your energy wisely, reviewing and pausing as needed before or instead of unraveling the whole cloth, even if you're certain the warped and weft are twisted. You may be surprised at what you can build without destroying infrastructure down to the foundation, and you may find value where you least expected.
Many of your MPs are entirely new to political service. Provide them guidance and resources to grow personally and professionally. Listen to them and encourage them to listen and read broadly. Show them the value in their constituents’ stories and the experience of the candidates they defeated in the election. Work with all leaders and members of every party.
Question every impulse or “need" to demand specific performance, especially around participation in debates and voting the party line. Consider long the example set by your immediate predecessor, Stephen Harper, and the changes in his attitude and behaviour over the years he was in power: do you want to be so different a man a decade from now as that person became through his choices? Do not abandon your principles lightly.
Some will hope or fear that you will follow in your father's footsteps. Pierre was a man who did many admirable things, and some not so admirable. Acknowledge him, respect those of his values that resonate with you, and make your own mistakes. And learn from them.
I don't expect I need to tell you to keep some time for yourself and your family: your love for them is incandescent. Politics and the public eye can be cruel and greedy. I consider my own position much less stressful than yours, and it saddens me to remember times when my intense focus on things other than family harmed not only myself but those I love deeply. I have lived through some experiences I would not wish upon the most evil person; given what I know of your personal history, a few of them might be echoed in your family.
Please collaborate with people from all backgrounds, at all levels of government as well as the civil service and the general public. Learn their hopes, needs, dreams, and constraints. Accept that some of your decisions will create unpleasant consequences and determine our tolerance for shifts in equity before committing and while executing. Don’t be afraid to change your mind based on new information, even though the press will pillory you for waffling.
Show Canadians and the world what you believe, who you are. Be authentic. Honour the past, respect the present, and reach for the future.
Thank you for taking the time to read and consider my message. I’m just a failed suicide, a person who would rather sit with a homeless man fighting illnesses he lacks the resources to recover from than at the head of a table of self-congratulating pillars of the community, a feminist who speaks too harshly and out of turn or bites their tongue, a well-loved wretch who often can’t see the positive difference they make in the lives of others. I’m the kid who didn’t become another [Elizabeth May or] Sheila Copps or Agnes McPhail and is okay with that. And you’re my Prime Minister, and I respect that.
Dawn Keenan (thatdawnperson)
[sent October 27, 2015]
|Wednesday, October 21st, 2015|
|Tuesday, October 20th, 2015|
|so we had an election: some figures and facts
Following historical precedent, one major party replaced the other major party in power due to the electorate being displeased with the way the country was being run. We have gone from a majority Conservative government to a majority Liberal government. It is likely that in 8-12 years we will have a Conservative government again, if trends continue.
Out of 338 seats in Parliament, 88 will be women: more than ever before. I don't have numbers on other under-represented groups.
Over 68% of eligible voters cast ballots, up in all regions from last election. There is still room to improve. We are barely back to pre-1990 levels of participation.
Looking at seats vs popular vote, electoral reform is (IMO) needed. Whether it will happen with a majority formed due to the FPTP system will be of interest.
Seats vs Popular Vote
Had the seat split fallen to align more strongly with the share of popular vote, we would have a minority government. There are advantages and disadvantages on each side of the majority/minority line.
The Prime minister-designate is the first person descended from a former Prime Minister to hold that position. One media outlet used the word "dynastic" to describe this precedent.
Urban and rural voters largely don't see eye to eye, respectively favouring progressive and conservative parties and policies. Many commentators don't understand the power dynamics of Quebec, which are different from the rest of the country.
Some communities in the far north ran out of ballots but continued to allow voting thanks to the work of electoral officers in those districts.
There were credible reports of some ballots being marked before being handed to the elector, including in my own riding. It will be interesting to see how investigations into this matter proceed.
At eight minutes after the close of polls, this was the fastest projection of final overall results (Liberal majority) that I am aware of.
|Sunday, October 18th, 2015|
|She didn't dance dance dance
This weekend S and I went to what I would categorize as a dance recital put on by multiple bellydance studios in the area. There was an overarching Hallowe'en theme that tied the solo and ensemble dances into a whole. I call it a recital rather than a show because the performers outnumbered the audience, not for any perceived lack of professionalism among the troupes. A larger audience would have given me the cognitive shift to make it a show.
The women (there are professional male dancers in this genre, such as Rachid Alexander
, though they are something of a rarity) were comfortable, confident, and skilled in their art. Many of them appeared to be past what are considered the prime childbearing years. Several had physical forms that would be fat-shamed in our larger society. I confronted my own attitudes about women's bodies somewhat uncomfortably, and was glad to do so. I confronted the stacking chairs at the venue even more uncomfortably, but that was a purely physical issue.
I enjoyed watching and learning from the show, seeing the artistry and skill of people who love the dance and themselves in the dance. The strength and control the dancers have over their bodies is beautiful. Bellydance is different from ballet, jazz, modern, Broadway, and various other forms much as different genres of music. A+, would like to watch more dance of this and other types.
I've not watched much dance, have participated only at a flailing social level with no formal lessons: I'm content with this. I am also content to have not had either of my daughters express interest in the types of dance I associate strongly with a type of performative femininity that I find disturbing. We've all (including me) done some gymnastics at a physical fitness level, and both the girls took some rudimentary ballet in non-regimented environments. Pole dancing intrigues me, though my upper body is nowhere near strong enough to consider it for myself from my current fitness baseline and the association with social stigmas is something I should work through.
Thanks to the dancers, choreographers, supporting friends and family. Of the smattering of dance I'm aware of, bellydance at the non-professional level is strongly associated with self-actualized dancers. I hadn't expected that perspective and welcome it now.
|Wednesday, October 14th, 2015|
|the intermittent chorister
The local symphonic choir had an open rehearsal (a sing-in, as they call it) last weekend. I went and sang, as I have done a few times before. Mark's love of the music, story-telling about the score and the composer's influences, and directorial skill continue to be uplifting above and beyond the experience of blending my instrument into a something much larger than itself.
I didn't know as many people in the choir this year: a few I'd lost touch with have moved on to other cities, other activities. This is the first time it felt like I was a stranger to the group yet I was comfortable in the helpful friendliness of strangers who are themselves a society unto itself. I was sight reading the entire piece this year, having had no previous exposure to Mendelssohn's Elijah. It was a tiring, invigorating exercise in skills that I haven't had much cause to use in the three and a half years I've been away from studying classical singing.
I enjoyed the morning and was glad I did it. If the opportunity recurs, I will take it again if it's not disruptive to my life. I won't be joining that choir (too large) or likely any choir soon (need to devote my energies to other types of work) though those decisions are only as final as anything in life can be.
Later in the day I mused on my reasons for avoiding choirs. Some of it is the practical matter of having an unusual instrument that takes skill and work to be part of a group without standing out. Some is the weekly commitment to rehearsals when I have other regular commitments to keep. Some is introversion: being in musical contact with others is more draining the more people are involved. Some is a sense of self-centering: many choirs suffer the same problem as other community arts groups -- they are relevant to themselves, friends and family, and nothing further. I am content to not be recognized as significant beyond a small contribution to a larger whole, but uneasy with being part of a group that believes a lie that it makes a difference or gives to a community it never reaches.
I want my work to matter outside the borders of my own life, even when I do not myself matter in any of the ways commonly celebrated by the society at large. Though music is as important to me as scent (therein lie tales and memories), I use my other skills and wisdoms to move the earth about its axes.
|Friday, October 9th, 2015|
I have been a member of Community CarShare, a car-sharing co-op, since 2010. From early in my experience as a member, I found the organization and its people so helpful and relevant to my interests that I wanted to find a way to give back. As I embarked on my MBA studies, I realized the knowledge and skills I gained through the degree would provide the tools for me to do so. Last September I joined the Board of Directors.
In a typical month I spend roughly five to ten hours on co-op business. Over the past year I have developed considerable understanding of and respect for the co-op business model, our staff and board as individuals and a collective, and the constraints of managing a non-profit organization with limited access to capital.
Working with a group of people with a variety of skill sets and perspectives around a common commitment to sustainability, social responsibility, and service is invigorating. We strive to be open to new ideas and actively listen to points of view we may not agree with. A culture of mutual respect enables cooperation and support for our commitments regardless of the amount of heat generated in reaching those decisions.
In our current period of rapid growth, we are making concerted efforts to learn from our failures as well as our successes. The competitive environment that is evolving around us, including both direct competition and substitute services like Uber, requires us to be nimble and to fully empower our Executive Director and staff to make significant revenue-affecting decisions under less hands-on forms of guidance than in the past. Moving from direct board involvement to staff-led initiatives across the board provides an interesting set of challenges and opportunities.
It is an honour and a privilege to work with my fellow board members and staff. Getting to know these active, involved members of the community better and working with them on an ongoing basis has enriched my life in ways I'd not imagined before stepping up to volunteer. I can appreciate why some people say that board involvement is addictive: the rewards are well worth the effort.