mahogany: (Nina)
Insomnia continues. Now that I have found my sister, my internet searches tend to revolve around agroecology, and food sovereignty. Several months ago, I read Stuffed and Starved by Raj Patel, and it really opened my eyes to some of the real issues surrounding food sovereignty on a global scale, including some promising developments such as the Via Campensina movement and Cuba's transition into organic farming. Since then, I've been trying to educate myself. Most of the papers are about the same stuff - the way we farm is not sustainable, agroecology is the answer, the government needs to stop subsidizing industrial agriculture, and blah, blah, blah. Same shit. None of it is changing anything. Very few papers are looking at the barriers to entry, or at solutions that don't involve a shift in governmental policies. Personally, I think that pissing and moaning about how stupid the government is, and impotently wringing out hands waiting for the government to make changes is utterly pointless Governments are impervious to evidence, and are vulnerable to special interests. Waiting around for a top-down policy least effective road to change IMO.

I have this idea that has been brewing for a while, and it has changed several times since its initial iteration, several months ago, but my thinking around it is still really muddy. Initially, it revolved around fair trade abroad, but in its latest form it focuses on farming here in North America. In this particular paper (which is current, excellent and worth reading), Professor Altieri argues that the solution to world hunger lies in the south, and not in the north (it's near the end of the paper) For the most part, I agree with his rationale. None-the-less, I think that considering the damage our agricultural practices are causing here in North America, we need to be part of the solution. Perhaps not THE solution, but part of it.

So my idea is still pretty hazy, but the basics are thus: Fix the problem one industrial farm at a time.

- Use crowd funding for a forgivable zero interest loan to be used to purchase large scale farms as they come up.
- Facilitate the formation of a farming co-operative where all individuals working on the farm are equal shareholders.
- Facilitate the access of the farmers to education in best practices in agroecology, regenerative farming, etc., and facilitate the adaptation of those methods to the local area.

Wash, rinse, repeat. Once the loan has been repaid, ideally, those funds would be re-used for the purchase of additional farms.

Obvious problems are:
- The small number of large scale farms for sale
- This is a very time intensive process - we are looking at several years before the farm is fully transitioned
- The amount of crowd funding required would be in the millions of dollars just for one farm
- The local knowledge of what works is essential, and due to the secrecy of many farmers, gaining access to that information can be difficult
- The nuts and bolts mechanism of keeping track of the donations/repayments etc., sounds tricky
- Finding farmers who would be interested in this sort of proposition
- I personally have no experience in any aspect of this, other than a deep personal interest, and so have nothing to contribute.

-On the plus side, I think it could work.
mahogany: (Nina)
Any guesses as to whether or not Oscar Romero will finally be canonized under Pope Francis? I'm guessing/hoping yes.
mahogany: (Default)
I've been completely loving this song. I find Bob Dylan very hit or miss, but this song is definitely a hit for me. Warning. The video, is rather WTF. If you haven't already heard it, I hope you enjoy it as much as I have.

mahogany: (Default)
Bedbugs have been found in pretty much all of the lower mainland libraries. They are all taking measures to try to control the issue. There will be periodic inspections with sniffer dogs, and books coming from known problem sources will be put aside for special handling, but even still, the whole beg bug thing has me really freaked out.

We have a really busy and chaotic household. Dealing with bedbugs is a huge nightmare, and I cannot imagine adding the stress of dealing with those little vampires to my already overfull plate. Our kids are avid readers, and we're heavy, heavy, heavy library users. I can't cut the kids off from books. I can't and won't buy that many books. We've been borrowing eBooks from the library and downloading them onto the eReader, but even that's very hit and miss, and the selection isn't stellar (though the libraries are adding to their collection at an impressive rate). Still, I'm terrified. Terrified, I say, of bringing home bedbugs from the library. I know people can get them from just about anywhere, but when it becomes a known source, when I know which shelf the affected books were on, it becomes much more real, and immediate, and scary than an ambiguous "anywhere".

And all this thinking about bedbugs has me worrying about other stuff too. I recently discovered that Norwalk viruses can live on surfaces for two weeks -same thing with hepatitis. I often see the library clerks spraying the covers of books and wiping them down. If wonder if that's why. But what about the soft cover books? No one is spraying those. I have found crusted snot (I think?) in library books. I've visited friends and seen library books stacked in their bathroom. I wonder if the most recent library book that I read accompanied the previous borrower to the bathroom while they did their business?

For as long as I can remember, libraries have been a second home to me. They're packed with old friends, and new friends waiting to be cracked open. I've been hauling the kids to libraries since they were born, and now the library is a second home to them too.

I'm annoyed with myself for letting my paranoia over bedbugs - and let's face it, they're here to stay; dealing with them is quickly becoming a fact of life - ruin my/our favorite refuge.
mahogany: (Default)
After the completely inedible saffron icing incident, I have taken to googling my culinary inspirations to see if recipes (and therefore quantities and ratios of ingredients) already exist. Perhaps I'm really tame, but I must admit I'm more than a little surprised, not that my ideas already exist, but the extent to which they exist. I've volunteered to contribute some baking to my daughter's ballet school for their annual bake sale. I've been toying with a few ideas, and I had thrown a few pomegranates in our grocery basket today, so I thought, "Hmm...I love pomegranates. Maybe I can do something with pomegranates for the bake sale. Hmm...I also love cheesecake. I wonder if those two flavours would work together?" And lo and behold, they do. Apparently I've been missing out - big time."Pomegranate cheesecake recipe" resulted in 4920 results.
mahogany: (Default)
When I was seven (I know this because I remember the library I was sitting in when I read it), I read a book entitled Don't Open This Box. It's about a boy that gets a parcel with a tag that says not to open the box, and he wrestles with the temptation for most of the book, until finally succumbing, and opening it, and inside is a copy of a book entitled Don't Open This Box.

If you happened to be sitting in the library at the time, you might have heard a little "Kapow!" which would have been the sound of my mind exploding a little at my first introduction to the concept of infinity. It left such an impression on me, that I still remember trying to get my mind around the contents of last page and realizing that it was just beyond the bounds of my comprehension.

I looked for it recently, and discovered that it is out of print. I also found an image of the cover online, and the illustrations are terrible. It occurred to me that it might be neat if the book were reissued with really good illustrations.

I wonder how one would go about orchestrating something like that? I can't imagine writing to the octogenarian author to tell him that I love his book, but think his illustrations leave a lot to be desired, so could he please work on getting it reissued, but for heavens sake, get some decent illustrations! I've done a little poking around online (and discovered that Shaun Tan, whose work I LOVE doesn't collaborate with other authors anymore), but the publishing world is very mysterious to me.
mahogany: (Default)
Today, I found my first grey hair. It was white, actually, and wiry. Well, I guess my husband will soon discover that I wasn't joking when I told him years ago, that I refused to be a slave to a bottle of colour, and that when it was time for me to go grey, then I was going to roll with it.

I just didn't realize that it would be so soon. It's another reminder that I'm not a kid anymore. I haven't been for ages, and I haven't been able to pass as one for ages. Depending on how fast this progresses, I may soon have people guessing my age as older than I actually am instead of younger.

I had always hoped that I would take after my grandfather who only had a handful of greys by his late 70s. Evidently, I take more after my grandmother. Of course, stress doesn't help, I'm sure...

[Poll #1770239]


Aug. 15th, 2011 01:03 pm
mahogany: (Default)
Nothing lasts forever, I guess. LJ has been a ghost town lately, so I've started a Dreamwidth account just to be on the safe side. I'm mahogany over there, too if you want to add me.
mahogany: (Default)
This is the year I've decided to start fermenting stuff.

To get my feet wet, I've started with Water Kefir, Milk Kefir, and Filmjolk. They are all sitting on my counter fermenting away as we speak. If things go my way, the entire family will be bursting with probiotics!

Speaking of the entire family. Remember when I calculated the shocking amount of oranges we went through? Well, we went blueberry and strawberry picking last week, and of 10lbs of strawberries, and 35lbs of blueberries, only half is left. O.o I was thinking that would last us till Christmas. I'm going out again tomorrow, and this time, I'm coming home with at least 100lbs. This is why I can never seem to stock up on stuff. I grossly underestimate the volume of food my family consumes.
mahogany: (Default)
It's summer, and I feel like being entertained. I want to watch some really good comedies between now and September.

I'm a pretty easy to please person as far as my taste in comedy goes. I like witty, as well as juvenile humour. I like dark comedy, but I'm looking for laugh out loud funny this time around. Please, lay your best suggestions on me.

Stuff I love:

Eddie Murphy and Chris Rock, stand up routines - Yes, they're crude, but I don't mind crude humour as long as it's actually funny

Forgetting Sarah Marshall - Funny the first time around, but I couldn't laugh at it twice.

Muriel's Wedding - I think it was the same director as Strictly Ballroom, which also had some really good moments

The Full Monty - had me almost peeing from laughing so hard

A Fish Called Wanda - another laughing out loud classic

The Jerk and Bowfinger- yes, I have an incredibly juvenile sense of humour

Johnny Stecchino - a situational comedy. It was dull in spots, but had several really funny worthwhile moments


Rushmore - this is probably one of my top fifteen favorite movies - comedy or otherwise

There's something about Mary

Most movies with Jim Carey

Exit Through the Gift Shop - I don't know if this is a hoax or not, and it doesn't matter - it was really funny

Stuff I loathe:

National Lampoon's Vacation movies

Animal House or the college frat/teenagers trying to lose their virginty a la American Pie genre

Most Adam Sandler movies

The Big Lebowski - I don't know why I don't like this one. People that know my taste think I should like it, but I just don't.


John Candy movies

The Austin Powers sequels

South Park, The Simpsons, and Family Guy - yes, I know these aren't movies, but they are comedies, and they most definitely not up my alley

40 Year Old Virgin

The Heartbreak Kid - new version with Ben Stiller

Stuff that I didn't exactly hate, but didn't find particularly funny either:

Napoleon Dynamite
Wayne's World
The First Austin Powers movie
Knocked Up
The Royal Tennenbaums
Most Woody Allen comedies
mahogany: (Default)
As much as I like the idea of government sponsored safety net - I often think the price of having the government as a caregiver is too high. It's not even the fact that we pay for it through our taxes. The money of it through higher taxes isn't even the part that bugs me. I guess it's some residue of my leftist tendencies from my youth, but I do feel responsibility for the wellbeing of others. Over the past few years, I've the increasing belief that the government should not be the caregiver of the people. We give up too much in personal freedoms, and it leads to disasters like this heartbreaking situation:

I don't even think this is a slippery slope. I think what's happening with this case in Sweden is the natural and inevitable result when people give up the personal liberties in exchange for an extensive social safety net.

ETA: This is excellent - LONG, but excellent:
mahogany: (Default)
In my last post, I was freaking out with outrage over the article that I read in the Vancouver Sun, which is a local newspaper.

The entire article had me up in arms, but the part that most upset me was:

During their lifetimes, research suggests, 83 per cent of women with disabilities are sexually abused; 80 per cent of female psychiatric in-patients will be physically or sexually assaulted.

Before they turn 18, 40 to 70 per cent of girls with intellectual disabilities will be sexually exploited.

Read more:

I decided that I need to better educate myself on this issue. I emailed the reporter, and asked her where she obtained her statistics. She was very kind, promptly emailed me back. Her statistics came from a brief filed with the Supreme court of Canada. Here is a link to the document:

Here is how the original info reads:

80% of psychiatric inpatients have experienced physical or sexual abuse in their lifetime.

Does anyone else see a huge difference?
mahogany: (Default)
I was reading this article on how mentally disabled people aren't really able to testify, and thus help prosecute their attackers, and all I can really think about is this line:

During their lifetimes, research suggests, 83 per cent of women with disabilities are sexually abused; 80 per cent of female psychiatric in-patients will be physically or sexually assaulted.

What??? How is it that this is still allowed to happen? What is someone with a mentally ill relative that is either a danger to herself or others supposed to do? Have her committed, so she can be raped? Clearly, we need female only hospitals staffed exclusively by females.

Evidence rules leave disabled Canadian girls open to sex abuse
mahogany: (Default)
I've gone through the current platforms for our four major parties.

Here is how I rated their platforms.

Points with which I strongly agree:

NDP - 23 points
Liberal - 19
Greens - 12
Conservatives 5

Points with which I strongly disagree:

Conservatives - 14
NDP - 10
Greens - 8
Liberals - 7

For me, NDP have a slight edge over the Liberals on their platform. I'm surprised that I feel this way. If you had asked me to order the platforms just by eyeballing, and how I've historically voted, I would have said:


This has been a good exercise because I feel much better about voting NDP this time around. I was already planning to vote NDP (for the first time ever) because I live in a swing riding, and I need to throw my support in the direction of the guy that just barely beat the Conservative candidate the last time around. It's too close a race between these two candidates to risk splintering off part of the vote.

Realistically speaking, Harper will probably get elected again (much to my deep aggravation), but I'm hoping that it will be another minority government.

What I really wish is that we could get rid of this #$$&^*&%$#@ post voting system.
mahogany: (Default)
We have two local newspapers. The Province, which is not much better than a gossip rag, and the Sun, which is slightly better, and provides some actual news of substance. It's not the Globe and Mail, but it's better than nothing. We have a subscription to the Sun.

We also have a federal election on MONDAY. This is a huge deal. This is IMO the most important thing that is facing Canadians at the moment.

This morning's front page had info on the Canucks and the royal wedding. The biggest part was devoted to the Canucks. Whut????!!!! The election related news didn't come until page seven. I would expect this of the Province, but I was hoping for better from the Sun. I think I may have to cough up the extra dough for a Globe and Mail subscription even though in reading the Globe and Mail, one might think that Canada doesn't go any further west than Ontario.
mahogany: (Default)
In the last few weeks I have:

- Gone to a couple of concerts

Hugh Masekela, which was amazing
Salif Keita, which was just okay

- Read about 30 different parenting books. Of these, three were actually worth recommending:

Parenting from the Inside Out by Daniel Siegel
Mindsight also by Daniel Siegel
Connected Parenting by Jennifer Kolari

- Started learning to play the Djembe

- Built the first of a few raised beds in the backyard, and planted some heirloom peas, carrots, marigolds and strawberries.
mahogany: (Default)
Maybe someone that watches NHL hockey can explain the appeal of being a sports fan because honestly, I don't get it. I can understand why people play sports. I can even understand the appeal in watching professional sports (though I think it loses a lot in translation from real life to television). I can even understand the appeal of something like the Olympics or World Cup soccer (football). It's homegrown talent, and people are rooting for their home countries. I get that.

What baffles me is team loyalty to a team that is anything but homegrown talent, that changes from year to year, that buys and sells players, that fires and hires managers and trainers. Other than the name, this isn't the same team that my husband was cheering for ten years ago, or even twenty or thirty years ago. Yes, he has been a Canucks fan for over thirty years.

So, if there is no thread of commonality other than the name, where is the appeal? He can't explain it. He says it's just something you either understand or you don't. And evidently, I don't. Can someone offer me an explanation of being a lifelong, die hard fan of a sports team?
mahogany: (Default)
Many of the stories and shows that I remember loving as a child are disappointing to me as an adult. The ones that are truly outstanding, however, I still love.

There was a two short film that I absolutely loved as a child called the Log Driver's Waltz. I just found it again this morning. It's just as good now, as it was then. Canadians, you should all remember this one. For anyone that hasn't seen it before, enjoy.

mahogany: (Default)
I'm going to try to convince my dh that we should get rid of our lawn. I've never been a fan, and I've decided that this might be the year that we get rid of it.

I'm thinking of overseeding my lawn with a wildflower mix with flowers that are native to the pacific northwest, with some extra fragrant flowers thrown in.

[Poll #1713216]
mahogany: (Default)
Maybe this is another case where I've been living under a rock, and everyone has already read this except for me. I just finished reading The Lost City of Z by David Grann. Wow!

The book flips between between the author's trek into the Amazon to unravel the fate of explorer Percy Fawcett in present day, and the early 1900s to reconstruct Fawcett's quests to chart the Amazon and find El Dorado, or as he called it, the Lost City of Z.

This book is one of those rare books that has instantly altered a part of my worldview. I will think of history and of the Amazon in a completely new light after reading this book.

Get it. Read it. You'll be glad.
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