3/31/2005

It only took

It only took me two days but I finally got the link to my store front on Lulu.com to work. I can hear the laughter. They spell it out for you, how easier can it get. Well first I had to find the place in settings to show that piece of code in my template, then I had to learn how to read. Yep, learn how to read instructions. Sometimes I get overexcited and miss bits, bits that turn out to be important. Like which way the tag is supposed to go. SHAMELESS BEGGING TIME!!! My paypal account is stuck at $8.00 and it won't let me take the money out into my greedy little hands until it hits $10.00, so please buy something, anything for $2.00 or more. Hey you may even like it. (smug note: I couldn't get the bold to shut off and was getting pissed when I said to myself why not see if you can do it in the edit HTML tab above, and lo and behold I was able. Will wonders never cease) Me and society in a microcosm. I know I've made clear that I'm at odds with the way mainstream minds but I'd thought you may like an example of what it is your dealing with when you come to this page. Over Easter weekend in Kingston Ontario(that's March 25th -27th) we had a perticurlarly nasty incident. On Friday a young man had his throat cut in a bar, and he subsequently died. He was from a fairly affluent sub-burb, high school and local University football star so the outrage was quick and loud. "Brutal and cowardly" were the words used by the police officer leading the investigation on the day after. Initial word was that they were looking to charge someone with first degree murder and the public was warned the man was armed and dangerous. Then we were deluged with praises for the young man: fine athlete, team leader, admired by his friends and quotes about his playing ability. Phrases like promising future cut off before it could start. So all set up like a brutal unprovoked murder that shocks and apalls: A community saddened etc. But buried in the stories details are revealed. One the suspect turned himself in the next day and the charge has been dropped to 2nd degree murder(In Canada we, thank everything, do not have the death penalty, but the distinction between 1st and 2nd degree murders is premeditation and ten years in jail)Two the murder weapon was found in the immediate area of the crime scene and the police aren't revealing its nature which raises questions about what whether the accused was armed or merely grabbed a knife up off a table.(the bar in question does serve food and had lots of cutlery available. Third the bar in question is known for its disposition for fights fueled by alcohol. Each summer there is at least one major altercation outside or inside the bar. When close to a thousand people are packed into a place and large amounts of alcohol are consumed it doesn't take much of a match to set off a fire. Then there are the circumstances, which are just starting to come to light and right now its impossible to know how much credence to place on the stories that are circulating, but they are not painting the victim in a very good light. It seems he may have been threatening the accused's girlfriend with a beating. Now here's where my personal bias comes into play. First I've looked at pictures of both men in the papers, and of the two the one who feels the most threatening is the dead football player. Having been the receiving end of verbal abuse by drunk obnoxious jocks many times and knowing their propensity for violence, maybe I'm colouring my views, but still he is a very scary and intimidating man. If I felt he was threatening my wife I don't know how I would react. The accused's(what I can only assume is a mug shot) picture looks a lot less threatening. I don't feel threatened at all. Now comes the final bit. The dead man is white and the culprit black. Oops a nice white high school and university football hero killed by an big city out of town black man. When I moved to Kingston form Toronto(one of the most racially divers cities in the world) the first thing I noticed was the almost complete absence of colour. Canada has always prided itself as not having the race issues of the United States, but the reason for that is simple, we have far less people of colour up here, save a couple of major metropolitan centres. Instead of overt racism we get it doesn't exist because they don't exist. The reality is that we are just a lot more genteel and covert. (My upper middle-class mother in law from small town eastern Ontario still uses Jewed to describe be cheated with out noticing that she saying anything wrong) Its the old liberal I've got nothing against them but not in my neighborhood attitude. The further you get from the major centres the more prevalent it gets. I guess what I'm leading up to with this is the possibility of racism being part of the mix can't be ignored. No one deserves to have their throat slit and the grief of the young man's family and friends can not be denied, but it also seems that everyone has decided that he is some innocent victim of a dastardly persons actions before we even know circumstances of the incident. When ever I hear someone being praised to that extent I begin to wonder if they ever even used to go to the bathroom. I probably wouldn't be very well liked in my community for these types of comments but when I hear prejudicing to the extent that has happened in this case, it gets my back up. gypsyman oh yeah I don't think you'll being seeing my picture anytime soon, I can't be bothered downloading more software, lazy sod huh. I'll try to set up a web page somewhere else and link you to images that are important to me.

3/30/2005

Feel Like a Coward

I feel like a coward. That's not something I normally feel. But every so often I hear about somebody, or something and I wonder"could I do that" I'll be specific. I was listening to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation(C.B.C) interviewing a woman in Zimbabwe just a few minutes ago. Jenny Williams I believe her name was. She's the head of a human rights group in that country call Woman of Zimbabwe Rise Up(I hope I'm getting this right) The host of the show I was listening to was interviewing her about the forthcoming elections in her country(they will be held March 31st 2005) For those of you who don't know Zimbabwe is the former Rhodesia, which was up until 1980 ruled by its white minority. Robert Mugabee(sp) led a successful revolt and promised liberation for the masses. Twenty five years later he now rules the country with an iron fist. Poverty is rampant, decease flourishes(1 in 3 Zimbabwian is H.I.V. positive) and their future is bleak. Political opposition and the press are forcefully suppressed and elections are a fraud. As most governments refuse to endorse the current regime foreign aid is non existent and the countries fortunes continue to spiral downwards. Mugabee has promised that these elections will be open and fair, and there are some signs that steps have been taken in this direction. Overt violence against opposition parties has been non-existent, and political opponents have been allowed to openly campaign for the first time. But covertly the threats are still there. The media are still tightly controlled by the rulers, the voters list contains a million names which are either dead or duplicates, the opposition has no access to electronic versions of the list and has been forced to go door to door in order to discern who is actually entitled to vote, and finally the president himself has branded any who run against him as traitors to Zimbabwe. Against this background Ms. Williams and her people stage non-violent protests, sit-ins and demonstrations, work to educate people about their rights all against the wishes of the government. When asked about if the atmosphere of this election differed then the last ones, she replied that for the political parties maybe, but for activists like herself no. Laughingly she said she had not been able to go home for a month because of fear of arrest. I live in such a different world, I worry about whether or not I can afford things, not meals. I have food, shelter, ready medical attention. I never have to fear that expressing my opinions will result in me disappearing with no one knowing where I've gone to.(At least not yet, but here in Canada I feel quite safe, no too much further south I'd be starting to worry) Yet these people don't seem to think of themselves as doing anything special. They see a need and they fill it. They see a problem and they try and fix it no matter the danger to themselves. Whether in Zimbabwe or elsewhere these people put me to shame. Because honestly I don't know how I would do in those situations. One final note about these soldiers of freedom. Have you ever noticed how the bravest and humblest of them are almost always women, and how that when you hear them speak they sound just like you and me and not like a politician. But the majority of men seem to always have an agenda that they don't want you to know about in the same situation. Something to think about and remember. If you pray, maybe remember these people in your thoughts, they are our best hope. gypsyman

Hmmm?

Second day jinx. So the initial excitement has worn off and now I have to keep up the momentum of writing a blog, find topics etc. I always seem to have so much to say about anything that shouldn't be so hard. I'm what some people would refer to as an opinionated bastard! Be that as it may I have been known to speak my mind on occasion. My only difficulty is trying to stay on topic, I could start off talking about one thing and suddenly veer way over somewhere else. I apologize to those of you looking for order and symmetry because that won't be here. Things pop into my mind and drift out the end of my fingers onto the page. I don't have any particular flea in my ear today so I'd thought what I 'd do is try and tie up a few loose ends that might have been left dangling from my first posting,(if anyone is out there and caring; talk about writing in a vacuum; assuming you have an audience you natter away when it could end up your just another guy off his meds wandering down the street barking in the wind to yourself) The address(not addy: I hate this goddamned internet speak. Its cutesy, lazy, and I think most people use it because it makes them feel like their in some special club with its own unique language when it just sounds like so much airheaded valleyspeak)((How many people did I just offend, probably(((not prolly you morons)))no one as whose reading this anyway so I can do what I want))pippensqueak dot whatever is in reference to one of my cats. As is the case most often the address I wanted wasn't available (leapinthedark)so I needed to come up with something else. Pippen is the name of one of our cats. He is long and skinny except for his barrel chest and tummy. He has also never really learned how to make any other noises aside from a series of squeaks, mostly in a really high register. I think he also has to be one of the most affectionate and happy little kitties I have ever met.(I turn into big sentimental softy when talking about my cats, lose all detachment, and can get quite nauseating) I write. But its more then that. Words are important to me. They communicate ideas, thought, emotions, whatever. They fit into patterns: one way there a poem another a story. They can be used for purposes nefarious and good. Somehow or other you can put them into other people's mouths or say something in your own, you can search for the right one or run out of them, but they are always there. Every language has them, no matter the construct. By the way we use words we are known. You can tell a lot about a person,education, economical background, but even more then that their character. When you meet someone for the first time play a game. What are they trying to do with their words? Are they just talking or are they doing something else. My wife tells me that I have good instincts when it comes to judging people, but its because I listen to what the words are telling me, not what the person is saying. Listen behind the words. Well like I said I write and I have some stuff for sale somewhere else on the web(lulu.com.) A small book of poetry, a couple of opinion pieces, a review of a book of Vigo Mortensen(ironical to this point the only thing that's sold, talk about celebrity groupies)and excerpts from the novel I'm currently working on(I'll deal with that on a separate posting) I need to do some updating, I've been selling the novel in serial form and need to post a bunch of chapters(not that anyone seems to be waiting for any of them with baited breath) but it makes me feel like I'm accomplishing something. I'm going to try and download Hello! and add some photo's to this post and my profile, so I'll stop for now. Wish me luck. I tend to get a little impatient with new software. Oh yeah I'll see about putting my Lulu.com site in the links section of my blog. cheers gypsyman

3/29/2005

Welcome

Hey there and welcome world to my little contribution to the noise and convincing that permeate the Ethernet. This will be brief as I hear my wife stirring and so will have to surrender the computer soon, so I'll just offer an explanatory note about the title. A leap in the dark is an act of blind faith, trusting your judgment and instincts that whatever it is your about to do is right and that your not going to end up up to your ankles in dung. Since in my opinion that's what the whole world needs to do right now in order to salvage itself(take a flying leap in any direction but the one we're heading in cause frankly it really can't get much worse) I figure its a good starting point for the topics of conversation, rants and diatribes you will be subjected to when wandering carelessly across the path of my guidance system. Which leads nicely into the second reason for my choice of title. For lack of a better word I would be considered alternative, outside of the norm if you would. In that context I've come into contact with various folk who preach various things concerning the healing of oneself and the world. Too many of these seem preoccupied with "going to the light" or imploring me to "come to the light" Now since I have no intention of leaving this plane of existence any time soon I've failed to see the purpose in their proposed journeys. At best it seems to me just another way of ignoring your own and the worlds problems. If your focus is primarily on light how can you deal with the shadows that darken your own soul and those of the earth. Hence a leap into the dark: the darkness within and without. Contrary to what more an more people seem to feel there are no guardian angels who are set to deliver us from ourselves. That work is our own. The longest and hardest leap you'll ever have to make is the one into the unknown of yourself. Its a dark and lonely cave, but well worth the journey. Lest you feel that I'm just some cynical new age bashing politico non spiritual type I will ease your minds somewhat by tell you that I'm a Reiki master in the Usi-Tibetan traditions well as being a registered Karuna Reiki Teacher. These are tools on the journey not the answer, and it would be well for more of us to start thinking that way. bye for now Gypsyman