Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Good News! And A New Home!

The Golden Flask has a new look, a new name, and a brand-new home!!!
Indeed!... CdnReader has moved!!

I do hope you'll all stop in at the housewarming party which is already in progress. I'm waiting for YOU to come by and see the new place! My new address is .... or for instant access, just....


P.S. Don't forget to make the appropriate adjustments to your bookmarks, your blogrolls, and your blogreaders. Thanks!

Here Is a Door (iv)

Here is a door
that leads to an otherworld.
Turn the handle and step through.

In this otherworld,
rabbits climb trees with purple leaves.
Long-bearded storytellers in short green coats
sit on every street corner, playing dominoes,
and gabbling to passersby of whales and wintertales and roquefort cheese.
Eighty-year-old children skip through fields of polka-dot roses.
Skyscrapers are only three and a half inches tall,
right is always the one that's left,
and all downs go up.

Come in and be amazed...
just like Alice.


Here Is a Door (iii)

Here is a door to my world.

Don't mind the broken glass --
the window fell out last week
and I haven't yet repaired it.

Yes, I know some of the stick-on letters
have lost some of their stick-on-iveness
and the sign on the door now says, "C nR ade ."

Don't mind the peeling paint --
I want a new colour
and haven't decided yet which one.

Yes, I know the handle is broken....
the door still works fine
if you just give it a little push.

But please do come in.
I've saved you a seat on the patio
where we can watch the sunset
and catch fireflies.


Here Is a Door (ii)

Here is a door
to my heart...
The key's a bit rusty
and the lock squeals some,
but you will find that it still works.
Please oil the latch, shake the dust
from the welcome mat,
and close the door behind you
when you leave.


Here Is a Door

Here is a door
to the rest of your life
Where do you want it to lead?

Will you turn the handle
and walk through sedately?
Or will you rev up the bike
and smash the door to bits,
as you wave hasta la vista
to your past?
Or will you tiptoe silently
across the threshold,
hoping that no one sees you leave
...or arrive?

Will you stop and look
before proceeding?
Or will you run roughshod
over the cobbled path,
leaving muddy footprints
and scattered laughter
in your wake?

Does the door lead to a place
you've dreamed of going?
Or maybe you're one
who hasn't given one bit of thought to
where you're headed...

Is it a path you dread to take?
Does the darkness frighten you?
Or does your doorway open onto
sunshine and waterfalls?

Here is a door
to the rest of your life.


Listening to: Hung Up (Madonna).
Frustrated about: Maintenance workers' strike. Nine of twelve London Underground lines suspended. No library for me today. :(

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Growing Up in Alabama

#45 - To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
Finished 9/4/07
Rating: 5/5
Total Pages: 281
Reason for Reading: b-a-w ATF list
REVIEW: I can’t believe I’ve never read this book before. Sometimes some of the best ones slip by, I guess. I knew it was about racism, and law, and justice, and community. What I didn’t know is that it’s mostly about childhood and learning. Certainly the trial of Tom Robinson is a pivotal point in the novel, but To Kill a Mockingbird is about so much more. It’s about growing up in Alabama in the 1920s, it’s about the games that children play, and it’s about social conventions and expectations. I love that Lee told the story through the eyes of a child, the precocious and observant nine-year-old Scout. In my opinion, the brilliance of this book is in describing how an adult world impacts on children, what they take in from the world they are traveling through, and how they learn about and react to the experiences of the grown-ups around them. Brilliantly well-told story.

Suffering for Territory

#44 - Suffering for Territory: Race, Place, and Power in Zimbabwe, by Donald S. Moore
Finished 9/3/07
Rating: 3/5
Total Pages: 322
Reason for Reading: Ethnography
FROM BACK COVER: Since 2000, black squatters have forcibly occupied white farms across Zimbabwe, reigniting questions of racialized dispossession, land rights, and legacies of liberation. Donald S. Moore probes these contentious politics by analyzing fierce disputes over territory, sovereignty, and subjection in the country’s eastern highlands. He focuses on poor farmers in Kaerezi who endured colonial evictions from their ancestral land and lived as refugees in Mozambique during Zimbabwe’s guerrilla war. After independence in 1980, Kaerezians returned home to a changed landscape. Postcolonial bureaucrats had converted their land from a white ranch into a state resettlement scheme. Those who defied this new spatial order were threatened with eviction. Moore shows how Kaerezians’ predicaments of place pivot on memories of “suffering for territory,” at once an idiom of identity and entitlement. Combining fine-grained ethnography with innovative theoretical insights, this book illuminates the complex interconnections between local practices of power and the wider forces of colonial rule, nationalist politics, and global discourses of development.

REVIEW: I found this a somewhat difficult read, but the overall message was clear. The Zimbabwean government has gone through numerous phases of how to distribute land, and very few of their strategies have taken into account the cultural and social views of the people who make their living from the land. An old story that continues to repeat itself in many areas of the world. In most regions across the globe, owning land is a source of power and security, and those who maintain control of how land is distributed need to be well-informed about how people use that land.

* * * * *

This is the first of many books piled up in teetering stacks at my elbow.... all background or suggested readings for the major papers I will be writing over the next two to three years -- final-year BSc dissertation this year, hopefully followed by a Masters degree thesis in 2009 or 2010. Why am I reading so far ahead? Because I'm in the midst of writing proposals for my Masters research....proposals that will accompany grad school applications and scholarship submissions....and I have to make it sound like I know what I'm talking about. :P

Listening to: Sparkling (E.O.S.S.), on iTunes Space Station Soma.
Watching: First season of Firefly.

Back in Business, But Warily....

I'm still uncertain about what exactly has happened, and I'm very annoyed about my address being spammed. This whole business about viruses, and trojan horses, and malware, and fake postings, and trackers and hackers -- it all makes me very nervous from time to time. Perhaps, I'm overreacting, but I think it pays to be vigilant. Make sure that your virus protection software is always up-to-date, everyone, and educate yourself about the myriad of ways these crazies are trying to trick people into surreptitious downloads.

Now..... where was I? ..... :)

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Blogging On Hold

Please take the time to read the following article, published 31 Aug 07, on the BBC News website -- Bloggers Battered by Viral Storm. Click here to read the article.

I am concerned enough to suspend my blogging activities here until I have further investigated this issue, particularly since I began receiving spam emails about three weeks ago that perfectly match the criteria stated in this article. How is it that this group has picked up my email address from this blog? I have taken great care to not publicly display my email address here. As a matter of fact, to my knowledge, there is nowhere on my blog that you can click to connect to my email address. This suggests to me that the personal information recorded with Blogger that connects me with my account may have been compromised.

Read the article. Evaluate your own vulnerabilities.

Poe Short Story #1: The Domain of Arnheim

Actually more in the nature of an essay than a story, I thought. Beautifully written. Puts forth the premise that what we create artistically -- whether paintings, or poetry, or music, or even gardens -- is in fact more beautiful and more perfect than nature itself. The latter third or so of the story is a description of a fantasy landscape created by the main character, who inherited 450 million pounds and this is how he decides to spend it. Certainly not a Poe story of darkness and murder and things-that-go-bump-in-the-night, as we might expect, but I quite enjoyed it regardless.

A passage worth thinking about: "He admitted but four elementary principles, or more strictly, conditions of bliss. That which he considered chief was (strange to say!) the simple and purely physical one of free exercise in the open air. "The health," he said, "attainable by other means is scarcely worth the name." He instanced the ecstasies of the fox-hunter, and pointed to the tillers of the earth, the only people who, as a class, can be fairly considered happier than others. His second condition was the love of woman. His third, and most difficult of realization, was the contempt of ambition. His fourth was an object of unceasing pursuit; and he held that, other things being equal, the extent of attainable happiness was in proportion to the spirituality of this object."

Read on-line at The Literature Network.