frandroid: A large sandworm in front of the fremen invoking him (Great Worm)
(aka post-expozine post, or expozine post-mortem, etc.)

So it's 4am and I have to get up at 7:30 to return the rental car, or else risk incurring a parking ticket at 8am. But I'm wired up and I can't sleep. Late coffee, driving for 6 hours straight and an awesome weekend all weigh on my mind. Then I realized that I was hungry. So now I'm eating Firoza's crazy spicy chora nu batata kale gaajar.

I had a wicked time at Expozine, first hanging out with my table neighbour Élizabeth Robert ([twitter.com profile] nochesdepoesia), an awesome publisher and translator. She's a wild poetry lover and promoter. From her I bought my first Sheri-D Wilson book, Goddess: Gone Fishing for a Map of the Universe. Seriously, do not stop; run and buy this book. I almost never buy poetry, and I bought this after reading one page. This is more spoken-word put to print than classical verse, but man. Really excited.

I also bought Sherwin Tjia's pick-your-own-plot book (damn you SJG! unleash thy copyrites!), where you are a cat. I will read it eventually and report back on it. Then I bought David Turgeon (Eerie)'s first novel, Les Bases Secrètes, as well as a bloody $40 Muse Récursive megabook. Ugh my wallet.

Élizabeth told me a fair bit about Barbancourt, a Haitian rum that's just recently been unbanned in Canada. She even went to pick up a bottle for me at the SAQ.

I got to check out the Drawn & Quarterly bookstore for the first time, but since it took us 20 minutes to find parking around there, we got in before it 5 minutes before closing. Still managed to snag a Seth and a Joe Sacco, though. (Almost bought Guy Delisle's Jérusalem, but it seems rather naïve. Has anyone with a clue about Palestine read it?)

I also met tons of zinesters and friends, old friends from my days at Food Not Bombs in Québec City in particular. Bought some interesting-looking zines, although I didn't really fall in love with anything.

Then as usual, my carpool finished the fair having dinner at Patati Patata, and then we had some good fun on the drive home.

Like someone said, Expozine is like Christmas for us. It was so good for me. Wee! So happy.
frandroid: "The Tentacle goes where?" in front of Buffy and Willow looking at a computer monitor (tentacle)
(Lots of my blog writing happens in Friends' journals, often in locked entries... I'll repost some of it here. I don't intend on linking to or revealing which journal the discussion comes from unless the person subsequently provides permission...)
(The conversation was about whether zoos and aquaria serve an educational purpose, and how these institutions don't actually provide much "education", captions or specific information about their captivesthe animals on display)

That makes some sense for art, because you don't go see art to be educated, not in an academic way, per se. It's another game...

If the intent of vivaria is to educate, well, that doesn't happen in a vacuum now, does it? I don't know of many business schools where they just park you in front of a stock ticker and say "well, we don't want to direct their learning about the stock market..." A large part of education happens with words.

I think people go to museums and vivaria to learn a little bit, or at least they tell that to themselves. But education, learning is work, and most people don't go to these places to work, they go there to be entertained, even if it's somewhat educational entertainment, just like watch National Geographic shows about African wildlife are a lot more about entertainment than education.

And yet. Having grown up at the edge of suburbia and the countryside, having spent my youth sport fishing (!) in various provincial parks and roaming around the patch of forest we own, I think there's something fundamental about being in contact with nature, and vivaria is one place where it happens, because you don't actually see many animal species when walking around in a forest, it's mostly about the flora. I just think that most zoos are not set to encourage that kind of phenomenological learning experience, keeping animals behind bars, separating them from the crowd. I many cases it's necessary, but not always, not most of the time.

The Montréal Biodôme is one cool vivaria; they have 4 "ecosystems" which you walk through on a ramp. It's a lot less like a zoo; in some places the ramp is also walled (3 to 4 feet high) or flies over the display, to keep the animals away (in the tropical exhibit, in particular, where they have a small croc or alligator), but it's a lot more immersive than your traditional zoo. In Saint-Félicien, a few hours north of Québec City, they have a wilderness park where the visitors get in a cage and are driven through the park, where large animals roam "free". So zoos could do a better job, than they are doing most of the time, for sure.

A friend of mine, the meat-eating animal-rights lover, thinks zoos should be banned. As a veg*n with an ambivalent relationship to the concept of animal "rights", having grown up somewhat close to nature, I disagree... I still think we should be shaken out of our urban, sanitized experiences to be reminded of where we came from and who are our brethren. I think vivaria can fulfil part of that purpose.
frandroid: YPG logo, Syrian Kurdish defense forces (Default)
Alright, we have a carpool to Montréal for the Anarchist bookfair and we're only three people right now, after someone dropped off... We could use one or two more bodies. We're coming back either Monday during the day or Tuesday night. I have a preference for the latter but we'll see what happens. :) Including gas, I'm estimating a cost of $50 if we're four, or $40 if we're five people. Please save me from having to drag strangers off Craigslist into my rental :P
frandroid: A large sandworm in front of the fremen invoking him (great worm)
Is anyone else on my list going to Expozine? I got a ride to get there, but I still haven't secured my way back on Sunday night. There's some 15 seater van that does the trip, but I'd rather ride in a car.
frandroid: camilo cienfuegos in a broad-rimmed hat (cuba)
Les jeunes militants voulaient dénoncer la FTQ
Changer le monde

So it turns out that the door of the occupied office was cut open with a circular saw, not a chain saw. Heh. The protesters were not anarchists, but communists. They were protesting the Quebec Federation of Labour (FTQ)'s own hand in capitalism and imperialism, including its "Solidarity Fund" which is an investment fund that the union owns and manages. They say that they're not part of an established group, but rather an ephemeral grouping, coming together for this occupation.

Spontaneous actions are good, sometimes they're the sparkler the ignites bigger things, but organization is even better since it can provide a follow-up. Since they are now not entangled in the legal system (a blessing of this forceful "in-house" ejection), they are free to plan some other actions now, possibly with another group...
frandroid: YPG logo, Syrian Kurdish defense forces (Default)
Current Québec election standings, as we speak:
ADQ 47
Liberals 45
PQ 32
Québec Solidaire was said to be ahead in one riding earlier tonight, as well.

These are preliminary scores, there are many more votes to be counted.

For those not keeping the score, there hasn't been a right-wing government in Québec since 1959. Of course this will finish in a minority, so it's not as bad. But Dumont has like, 5 "ministrables" at most. Also, as the outgoing head of government, Charest can ask the Lt.-Governor to continue to government, if he can hold the confidence of Parliament.
Keep your eyes peeled.

ETA: The Liberals finished on top. Phew. This is the beginning of the end for separatists in Québec. If the Liberals manage to move a bit left, they might squeeze the PQ off the scene in a few elections.

A lot of people are thinking that this bodes well for a federal spring election for Harper. I'm not quite so sure, but the prospect frightens me a lot. But the politics of individualism have finally caught up with Québec.

Amir Khadir and Françoise David almost won for Québec Solidaire. That's some pressure on the left for the PQ there. Next time around, if the PQ is down in the polls, some lefties my skip on the strategic voting and vote with their heart.

ETA2: I've been invited to the La Presse examination for their summer internship!! Fingers crossed.

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frandroid: YPG logo, Syrian Kurdish defense forces (Default)
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