July 2012

 

Serendipity:

Serendipity detail

(So long, and thanks for all the bagels)

July 31, 2012, OTTAWA — As July comes to a close, so too does my tenure in Ottawa's storied Glebe. Tomorrow, I meet with our new landlord to pick up the keys. Saturday, we pack up our things and move uptown, into the very heart of our nation's capital.

Sometime last week, I decided to test out the new bus route to the airport (hint: it doesn't require a transfer and the bus comes to within a few blocks of our home-to-be). The bus to work was running late but the trip was otherwise uneventful. The ride back, on the other hand, made my heart go boop-oop-a-doop.

As the 97 crosses over the Rideau Canal one looks out upon a skyline that actually looks like that of a city, not of a town with a thyroid problem.

Who knew? In Ottawa there are towers of glass and concrete canyons. It's true, the towers are not that high and there aren't that many of them; nor are the canyons all that deep. But they exist, and it thrilled me to know I would be once again living in an area I can honestly call urban.

* * *

Which is not to say I won't miss the Glebe. I will. I'll miss the fearless cats. I'll miss the quiet streets and their stately arboreal honour guards. I'll miss Kettleman's Bagel Co. and — maybe more in theory than in practice — I'll miss having a sidewalk and driveway to clear of snow.

And so, just because it happened and I like the accidental results, I will say a cyber farewell to the old neighbourhood with a photo I've entitled Serendipity. I took it last week, the day I gave up on playing soccer in the rain and have (finally) decided that I like it quite a lot.

It might seem strange to commemorate a time of drought with a photo of a downpour, but since I am in fact commemorating a time of change — of giving up and taking on, of shedding and growing, of joys to come and regrets past — perhaps the apparent contradiction is a good thing. If there is anything at all consistent about life, it lies in its inconsistency.

Serendipity

Click the picture to embiggen, if you're of a mind to.

_______

Awards among the shallows:


 

Vernor Vinge and why the golden age of science fiction is still twelve

July 31, 2012, OTTAWA — I really ought to know better by now. It doesn't matter whether an award is given out by fans or by peers, critics or the general public, whether the criteria is ostensibly "best" this or "favourite" that.

Awards are a crap shoot, influenced by fashions, by lobbying and by plain old bad taste.

That's right, I said it. Sometimes an award is given out to a book (or a movie, or a play, or a poem — the list is as endless as variations in the arts) that simply doesn't deserve it. That doesn't even merit being on the short-list in the first place.

Let me tell you about Vernor Vinge and why the golden age of science fiction is still 12.

_______

So Breaking Bad it's good

July 16, 2012, OTTAWA — I can't remember the last time I wrote a preview of some popular entertainment. I'm tempted to say "never", but that's a hell of a long time.

That said, I guess I'm kind of offering a preview of the 5th season of Breaking Bad, by way of a very (for me: circa 800 words) brief review of its first four.

I feel kind of dirty for so looking forward to last night's episode (no, I've not yet watched it), but looking forward to it I am. Breaking Bad is an awesome guilty pleasure.

The Wire meets Wile E. Coyote (not much in the way of spoilers).

Post-script, July 27, 2012: I have now seen the first two episodes and have not been disappointed. That said, the tone seems to have shifted, with the emphasis on Walter White's moral degradation, even as his tangible powers grow. For him, at least, this can't end well. For us? Well, we can but wait and see.

_______

Girls gone funny

July 9, 2012, OTTAWA — The older I get, the less patience I have for ideologues of any description, whether of the right or of the left.

No matter what their intentions — whether it is to combat racism or to combat other races — anyone who believes there is but One True Way to do things, or think about things, has the soul of a fascist.

And so, rather than just recommending you rent or otherwise get a-hold of the now-completed first season of Lena Dunham's Girls, I found myself struggling with people who seem to seriously believe that cliquish exclusion and nepotism is worse than the Holocaust.

My essay is a long one, so I'll put it plainly here. I enjoyed Girls an awful lot and eagerly await its second season. Dunham is an excellent young writer and her show is an excellent professional debut — even if its principals are all privileged white people.

Am I blind to my own privilege as a white guy? As I said, my review is a long one, but I welcome your comments. Also, please note: it is not safe for work! You've been warned. Click here for Privilege and prejudice: The unbearable whiteness of being Lena Dunham.

_______

Spread the word!