Tuesday, April 23, 2013
"Imagine there's no heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people living for today
Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people living life in peace" - John Lennon - Imagine
There was a time when I thought this song was terrible. Imagine there's no heaven? "What a stupid thing to imagine!" my upbringing would assert. The idea of heaven is a good thing, isn't it?
Questioning religion and the stories that were impressioned upon me as I grew up can be difficult. Even as I write this post, I'm conflicted by the thought of who might be reading it and the thoughts they might conjure up. Although examining what I believe is not new to me, I still feel a sense of rebellion when I question belief. My mind tends to replay images of religious leaders saying things like "who are we to question the mind of God?". If God did created me, then why would he create me to question these things? I believe it's crucial to be curious.
Imagine was recorded in 1971 and based on the 1963 poem, Cloud Poem, by Yoko Ono:
"Imagine the clouds dripping.
Dig a hole in your garden to
put them in."
The song was on the Clear Channel's "do not play" list following the September 11th attacks in 2001. Four years later, The CBC named Imagine the Number One Song of the Last 100 years, as voted by listeners. What is it about this song that would cause some people to ban it and others to praise it? In an interview, Lennon suggested the message is clear: "Give peace a chance". British newspaper columnist Edward Heathcoat Amory wrote in an article in the Daily Mail that "Imagine is no hymn to peace, but a deliberate exercise in nihilistic, revolutionary propaganda, the work of a man who was as deeply cynical about his admiring public as they are credulous about him.". The interesting thing about credulous admirers is that churches are full of them. Followers who makes celebrities of popes, pastors, worship leaders and the like. Was Lennon's line, "imagine no religion", about religion as a whole?
The idea of heaven can be a source of comfort. It's thought of as a place people want to go or believe their loved one's will go when they die. A place where sin, shame, pain and sadness won't even be a memory. Hell on the other hand, is thought of as a place where enemies will go. A place where those who don't accept certain beliefs, condone a certain lifestyle or believe in something else will go. It's the support and desire to impose beliefs that polarize people, feeding perpetuation of conflict and keeping people who would otherwise be at peace, apart.
Is Lennon's three minute attempt to challenge the world with the idea of abolishing their man-made religions and the strife born between them admirable? If people were able to dream up a system of beliefs (some of those less than 200 years ago), why can't they just see them as the fiction they most like are? If it were possible, would the world, as Lennon sang, "live as one"? Like the existence of heaven and hell, we might never know.
Wednesday, April 10, 2013
I lived in my parents basement for most of my adolescent life there and was lucky enough to get all of the old stereo gear that my dad no longer used. He is a bit of an audiophile, and updates his speakers and amplifiers every few years. I remember using a monster Dynaco 400 watt stereo amp that my dad built with its own preamp and a CD player. Connected to the amp were two humungous tower speakers with 15" woofers and horn tweeters. People reading this who were born after 1990 probably won't ever experience the crisp sonic piercing of a horn tweeter at home, but I can tell you it was like a concert downstairs every day. The sublime escape an amazing sound system can actualize is one of the treasures technology has blessed us with, and subsequently has solidified by love of music and admiration of those who create the best of it.
When I first went to college in 1998, I met Kris. We were both enrolled in the Electronics Engineering Technology program at SAIT and shared common interests in music and culture. We both dabbled in playing various instruments and I remember going to a friend's basement with him for a jam session. If my memory serves me right, the song Starman was playing when we walked in. It wasn't immediately obvious to me who was singing, but I remember Kris saying "Bowie". Mind blown. I went to the record store soon after, looked in the Bowie section and discovered a gold mine that I never knew existed before Earthling. Bowie got another adoring fan, and a couple decades after the release of songs like Space Oddity, Five Years and the Man Who Sold the World.
The Next Day, his first studio album in a decade. Although it has received mixed reviews, I really like the album. The song The Stars (Are Out Tonight) is an honest interpretation of the role celebrities play in our culture and the video with Tilda Swinton is captivating. I like to think Bowie is revealing a small glimpse into his life with these songs and if you listen really closely, you might even make out a few secrets. Review and thoughts on this latest release aside, what is clear is that Bowie still carries the charisma, charm, creativity and genius that has been unambiguous since the days of Ziggy Stardust.
Lately I've been thinking to myself, I hope I'm half as cool as that when I'm 66.
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
- Pay attention. I immediately thought of the people I occasionally interact with on social media who have an opinion based on a headline. Read the story.
- Get involved. It’s not enough to report disdain on your Facebook or Twitter account. Go to a meeting, or sign a petition.
- Take a stand. It's not a lot of effort or cost to make a sign stating your position.
- Let the people in charge know you want change.
Friday, January 18, 2013
One little circle with a blue plus sign in it.
Monday, October 15, 2012
While watching the sky dive on YouTube, I took screen shots to capture the moments. Below are snapshots of the historic jump.
Friday, June 29, 2012
Feel free to comment on the content of the podcast and add any information on wine tasting that could further the conversation.
Monday, June 4, 2012
After chicken, my dad wanted to show me the new parking garage at SAIT. I went to SAIT over a decade ago and it looks like they've made some amazing changes since I roamed the campus. What they did here was built a parking garage on a soccer field and then turned the roof of it back into a soccer field. The outside is covered with giant engineered plates that have holes punched in them, bent at different angles to produce a picture of clouds. You can see the soccer net bordering the top of the parkade.
Then it was bike shopping time because mom wanted a new bike for cruising. It took a few hours and two stores, but eventually Bow Cycle had the perfect ride.
They also had unicycles.
After that, we went to my Uncle Derrick and Aunt Mardo's place for a visit and huge feast. And I mean huge feast. I also got to see the new house they're building in Bear's Paw which is far from finished, but will be amazing when it's done.
After publishing another Two Minute Tech Trip this morning, dad and I attacked the renos in the first bathroom and got the tub in, plumbing checked and walls ready for tile!
Sunday, June 3, 2012
We managed to plumb in the guts for the new tub and faucet in the first bathroom; a task that consumed as much time figuring out how to make everything fit as it did fitting them. I'd like to think I'm versed in plumbing, but there's always a little relearning that has to happen when it's been a while. I hope all the connections hold.
Saturday, June 2, 2012
On a normal day I'd stop for a jolt of dark roast, but my brain (still somewhat hazy from getting up way too early and suffering the lag from few sprits from the night before) was filled with the excitement and anticipation of seeing my dad and getting down to the business of scoping out what's new in the place where I grew up.
It's awesome how much Calgary and Airdrie have progressed in the time since my true love and I left to live in London. Leaving the airport terminal, there seemed like there were enough cranes in the area to par Dubai and the familiar roads from the airport have subtle changes that suggest this place is always getting better.
Scooter wasn't there and for the rest of the day her memory would pop into my mind as I half expected her to come around a corner or let out a sharp bark by the back door. The second thing I noticed was that my parents keep an extremely clean and tidy house; a trait that I'll admit I only half inherited. I'm here to help my dad renovate two bathrooms and install a new back door. It was really fun to unpack my luggage, abandon any notion of getting to work and set up my video equipment to produce my Two Minute Tech Trip's while I'm here. The support and interest from my dad as I pursue my career in broadcasting really means the world to me.
We eventually got started on the renovations and I'm optimistic the labourious amount of work ahead of us will be shadowed by the memories we'll create as we share in the frustrations of solving problems and later revel in the satisfaction of finishing up. And I know that might sound cliché, but that's okay with me.
Friday, April 27, 2012
Here's a flashback to 1902:
I have also set up a Two Minute Tech Trip page on Facebook for anyone who is interested.
Friday, April 13, 2012
Wednesday, April 4, 2012
Artists, writers and musicians who followed their hearts, explored the human condition, and questioned social norms defined Paris in the 1920’s. In Woody Allen’s latest film, Midnight in Paris, the main character, Gil (Owen Wilson), is a Hollywood screenplay writer who wants to be a novelist. The opening of the movie is a collection of shots of the Paris that tourists love. The cobble stone streets, the old architecture that was too beautiful to become suffrage to the destruction of World War II. Si tu vois ma mère plays in the background, and although the scenes are modern, the audience gets a taste of a different time. Gil believes that his life would be better if he had lived to write while living among the likes of Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali. In this film Allen plays with time travel, but doesn’t deviate from his staple obsession with love. Gil, like many of Allen’s characters, was engaged to Inez (Rachel McAdams). Through his venturing back and forth between Paris in the 1920’s and today, Gil falls in love with Adriana (Marion Cotillard). Even though the audience knows Gil is engaged, the enchantment seduces them to embrace the romance. Any hints of disapproval of Gil’s deviation from Inez are quickly dissolved when it is learned that Inez was having an affair with the pedantic character in the film, Paul (Michael Sheen). By the end of the film, Gil finds his modern day Adriana with Gabrielle (Léa Seydoux) who shares his love for Paris in the rain.
With credit to almost fifty films, Woody Allen has mastered the art of writing and directing films. Many critics are stuck on the notion that he has to live up to the genius and success of Annie Hall. Midnight in Paris attracted rave reviews and won the Oscar for best original screenplay last year. Allen’s absence from the Academy Awards would suggest that he’s not in it to win it, but satisfied with writing and directing for the love of writing and directing. When Annie Hall was up for Academy Awards, Allen declined to attend because it was on a Monday and he played jazz clarinet at a club on Monday nights. Like a diary, Allen’s films put the experiences of love and relationships under the microscope and explore the meaning of existence. There is a reoccurring theme of love, art and infidelity with existential ideas and questions woven in to give the audience a glimpse into the mind of Woody Allen. His contribution to the film community and cinematic culture is invaluable. With the release of another film this year, To Rome with Love, the world will get to enjoy, yet, another helping of this wonderful auteur.
Friday, February 3, 2012
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
Going to Victoria also presented an opportunity to see my parents and visit my true love's grandma.
Even my sister made it out which I know made my parents really happy that we were all together. Sappy.
I got into college. It was pretty exciting to get that piece of mail, but the sudden reality of making the choice to accept the offer of admission, pay the tuition and leave work life behind seemed a lot heavier than anticipated. When you become accustomed to a lifestyle, sorting out the pros and cons of the situation feels like walking a tight rope and former thoughts that seemed black and white became a strange shade of grey.
I was born on Canada day. When I was a child, the city I lived in hosted a Canada day parade and I was convinced that it was for me. Perhaps I can contribute an admission of slight narcissism to this annual occurrence. For my birthday in 2011, I got much more than a parade. My true love and I flew to my new favourite place on earth: Paris, France. If you've read my blog before, it's obvious that I was swept away by the ambiance and magic of this great city. Most of me hopes to one day call Paris home. I've even been dedicating time in the last two weeks to actually learning French. Oui.
My true love and I welcomed 2012 in style by taking a trip to the Dominican Republic. We met up with my true love's dad and his girlfriend for a week of golf, beaches, surfing and great food.
2011 was definitely a year of immense change for me. I am so grateful for friends and family that give nothing but support and encouragement. I am most grateful for my true love who continues to be extraordinarily brave, genuine and giving as we live out life's adventures together.