Friday, May 21, 2010

Huh. Eee!

Lately, this blog has spent far too much time ranting about society and Christianity. I'm's been a stressful month. (I blame society. And Jesus.)

To help rectify this imbalance, I present...Puppies!

(Note: My puppies are amazing. I know most puppy owners must think this...BUT my puppies are so amazing that they're featured on no less than two different corporate websites to which we have only a passing affiliation. For serious.)


Yup. Those are my little muffins, offering free advertising with their sad, terrified faces, entirely without my permission...though I probably would have given it, anyways. (Note: in the background of Toby's picture, which was taken just after he was run over by a rogue SUV, you can see an X-ray of his abdomen.)

So...I proudly present: Puppy Profiles!!

Puppy Name: Toby
Greatest Goal in Life: Froggy!
Likes: Marshmallows, cheesecake, squeaky toys, toy frog
Dislikes: Feelings of abandonment, fear of losing toy frog
Can often be seen: Holding a frog in his mouth
Also: Tentatively approaching strangers for affection, fleeing when they try to pet him
Resembles: A small sheep or a disembodied mustache

Puppy Name: Mustard
Greatest Goal in Life: To find dead things and roll in them
Likes: Belly rubs, running merrily through tall grass
Dislikes: Things with wheels
Can often be seen: Devotedly following Toby and mum, or both at once
Also: Picking fights with dogs who could easily eat him
Resembles: A very very small deerhound or a fast moving, terrifying skunk

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Moderate Schmoderate

Moderation may well be the devil’s plaything.

In a world full of examples of extremists gone too far, moderation often seems like the sensible, sophisticated alternative. Rarely does a moderate lifestyle lead to suicide bombings, disowning bicurious children, or any acts which cause rabid foaming at the mouth. It avoids both obesity and anorexia. It’s not an achiever, moderation, but gosh darn it, it lives a good and descent life the best it can, and in the end, it gets the job done.

Or so we like to think.

The issue of moderation came up during a discussion of religion. And let’s be clear - when I say ‘religion,’ I’m mostly talking about Christianity, because that seems to be the only religion I know enough to hate. As a proudly branded “atheist who may or may not still sort of believe in God” (yes, we exist, and we’re very, very confused people), I’ve come to regard religion as kind of a bad thing, akin to recreational narcotics. I wouldn’t fault any individual for finding comfort in their’s a crappy life and sometimes it's nice to think that there’s a maleficent super-powered deity in the sky. I get it. But the fact of the matter’s made up. It’s a bunch of lies. It’s a system invented in order to subjugate citizens and keep them in line while creating unbalanced power structures which have led to countless abuses, most often of women and children, but also entire races and civilizations.

Many of these acts were committed by’s true. But so, so many religious atrocities were committed by decent, likeable people - people like me.

Take missionaries, for example, or the residential school system. Had I existed a hundred or two hundred years ago, and through the power of hypotheticals magically retained my own quirks and interests, I wouldn’t be working with homeless Vancouverites in a psychosocially-founded mental health centre. I’d be working with heathen aborigines, or eskimos, or adorable little negro children, whom I would teach the story of Jonah and the Whale. Should they question the scientific merits of a story about a man living inside a whale for several days, I would beat them, and feel good about it, because if I didn’t beat them into submission and subservience, they would inevitably burn in Hell.

Missionaries, colonizers, the staff and directors of residential schools...they were good people, people drawn to social problems, people trying to correct injustices in the world. More importantly, they were moderates. And they committed terrible, terrible evils.

Many to most religious individuals are descent, caring people, too. They love their families and their communities, and they try and do the right thing. But in continuing to ascribe to their religious beliefs, they give power to religious organizations, most of whom are far more extremist than their moderate minions - organizations like the Catholic Church and Pope Benedict, who have no issue denying condoms to HIV positive women whilst picketing abortion clinics and transferring known pedophiles from one devastated parish to the next.

It seems the only people who claim atheism are those that have themselves been dicked around by the church...people who were indoctrinated by tongue-speaking fundamentalists and told that the devil was invading their thoughts. The extremist sects of religion are, in many ways, easier to rebel against, and extremist methods often force the hand and call the bluff of all Christianity. Were it not for experiences in extremist churches, myself and many friends would likely have remained happy, moderate Catholics and Unitarians our entire lives.

And tithing a church that believes in excommunicating members who speak out against pedophiles in their upper ranks, and sending my kids to Sunday school so that they can learn that about how God loves them but, goshdarnit, He will burn them in Hell for all of eternity where no one can hear their screams...I guess we’d be cool with that, too.

We ourselves would probably be happier, more moderate, more well adjusted people. But in doing so, we’d be hurting others, and living a lie. We’d be...wrong. We’d be parents whipping our kids with a willow switch, simply because that’s the way things are done.

So, extremists, for all of your tyranny, condemnation, and burning of crosses on the lawns of nice Jewish people...I thank you. Were it not for your despicable acts of violent extremism, I wouldn’t have learned to question what I was told. I would trust, blindly. You forced me to see.

Monday, May 17, 2010


The last few weeks have sucked some serious monkey balls.

There have been a number of contributing factors here...planning for a move across town, without a car, and apartment hunting in an overpriced, pet-hostile housing market...these are not experiences that people tend to treasure and immortalize in scrapbook form.

While I am confident that my decision to move was a good one, and that my new apartment will be absolutely great once I’ve settled in, I am also secure in the knowledge that the non-monetary price for my beautiful new apartment will be one, maybe two more months of pure, unadulterated stress. Because i) I have very little furniture, which mean until I buy a mattress I’m sleeping on my yoga mat, ii) what little furniture I do own, I have no way to transport, which is the case for my dresser, TV, and my dearly beloved couch of comfiness, whom I fear I may have to abandon, and iii) Life is hard.

Every time I move,I have a distinct feeling that all of my possessions have been forming couples and reproducing...which disturbingly implies that my SAD lamp has a better sex life than I do, which may or may not be true. Nevertheless, stuff does, always,  accumulate... heavy stuff, like text books, and the notes from that class for that degree I dropped out of, and fabric from when I was going to teach myself to sew but never did.

“Hoarders” is currently on TLC, which sends me into chills, because on some level I think I do have hoarding tendencies. I certainly have anxiety that what I throw away will be sorely missed...that, and I’m incredibly cheap, as well as a budding environmentalist, so the whole idea of throwing something away, only to have to buy a new something later, seems absolutely abhorrent to my very soul.

But really, I guess I’m more of a bulimic. I go through bingeing and purging cycles with my possessions, giving away far too many of my clothes to charity, and then realizing I have no clothes and holding onto a broken pair of running shoes for months, if not years. And today, like it or not, I must purge.

So, goodbye, slightly broken Hungry Hungry Hippos, whose marbles have almost all been chewed beyond recognition by a certain dog named Toby. And goodbye, scented oil candle thing that I was given during a gift exchange and knew I would never use but held on to all year out of guilt. Goodbye, can of creamed broccoli that apparently expired in 2007.

...I will miss you.