Have You Met Liz? —the Importance of Meeting Your Candidates

I haven’t been to a political rally before.  I went to the NDP rally just to see what they were like, and because I had met Liz Hanson.

Meeting a candidate makes a difference.  Perhaps you, candidate, wonder what all that door knocking is for—or you, a citizen, are annoyed by all the door knocking that happens around an election.  You both wonder why anyone really does it.  Don’t all the commercials, all the posters, all the op-ed pieces help you know a candidate?  Doesn’t it make you likely to know how to vote?  Nope.  (Ok, sometimes it has to.  Not every person can meet the Presidential or Prime Minsterial candidate.  I voted for Obama from what I read, what I saw on TV, watching him at rallies, in speeches, at town halls.)

Meeting someone changes our minds.  Most of us cannot be changed purely by intellectual discovery—some a-ha moment that gives us the clarity to change our minds about an issue.  Most of us recall an event—a moment that has another person in it—that made us feel the way we do about that person, about their race, issue, belief, etc.

Encounters.  We change because of encounters.

Liz Hanson, NDP candidate, was canvassing somewhere between 7th and Strickland—and I was housesitting for a friend.  She knocked on my door and told me who she was and what she was doing.  I politely told her that I was an immigrant and therefore not allowed to vote in the election.  Seriously, I’m not proud of that:  immigrants should be involved in politics, in understanding and learning about their new country, even if they currently don’t have a vote.  But, frankly, I probably felt a little indignant about the irony of being canvassed when I don’t have a vote—I probably thought that she would just go away if I showed my political impotence.

I mean, really.  Why would she spend her time on an immigrant without a vote?  She couldn’t reap any immediate benefit from spending time with me.

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There Are Stories You’ve Never Heard, Brilliantly Told: a review of The River

I went Saturday night to The River, a Nakai production, with Michael Greyeyes directing a play written by David Skelton, Judith Rudakoff and Joseph Tisiga.  To be frank, I wasn’t sure if I was interested in what I thought would be a sermon on homelessness.  I just didn’t want the guilt.  (And yes, I’m ashamed I actually said that—but I’m human and honest, and homelessness seems so much larger than I can comprehend–and I don’t know how to react “properly” or have any effect on the problem.  I suspect avoiding the issue is part of that problem–and yet, it’s the easiest thing to do.)

But local playwright David Skelton co-wrote the play, and I’m a huge fan of David and Nakai.  So I went.

I was blown away.   It wasn’t a sermon.  It wasn’t a guilt trip.  It was eye-opening, and it was riveting, and it was brilliant.  

For more of my review of The River at What’s Up Yukon

In a nutshell, brilliant writing, directing and acting take you into the vulnerable world of the homeless in Whitehorse.  Inspired by first person stories, collected by the writers through interviews over several years, that interviewing technique gives this play a realistic quality you won’t find in stories about homeless people.  You want to catch this play fast.  It’s here for a limited time, limited seating.  You won’t be disappointed.  I predict a long life for this play, and many, many performances across Canada.

(For more stunning photos of The River by photographer Richard Legner, visit this page.)

The Future of the Yukon (maybe): Radio Series “Yukon 2058”

We hear a lot about the future of New York, of San Francisco, of England.  Ever wondered what the NORTH would look like in 50 years? What would be happening, what kinds of trends here in the Yukon?  What kinds of possibilities?  Is it all going to be dark from climate change, or will we adapt as we go? I think it’s going to be a good Future if we can take better care of the Now.

Three years ago I created a five part series called “Yukon 2058” for the 50th anniversary of CBC.  They wanted something that celebrated their first 50 years, so I offered them a look at the next 50 years.  My theme was to eventually come back to why CBC is important, why local programming trumps National programming, why having a large staff in a small place like the Yukon is important.  I tried weave my opinions about what is good about CBC, and what is bad about the trends happening to CBC, into a narrative.  Yukon 2058 is the result.  5 parts.  The narrative of a CBC reporter wondering what his future will be, trying to find where he belongs in a rapidly competitive market.

You can go to the Radio Series page and look under YUKON 2058.

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*image is Joyce Majiski’s “Racing Uphill.”  See more of her work on her website.

Mac’s Fireweed, Noon, Saturday, signing with me and Dave Strachan

Thanks everyone for coming out and being a part of our signing at Mac’s Fireweed!  Two anthologies I’m a part of: Tesseracts 14 and Inhuman, and Dave Strachan, who has the lead story in Inhuman, was signing too!  The Fantasy/Science Fiction community in Whitehorse is doing great!  More and more of our group are stretching their talents and skills, and turning out great stories and sending them off to publishers!  So happy that this is happening in Whitehorse!  The Yukon is building a presence in Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy.  Oh YEAH!

Tesseracts 14 and Inhuman are both published by Hades Publications and Edge Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing (for Inhuman, through their imprint Absolute XPress).

Here’s photos of us at Mac’s Fireweed, Saturday March 12.  See if you can recognize all the campadres who helped make it a great event…

 

 

 

Moose, Cranberry, and the Everlasting Dinner Party: The Boreal Gourmet, cookbook, by Michele Genest

You’ve already seen the wonderful wildberry sourdough muffins recipe which I so tantalized you with (permission granted by Miche).  Now experience what cooks and connoisseurs are talking about in The Boreal Gourmet: Adventures in Northern Cooking by Michele Genest.  The book is more than a cookbook–it is a memoir of the cooking experience, the preparation, the friends, the mistakes, the surprises, and what might be an everlasting dinner party from recipe to recipe.

The Boreal Gourmet is a unique cookbook, with recipes that utilize all the cool things you’ll find walking around or rooted to the ground in the Yukon, but it is also a bit of Yukonalia.  It is a portrait of people living, and cooking, and eating and enjoying life, in the north.  From Geist’s review of the book:

I’ve always felt the best cook­books are the ones you open with the inten­tion of a quick browse but find your­self read­ing cover to cover and com­ing out the other end feel­ing like you’ve attended an inspir­ing din­ner party hosted by the author — with­out leav­ing the com­fort of your arm­chair. Michele Genest’s The Boreal Gourmet: Adventures in Northern Cooking (Harbour) is just this sort of cookbook. The nar­ra­tive that accom­pa­nies the inven­tive recipes oscil­lates from bush sur­vival advice to per­sonal mem­oir to his­tor­i­cal anec­dote (Klondike hope­fuls brought sour­dough starter buried in a sack of flour with them over the Chilkoot Pass) and is sim­ply a lovely read. The recipes them­selves range from the more gour­mdet — Arctic Char Poached in White Wine, Gin and Juniper Berries — to the less gourmet — Moose Lake Lasagna in a Pot (com­plete with tips on how to cook it in the backwoods) — and are com­ple­mented by Laurel Parry’s endear­ing hand-drawn illustrations.

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Whitehorse, curtained in icefog and woodsmoke, revealed in shrouded segments

Just a reality of living in the north, these -40 nights, where the icefog and the woodsmoke turned back on the streets mingle together to hide the city.  It’s mysterious and lovely.  Dangerous to drive in.  I couldn’t see the next segment until it was revealed.  People crossed second street without tapping the crossing light button and I could barely make out their dark forms merging back in with the night.  It was like there was a wall at the back of every backdrop setting— here’s Main Street with nothing beyond it but a white wall, and now the Library and now the Bridge.  Like curtains being opened one after the other, presenting our town in segments.  It certainly robs the city of continuity, or of flow, but it really makes you think of the city in sections—as if Main street were all by itself, or the Bridge, somewhere in England, instead of Canada, the fog so thick you couldn’t tell where it was placed in the geography.

I wished I’d had my camera the whole time, but it was hard enough driving your truck through the fog.  It groaned and squeaked as if it were thirty years old instead of five.  My friend says she won’t drive after it dips below -35C.  “Everything on your car breaks.”  And I saw, like an ambulance for vehicles, five or six tow trucks dragging perfectly good-looking cars and SUVs–just reminding me that even good cars in bad weather can break.  The air is filled with particles–mostly smoke because the smoke from homes hits a certain layer of air and bounces back.  You can see that everyone’s smoke flatlines at about 100 feet, going sideways, and coming back down, like we’re attacking ourselves.  Certainly Riverdale has been warned about woodsmoke pollution….but at -40, who’s listening?  (And -40 is where all temperature worlds, both those who live in Fahrenheit and those who live in Celsius, meet)

It’s interesting to think of the city all divided up into parts, separate sections outside of their context.  Like the world ends at the end of the street.  In some ways it was like speeding through the countryside of Texas and seeing each section as if it were its own small town strung together like pearls on a string heading towards the big city.

I saw Raoul Bhaneja’s one man version of Hamlet tonight, so I’m really enjoying language.  Makes me want to read, or see, Shakespeare more often.  Also makes me think of transitions–from one street to the next–from one scene to the next–my whole town was in crossfades.

Eisenhower and Churchill: UFO cover up?

Released in a wave of declassified UFO documents in England comes this gem: that Eisenhower and Churchill purposely covered up UFOs.  There was a short time in US history where talking about UFOs wasn’t censored–especially the military.  People in the military left and right were commenting on “saucers” and technology from “Mars”–and then, it’s said that Eisenhower decided to hush the whole thing down.

This New York Daily News article talks about a letter declassified in England:

A letter sent in 1999 by an unnamed person from Leicester, England, relays a story he was told by his mother, which came from his grandfather, who claimed to have witnessed the alleged cover-up.

“It is claimed that my grandfather, [REDACTED] was present during a debate between Winston Churchill and Mr. Eisenhower during World War II involving making a decision about an unexpected incident,” the letter states, dated Sept. 20, 1999.

The incident in question took place off the English coast and involved a Royal Air Force bomber crew, which was returning from a “photographic mission” in either Germany or France.

“The aircraft was intercepted by an object of unknown origin,” the letter explains, “which matched course and speed with the aircraft for a time and then underwent an extremely rapid acceleration away.”

Photos and/or film were supposedly captured of the object, which “hovered noiselessly” and seemed metallic.

The incident sparked a discussion between Churchill and General Eisenhower, presumably via telephone, who commanded the Allied forces during the later period of the war.

According to the letter, the grandfather who witnessed the conversation heard Churchill state: “This event should be immediately classified since it would create mass panic amongst the general population and destroy one’s belief in the Church.”

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/2010/08/05/2010-08-05_winston_churchill_dwight_d_eisenhower_covered_up_ufo_sighting_in_england_letter_.html#ixzz18FjARGfF

 

The story is backed up in several other newspapers–the document is real.  Now if the story is real, that’s another matter.  But if it is, then it will go well with this 1952 UFO buzz of the White House.

 

 

You want the truth?  We’ll get as close as we can.  Come to Longest Night, Dec 20, 21, 8pm, Yukon Arts Centre.

We’ll be talking about visitation…. aliens, UFOs, and the sightings that started them all.