not a pretty girl

a new person with each new experience

Saturday, April 12, 2003

today was so beautiful, I went to this event down by city hall, it was a colaberative effort with the coaltion against the war and artists against the war. They had performances and artwork through the day from 11-1 on two stages, an open mic tent, drum circles and multiple smaller groupings of artists. It was really great to see the diversity of people at the event, including so many families with children. There wasn't a march or speaches, just people hanging out together enjoying the sun and the music. I feel like they should have these events more often. We have so much public space that we have the right to use. Bringing ideas of peace and love via art and music seems to be a great way to take over any space and weekend. I hope to spend my summer seaking out the drum circles, and any event that allows people to take up peacefull space.
Last night I went with a bunch of cool kids to see Angela Davis at Con Hall. Some of us didn't have tickets and were waiting in line hoping that they would let us in. While in line a queer girl that I knew come up and gave me a ticket and then two different women come up to kim and gave her tickets. She did not know these women at all, it was clear the reason they came up to her was that she was a women of colour. Kim was talking about how strange that was, she had this momentary privildge that due to her race and gender she was given tickets over the white male in front of us, and everyother white person in that line. She didn't know how to react to it since it was so new, so different than her usual experience. I thought it was great, I know that everyone who was there had the right to see Angela and I hope that everyone got in. But I'm not sad that kim got in before the white man infront of us. Sometimes we need these momentary shifts of power and privildge just to remind our selves how unequal life really is. This experience was a shocking, why because as a women of colour she is not use to that type of treatment.

The lecture itself was great, not to mention all the great eye candy. Not only were all my crushes there, and so many interesting and cute people, con hall is shaped in such away that maximizes people watching :) This type of event brings out so many great people, and you start to realize how small toronto really is. There were accedemics, activists and feminists adn just interested people(not saying those catigories don't overlap) I felt that we were all linked somehow, possibly just by two degrees of seperation. Anyways to the lecture itself. The talked was called Punishment and Democracy, and she talked about the abolishment of prisons. This is a thoery that I have not thought about in depth before, I mean I have thought about the prison system arround issues of race, class, sexuality and gender, and how I feel that most crimes woudl be illiminated if we combatted racism, classism., sexism, homophobia, the construction of masculintiy . . .and capitalism (thats another rant). And I have had talks about the construction of the criminal and innosense. It seems that this idea of the abolishment of prisons is the next step in this thinking. Marike, sal and I talked about it on the way home. We has so many mixed responces to the idea. I think for one this idea of the abolishment of prison leads to important thoughts around the prison system just as one idea, and that we are so caught up in it, we rarely step back and say why prisons at all, why not something else. Prison reform, like Davis said, is the topic that most people are working on. But the idea of prison reform is excepting that prisons themselves are a good idea. But are they really. Is our system is a sence like minority reports, where people are being held in prison to prevent future crimes. What if we had spaces where those who had serve mental illness and emotional illness could go inorder to get better. And we came up with a new method of punishment. Or not. it would be interesting to see the numbers of people in jail for small offences. Do we really need to keep these people locked up, without freedom. does it make us feel safer that the prisons are filled with black men?

We found a few problems with her theory, first of all even if we combatted the isms and decrimilaized things like drugs and prostitution, crime as we know it would be so low. But we still have to deal with people who rape and kill for fun. ( actually I truely believe if we created an equity world, with out the isms, that these crimes woudl not happen either-- don't worry I'm not completely disolusional, I know how difficult or impossible it is to create such a world). Would they be in the mental institutes, could we really still protect our families, friends and ourselves from these crimes. How do we ballance the freedomes of someone known to be a sex offender with the freedomes of the rest of society. Marike said that some people are just evil -- I don't think I believe that --- the construction of masculity and the list of oppressions do crazy things and interact with people in interesting ways. Problem is I don't know how to get to that space, even with a revolution, I feel that there would still be so many problems, people were still socialized in this society - - - -again I say there is so much work to do . . . . .

Friday, April 11, 2003

As you might have noticed I havn't writen anything in a while, actually I have been writing so much, but I am never in the mood to type when these writing urges come, and they have all been pen and paper exercises. I will probably transfer some of that writing here over the next few days. As for now, I will just move on and add something new. I went out last night for a UC drangon boat fundraiser/stepahinies birthday at a club in the club district. SAddly sal couldn't join me but this guy I met a few weeks ago through the swim them, the one who is all into astrology had come swimming that night and he decided to join me. Funny thing is when I go there I say Steph and Ellaine, I hugged Ellaine and interduced her to the boy. It was like I knew her really well. The thing is I have only met her once, at the Niomi Klein talk and that day I was recovering from a bike accident and too tired to really talk to her. Yet I have been reading her blog over the past few months and therfore feel that I know her. Althoguh she said she has not read my blog, steph and sals mention me enought that she felt like she knew me aswell. Teh internet is such an amazing thing. Iwas talking to the boy about this adn he agread that the internet is such an amazing thing. For example he is into swing dancing, and there is a whole scene of people who are into swing accross north America, so he can go to any city, and know that he willhave a place to stay with people he has never met before, becuase of the internet connection this scene has. It really is true that the internet has brough so many like minded poeple togehter. I echo his expereince with the riotgrrl scene and my friend Marike can with the hardcore punk scene.

continuation of my dairy minimalist saga: I went out for a sub before the party and to Frans afterwards. I eat a sub veggie sub without cheese, and choose the bread adn dressing that wre not directly related to dairy products. Yet I know that the bread they use has honey in it, it was either eat that or watch my friend eat while I sat there hungry so I eat it. Then at Frans everyone order a shake and breakfast that all ws made with milk, eggs and butter. I ordered the veggie burger adn didnt' use the mayo, but I didn't ask if the burger was vegan I just went with the flow. . . . anyways I talked to the boy about not calling myself vegan, since he said for all intents and perposes I am. I told him that it was completely out of respect for vegans who get don't get the repect they deserve. He at one point was vegan due to health reasons, but still eat honey and was not overly inquisitive about what was in his food. I told him that I read an article that asked people who didn't eat dairy and eggs for health reasons not to call themselves vegan, since it is such a political word, and if they werenot following the politics, then they shouldn't use it. I understand where that article is coming from. At the same time I feel it is easier for people to say they are vegan, rather than strict vegitarian, or dairy egg minimaists, in restuarants and with family. There is so much resistance in our culture for people who choice to eat a non "traditional' diet, having a word that simplifies it can make communication easier. At the same time the word creates a siglarity of meanings behind a pluratliy of reasons, for ones diet and that is problimatic. WOW the identity politics in food lives on.

Wednesday, April 09, 2003

I have always been against dieting, I myself have never gone an a diet, and have made it clear to friends that I think dieting is just another way for men to control womens bodies and for women to hate themselves. I encourage loving your body. For those who what to feel healthier, myself included, I would encourge activity and eating healthier. But not avoiding fatty foods alltogehter. Like if you are at a party and there is cake EAT IT!! So you are asking why is Tobie having this mini "love your body" rant, well I will tell you. I have been eating vegan for four months now, and the philosophy around it I agree with. But with all the food restrictions I am feeling like I am not allowing by self to enjoy spontianity. And really I am all about spontinaity. And not being resistricted in any part of my life. As a vegitarian, I have never really felt resticted, I can easily avoid meat and sea food, and its not an issue. But as an vegan, I have found mself wishing I could eat what everyone else is eating. Feeling really disappointed when I find the last ingrediant is whey powder. Having to either aviod food options or not join in with everyone else. Finding at the end of my meal, I still want something more, but the dessert options are almost never vegan. I have found myself at school, the veggie cafe closed, deablois sold out and having to buy a bean salad, that looks five days old. I'm ordering salads at restuarants(without the cheese please). Yes I still feel healthy, I dont' think the vegnaism has made me into an unhealthy person. But it is starting to make me into an unhappy person. The thing is I stlll do believe in the philosophy. But I also think there needs to be a balance in life. I will continue to buy food that is vegan to cook at home, it is too easy to find great food and have happy healthy meals at home. But when I am out, if the last ingredenat is whey powder, or dried egg whites, dammit I will eat it! I am going to stop calling myslef a vegan out of respect for the vegans out there who have a hard time gaining respect for what they do and what they beleive in. I wil continue to support them. But I will have to be a dairy minimalist not a vegan.

Tuesday, April 08, 2003

This SARS thing is really getting to me. I initially didn’t want to write about it, I just added comments to other people blogs when they brought it up. But today I found out that the food bank fundraiser that my food security class got funding for has been postponed until September because of SARS. All because it is at this Chinese restaurant on Spadina, the same restaurant that B, Catsy and Mud went to for Dim Sum the other day. They said that it was empty and china town was disserted. It wasn’t that the food bank itself is afraid, its just that no one is buying tickets. Just like no one is going to china town and surrounding areas. My friend Michelle lives between McCaul and Beverly just south of Baldwin, and she said that the businesses are complaining that no one is coming down anymore. I really feel that the government and the media have made such a big deal out of this so people will forget about protesting the war and fighting poverty and other issues. They will be too paranoid to organize. YES I know people are dieing, and I feel for the families and people who this disease has affected. But I also feel for the families and people who are suffering due to war, due to poverty, due to homelessness, and many other hardships and oppression that our capitalist society has created. As Marike says “we are living in a post democratic society”. She is referring to the states specifically, but with all this propaganda that is happening here. And the lack of attention to the voices of decent, I have to wonder how we can call ourselves a democratic, free country.

Sunday, April 06, 2003

I have so many thoughts to share, that I'm not sure if I will be able to articulate them clearly. I will start with the most random of them all. The Manican is back!! There is this apartment on Bloor that has this beautiful bay window and shear blinds. in their window there is this guy who peers out and watches passers go by. This plastic man had different hats and outfits for months looking very much like a real person.. He was always just peekign out, looking at me. I have always felt that one day I woudl become friends with these people. Really that type of humor gets me. So many people were caugh off guard, thinkin g that guys is starign at me, and then realize there mistake, claiming "that is so creepy". So last month he was gone, the blinds were shut and I was sad. I wanted him back. I thought about writing a note on their door. "I miss your manican, will he be making an apperance any time soon? A concerned neighbour." But really I don't even know which door is theres, and that coudl be kinda creepy. So I refraned and every day I looked up, hoping, wishing that he woudl come back. And fially today, on my way hom from Kims, I l ooked up and there he was. Not even peekign this time, the blinds were thrown back exposing himself in full view. He was wearing shorts, hopefull thinking I guess, and a new hat. I smiled at him, I think he knew that I am very happy that he joined us once again :)

As I said I just got home from Kim's, she had a party there, and Regan came with me (thank you sweetie, you rock my world) it was good times, jello shotters and all. It took me a while to feel comfortable. It is partly socail anziety. Who ara all these people what will I say to them blah blah balh. For a while I mind coudl not relax and just go with the flow. I hate that because I know there is nothign to be scared of, these are just people, like you and me. I like to be a social person and have a good time, but I just could not relax. I tend to gravitate towards smaller groups. the outsiders, the outcasts, the loners and freaks. These are the people I tend to talk too. I tried to talk with all these people and it just wasn't happening. I made my way into the kitchen, safety of the smaller room, and started to talk to people there, and was my quirky witty self. After time there I ventured out. I made it to the bigger room and sat down next to the geeky gay guys that were ingrossed in there own conversatoin, but had not made it to the large group yet. And again with them, happy, witty, interested and all that good jazz. I realized that the issue at first was not just soical anziety. It had to do with the other group had ten years on me, and there were all in the music industry. So stage of life and interest got in the way, I have mastered beign relaxed and havign a good tiem with like minded people(believe me that took a while:) I have to work on the smuchign with people that initically it doens't seem that you have anything in common with. Too bad the social anziety had to take over so much of my evening, because I was relaxed and having a good time.

I'm going to chat with SAl and Marike now, they are int eh other room. The other issues I woudl love to explore soon are: life as a game and how that plays out, and marriage or futhure life plans:) .