Friday, 29 October 2010

Halloween

I just wanted to wish everyone a very happy Halloween! If you don't celebrate Halloween, then that's fine too, I respect that. Looking back on past Halloweens, I think that it has certainly become more commercialized and less of what it truly is. I've been Simba, Nala, a unicorn, a witch, Cinderella, a vampire, a devil, Princess Minnie, Baby Spice, Rachel Green and Batwoman. I'm sure there are other costumes in there that I don't remember, but those are the key costumes I do remember. Since entering high school, I have been exposed to the fact that Halloween is becoming something a lot more . . . how do I say this without being offensive to anyone? Well, sexy and rather slutty. It's also become rather offensive. Yesterday was the Halloween dance at our school and two boys came as nuns. Now I'm not Catholic, but I still found it rather offensive since I am a Christian. Another boy came as Joseph, I believe. That I find rather religiously offensive and I'm sure quite a few others might have found it offensive as well. What happened to being scary and frightening people? Wasn't it trick or treat? I just wanted to remind everyone of Halloween's origins(which I find rather fascinating).

Halloween has roots in the Celtic festival of Samhain (Sah-ween) and the Christian holiday All Saints' Day. The actual word "Halloween" was first seen sometime during the 16th century and is a variation of the Scottish "All-Hallows-Even" (evening), the night before "All-Hallows-Day". Up until recently the spelling has usually been Hallowe'en. According to Celtic beliefs, October 31 is the one day of the year that spirits and the dead are able to cross over into the land of the living. These spirits could harm the living and even take them back to the land of the dead. In order to prevent this and confuse the spirits, anyone who left their houses would dress up as ghosts or spirits. October 31 was also a time when spirits could give messages to people. These Halloween traditions were brought to Canada (and other countries) through Scottish and Irish immigrants.

Quote of the day: Shadows of a thousand years rise again unseen, Voices whisper in the trees, “Tonight is Halloween!” – Dexter Kozen

Monday, 11 October 2010

Canadians, eh?

It has come to my attention (especially on this wonderful thanksgiving, happy thanksgiving everyone!!!, and after reading Cake Wrecks) that there are some misconceptions about Canadians.
1. Yes, we say "eh". Personally, I don't say it that often and I don't hear it that often either. Although when we were in Laguardia I said I was going to try to sound American and ended up saying "eh" in the sentence somewhere.

2. Another thing is that we live in igloos. I'm sorry, only people up North, way way up North (like, in Nunavut and Baffin Island) live in igloos. And that's only during the winter. And most of those people are Inuit. It does not snow all the time, sorry. We do have our four seasons and I'm grateful for all of them. If there was no spring, summer or autumn I think I would kill myself from exposure to too much snow.

3. Maple syrup is good stuff. And I'm talking about real maple syrup, not the crappy stuff you find in grocery stores (sorry Aunt Jemima). It is pure sugar. Anyone who can try it should. We don't put it on everything. I only put it on pancakes and waffles. I'm not sure what else you would put it on.

4. Our Mounties are not all across Canada. I think they stick to British Columbia, a province.

5. We have ten provinces and three territories. It seems like they should be smaller since USA has 50 states (whaaat?? 50??) but they're actually bigger. It's crazy, I know, but you can fit Texas in Ontario and still have room for more. So Texans, there are places bigger.

6. Poutine is gross, in my opinion, but many Canadians enjoy it. It is a Quebec invention. I went to Montreal last February and saw the factory that makes amazing poutine and apparently there is more than one type of poutine.

7. We pronounce z as "zed" but I say "zee" so I guess that makes me slightly "Canerican".

8. All Canadians are not hockey fans; hockey isn't even our national sport. It's lacrosse, which is a Native Canadian sport, did you know that? I learned that in the sixth grade.

9. As far as I know most schools in Canada go like this: JK, SK, grades 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 in elementary school (although some are split up) and then grades 9, 10, 11, 12 in high school. Some places do have middle school, it is not just an American thing.

10. We don't all love beer. My mom is proof of that. She'd rather drink wine, and even that is on occasion.

11. We don't live with polar bears. I don't know where that idea came from, but polar bears are vicious wild animals (even more vicious than grizzly bears) and it would not be wise to live with one.

12. We don't all smoke. Which is a strange stereotype. I actually think smoking is one of the most disgusting things a person can do to their body. You're prematurely killing yourself. Uncool guys.

13. We do not have one person per square km. Just because we have a large country and not as many people live here as they do in the States doesn't mean we have ten people living in each province (that's rather vague). There are small towns in Ontario with more than ten people so ha.

14. We are not all lumberjacks. But we do provide most of the world's lumber. Piss us off and there goes your fuel and furniture.

15. We're not fat. If fatness is going to be stereotyped to a country it should be the States because they eat marshmallow and peanut butter sammiches. However, I know for a fact that not all Americans are fat either. I may be Canadian, but I do travel around.

16. We are not monarchists. We have a prime minister and yes, we are technically ruled by the Queen, but she has very little say in Canadian politics.

17. We do have water toilets. I'm not sure what other kind of toilet we would have. Chamber pots are kind of out of date, don't you think?

18. We are not wimps. If, according to stereotypes, we are all lumberjacks and live with polar bears in igloos then we should be able to kill someone by just looking at them. We are polite. Not wimps.

19. We don't hunt baby seals. That is a horrible stereotype. Yes, there is seal hunting, but that is being reduced and they hunt seals in Alaska too so don't be so quick to judge. Hunting baby seals is horrible.

20. Canadians are expected to learn French from grade 4-9. It's optional past those grades. Not everyone speaks those languages fluently. It would be kind of stupid to only speak English though if there is a French province in the country, and vice versa. I take French because it means I'll have a better chance to get a job when I graduate university and I can actually speak to people when I'm in France or Quebec.

21. We don't hate Americans. Whoever said that must either hate Canadians or Americans. If we hated Americans there would've been war by now and since apparently we're wimps we would've lost. We don't hate Americans. We were all English colonists at one point in time, no matter how hard Americans try to deny that fact.

22. We don't all snowboard. I'm rather frightened of a snowboard and run away from them. I do, however, have friends who snowboard but it's hard to snowboard when the only skiing and snowboarding mountain is miles away.

23. We're not all Inuit. Inuits are Natives and I'm pretty sure we're not all Natives. Plus, the Inuit live in Yukon, Northwest Territory and Nunavut. Everywhere else they're just called natives. Or Indians, as they were falsely named.

24. We're not all socialists either. I'm sure if you asked around you'd find SOMEONE who is, though.

25. We're not jealous of Americans. We have free health care. They should be jealous of us.

26. We are not uneducated. We rock the schools. We are polite educated people. And we don't carry firearms around with us everywhere and drink beer while driving. Seriously, who does that?

Anyway, just wanted to set the record straight. Hope I didn't hurt anyone's feelings (no sarcasm). It just gets annoying when people have a certain image of Canadians and when they see you they're like "oh" and they're let down.

Quote of the day: Good thoughts bear good fruit, bad thoughts bear bad fruit. - James Allen

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Thanksgiving

Since it is the thanksgiving weekend there will be lost of turkey and good food to eat. I also have quite a few projects I need to work on, a journal I need to write and a poster to create. I am working tomorrow and my dad is trying to recruit me to help put away the patio furniture. You could say I'm busy.

Thank gosh I have monday off of school.

My projects: I have to make some phone calls and e-mails and begin working on my dance ISP (individual study project, culminating project). This is going on for 8 weeks, but it should get started now because I have to tell my teacher what I've got done so far. In Canadian lit I have to make a literary theory poster on New Historicism/Cultural with a partner who won't be here at all this weekend. My journal is on the movie The Red Violin which is rather intense. I also have a seminar on wednesday with two partners.

I am going to go crazy this weekend.

Quote of the day: There is a harmony in autumn, and a luster in its sky, which through the summer is not heard or seen, as if it could not be, as if it had not been! - Percy Bysshe Shelley