The Final Conversation

Personal · · Leave a comment

As your face flickered onto my screen, I could see you looked tired. I had called you on Skype for Mother’s Day. You had just been talking with Jennifer, and Dad said you were very tired. But truth be told, you looked worse than tired. You looked like someone struggling to┬ákeep up with a conversation that had turned into a foreign language. Nods and occasional whispers were all you could muster. But it was Mother’s Day, and your son was calling.

Dad and I spent most of the time talking. You sat resting, your eyes occasionally fluttering open, but mostly I couldn’t even tell if you were even awake. Dad and I chatted about all the usual things: How school was going, what I had been up to, what the weather was like here and over there. All the while we danced around the biggest topic, the one that all of us knew concerned us most but for which there was nothing left to say. The tumour in your brain was at the helm now, and we were sailing the sea of inevitability toward an end no one wanted to reach. There was no turning back, no slowing down. There was only the time it would take, and no more. So what else was there to say?Continue Reading

Canadian passport

The Story of the Lost Passport

Personal · · Leave a comment

Folks, when you’re travelling, make sure you know where your passport is at all times. Why do I say that? Because forgetting your passport at an inopportune time can lead to the biggest headache that you’ll ever face. I now know this from personal experience. Gather ’round, kids, and let me tell you the story of when I made a stupid mistake and then suffered for it for the rest of the day.

The story begins in Chicago. Yesterday. My friends and I had arrived at O’Hare airport on our way back from a social psychology convention in Austin. We had a layover in Chicago and were waiting for our second flight to the Kitchener airport. It was an evening flight, and I was looking forward to being home. The employees at the desk announced that our flight was ready to board, and I grabbed my things, ready to finally leave! And then they announced, “Because this is an international flight, please have your passport ready to show the attendant along with your boarding pass.” And that’s when my heart sank.Continue Reading

Soy to the world

Holidays for the Vegetarian

Personal, Society · · 1 comment

I’ve been a vegetarian for about a year and a half now, and reduced my meat intake for a couple years before that. This wasn’t a complicated or difficult process, despite what some people seem to think. The most difficult part of being a vegetarian (at least for me) is dealing with situations that arise when one is with friends and family who aren’t also veg*n. Since I’m fresh off the holidays and have spent the past six days with family, none of whom are veg*n, I wanted to share just a few situations that can be tricky to deal with. But first, a few definitions, just so we’re clear:

Vegetarian: A person who does not eat meat. Vegan: A person who does not eat or otherwise use any animal products (e.g., dairy milk, eggs, honey, leather, cosmetic products tested on animals). Veg*n: A catch-all term used to refer to people who are either vegetarian or vegan, or something similar. The Questions

As I said, none of my family is veg*n. I am alright with this; I view moral issues (especially ones concerning diet) as personal choices that must be made by an individual. I am not here to judge, just to follow my own personal standard of ethics. But that can make for some situations that get tricky or somewhat frustrating. For instance, almost invariably, the first question a veg*n gets asked when they mention that they are veg*n is some variant of this: “What do…Continue Reading

Burnt toast

On Burnout

Personal, Society · · 1 comment

I’m exhausted. The past few weeks I’ve wanted to do nothing except curl up in a ball under a blanket and shut out the world. It’s not depression, and it’s not cynicism; it’s just apathy resulting from utter exhaustion at trying to keep up with all the social movements that I consider myself a part of. In my head, I find certain ideological standpoints to be important: feminism, animal rights, environmentalism, leftist politics, skepticism, and so on. But lately, I find myself just not being able to care about taking any action toward these ends. My resources are completely depleted.

Of course, some of this is due to external demands that have left me depleted. I just finished writing my MA thesis, so that’s taken enormous time, effort, and brain-power. I also have other demands on my time, as we all do. But I think the problem runs deeper. I am simply burnt out from moral outrage.Continue Reading

Solitude by Serhatdemiroglu

Safe Spaces for Solitude

I just recently watched an excellent TED Talk by Susan Cain about introversion. She argued for the need for solitude in society in a world that is quickly becoming more and more of an extrovert’s world. I found her message to be powerful: We need more balance in society so that the insights of both introverts and extroverts can be heard and encouraged. As cities grow larger, and schools and workplaces encourage more and more open “collaboration”, it is easy for introverts to get lost in the commotion.Continue Reading

New Year's Resolution

A Passion for Progress

Personal · · Leave a comment

Welcome to 2012! According to the Mayans (or, more accurately, the New Age fanatics), we have less than a year to live! But the rest of us reasonable people know that the world has much more happiness and heartache, mirth and misery, feast and famine in store. The universe is here for the long haul, and humans will likely be here for a while longer too. So enjoy life while it is here!—and be sure that others do as well.

New Year’s has always been a time of reflection for me, as it is for many. I prefer to find a quiet place to sit and ponder, rather than the raucous, drunken celebration of a changing calendar and a ball dropping. For me, Christmas is a time to celebrate, but New Year’s is a time to reflect on what has been and what is to come. Such reflection should really happen continually, for every day is a step forward. After all, January 1st merely marks an arbitrary point in the circumnavigation of the Earth around the Sun. We are always moving, always being propelled forward into the future. Without an understanding of the past and a clear vision of the future, we are condemned to stumble blindly about, never finding solid footing. The Earth may always smoothly travel in its orbit, but we have no such guarantee. And so, as the old year leaves and the new year makes its entrance, I prefer to keep the company of my thoughts, with a mind to my own actions and the development of my character.Continue Reading

Christmas tree and fireplace

Merry Christmahanukwanzaa!

It’s hard to believe that Christmas is almost here once again! Tomorrow marks the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year. Exams are winding down for those in school, and last-minute shoppers will soon be filling the stores to scrounge for the leftover items to give as gifts.

As for me, I just finished running a study, so I have some data to analyze, which makes me happy. That’s not to say I won’t spend some time relaxing during the holiday season! But of course, as always, it will never be long enough. Soon I’ll be back at school for another term. Running research, marking assignments, taking classes…the wonderful cocoon of academia. But I’ll be sure to enjoy the time spent with my family this Christmas.