party hacks

a few media outlets have picked up the scent from the latest 'fake dissent' initiative by some as-yet-unidentified smear campaigners. we think the same few people are behind these on-line attempts to talk smack about layton and the ndp. the first incident demonstrated the cowardice of the hoaxsters - it's obvious how pathetic these folks are, though identity theft is no laughing matter. yesterday's bullshit effort was in the form of a press release entitled "NDPers Call for Layton's Resignation", replete with quotes and phone numbers of a handful of supposed dissenters. apparently the names and numbers are legitimate, but the sentiments and quotes are surely not. this whole thing is becoming entirely unamusing.

i may not be in the running for any party loyalty awards lately, and i've never been a top party apologist, but i would never go so far as to Make Shit Up to stir up shit. call me uptight, but i sorta believe that if you've got an opinion you think the planet should listen to, that you think has merit, then be so fucking bold as to put your name to it. anonymity on its own is lame enough, but then to be so pathetic as to carefully research the names of party activists for use in fake propoganda, well that's just sick. let's face it, you don't have to look far to find plenty of credible party activists engaged in public discussion about the flaws of the party. it's one thing to analyze the kinks in the armor, it's entirely creepy and spineless to inflict them anonymously.


xmas passed

in a fairly bad movie - i think it was shall we dance - susan sarandon had a really good monologue, explaining to a detective that marriage is about bearing witness to another person's life. in the ups and downs of doing life alone, there are surreptitious moments when that speech pops into my brain. today, for instance, i finally mastered the roasted chicken. it was beautiful. for the first time ever, my bird turned out as pure perfection, as did the accompanying gravy. and no one bore witness. i, alone, was present to mark the occasion. each of those seemingly small things is no big deal, but thank god i'm not into stockpiling.

staying here instead of heading to regina or anywhere else has been alright. with the freakishly warm weather, the city has been a welcoming place to bum around in. enjoyed volunteering on xmas eve at a swank community supper downtown. we served 500 meals to guests from local women's and homeless shelters. the food was stunning - thanks to the acclaimed chef michael blackie - and i even got to offer script improvement tips to the other co-organizer, chris knight, who let's face it, made fairly problematic casting decisions for his newest show. xmas day brunch at nancy's provided tasty food and conversation, then claude and i took one for the team (seriously, don't bother). then reheated leftovers. a few pomegranate martinis and my amaretto tiramisu with friends, a little late-night deep talk, then poof -- it was boxing day and another xmas had been SURVIVED.

yup, xmas is an annual asshole who comes around like clockwork to press insistently at your door, ready to ooze through any crack in your doorway or armor to fill your cocoon with gingerbread and bing crosby and self-loathing. every year, she and her rat bastard entourage do their best to violently replace your soul with pap. vulnerable types can easily fall victim to seasonal reminders of what you don't have and messages of what you should want.

luckily, i - defiant and unfazed - don't buy into any of that, thanks mostly to a lack of nostalgic cues (xmas was barely more than a turkey dinner/sweater exchange in our house growing up). as for the good will part, well that's been covered by friends. oh urban tribe, you wondrous phenomenon, thanks for being so patient with me during my hermit spurts and for stepping in with bells on when companionship is especially appropriate. my circle may be tiny - ok, at times, singular - but it's cozy and comforting and not swathed in tinsel or mind-numbing blinking lights. i may not have an insider witness to the moments or details, but do you feel what i feel? like my back is covered. joy to the fucking world.


tough love

i am drunk and again, beating off the sad. i am chain-smoking and talking myself through the mire: you have to try to love your life when you don’t. you must do it up like you’re manic when you do, and you must be a little afraid of it. because your life is you, you don’t think of it as a powerful force. we minimize it and get caught in its detail and forget that when pressed, this thing will insist. it will kill just for the chance to survive. it will run fast and lift things twice its weight. it will dazzle, delight, and shock the hell out of you. if you can, look through it and not at it. it is your friend. it is your fuel. it is the only thing. and when you feel utterly disappointed by everything that stomped on your heart or passed you by, your life is the only thing left waiting to sustain you. you can fall into it, spent, beaten, or you can allow it to coax you into another force.

i am wrestling with my life. it is powerful, and so i am fine.


UNhappy hour

why happy hour is probably not a great idea if you can't commit to stretching it into a lively night of more drinks, laughs, and perhaps a bit of dancing. a cautionary tale:

meet a couple of client-types at unassuming pub to discuss project progress. someone (not you) says "hey, let's order a caesar". several drinks and sweet potato fries later, find yourself amused by gabby girl talk. 7 pm, one has to go get her kid and the other has to, well, just go. you head home. innocent stop for toilet paper leads you and souring buzz to buy such nonsense as craisins and kraft dinner. safe at home, decide not to shake up cocktails for solo consumption. abrupt halting of buzz takes mood slowly to nowhere good. slink into the sad you've been successfully evading lately. blink lazily at last hour of talented mr. ripley while eating kraft dinner from pot with fork and wondering if matt damon's facial skin is as smooshy as it looks. catatonically websurf through many unintellectual places. stumble upon bio of old friend and wonder how many of her b-list canadian celeb pals know about her secret extra body part. shittily attempt to write profound things: overdue text for a client, never-to-be-sent email to heart-hurter, scathing article about the women's movement, lyrics to a song claude handed over. collect household garbage, haul bin to curb. shuffle jacket-less up five blocks. shuffle back. place partly-picked-over PC cheesecake in fridge directly on top of plastic box of organic field greens and chuckle at the irony. tell self this is not a fatal dive off the bobby mcferrin bandwagon, merely the dragging of a temporarily flung limb. anticipate recovery by the time morning espresso is brewed. tell it here.


white xmas

i totally love this. ok, that's way overstating it. i like it.


be afraid of soy

i honestly thought i had heard it all. but apparently soy is faggy. thank christ there are people about to warn us of the suspect intentions of health food.


ok, i'm almost over it

how life has changed since my big long hair is all gone:
  • no clipping of hair back for sloppy meals
  • random strangers no longer stopping me with prying questions about my heritage or grooming regime
  • i don't have to be mindful of hair getting caught in things like car doors or tree branches
  • no lifting of hair to accomodate scarves and pillows
  • just the tiniest dollop of shampoo now does the trick
  • no plucking out of nestled baby dreads
  • goodbye $50 per tub on industrial-strength conditioner
  • much less to tuck nervously behind ears when flirting
  • the world can see me a lot better, and i see it


elizabeth may, gravedigger

well, it's all finally blown up. what started as an obscure comment (that may made in a campaign speech in london) winding its way through the email channels has wound up turning heads and ruffling feathers. as well it should. various insiders within the women's orgs were hoping to have a quiet sit-down with her instead of reacting publicly to what can only be described as her disturbing and Shockingly Inappropriate stance on abortion. but once again, the orgs who think of themselves as the women's movement failed to realize that a big bubbling world exists beyond these barracks.

now people are talking. both right-wingers and the ndp are salivating, general lefties are confused,
audra's pissed, and the green machine is scrambling to defend its miraculous leader. may herself is so crafty, she sent a bumbling shmuck into 'babble' armed with a 'statement' she wrote... and the thread was ablaze today. maybe elizabeth hoped it would clear things up. and it did, but probably not the way she expected. if anything, we now have better confirmation that her feelings about choice are, um, fishy. either way, she's no dumbass sending someone else (a man, no less - gasp!) in to do her dirty work. she'll no doubt hang him the fuck out to dry if she ever wakes up and realizes how deep this hole is and smartly Recants Everything.

i like moal's characterization of the situation:

"Right now all I hear from May and the GPC is that
a) abortions are bad, they make May queasy, and women should be talked out of them
b) women have abortions because they're poor or uneducated
c) we should therefore have less abortions
d) we should support policies which result in less unwanted pregnancies

Here is what we are not hearing from May and the GPC:
a) we need to work to ensure that all women are guaranteed access to abortions
b) abortion is a legitimate right that women are capable of choosing for themselves
c) women choose to have abortions for a number of reasons, they are not simply forced/reduced/induced into them because of poverty"


diy politics

oh, that disturbingly perky helena guergis tonight on 'talk politics' sure got my blood boiling, as she is wont to do. all fired up, she was, about stephane dion's plan to strike a task force for the liberal party to examine how to increase its number of women candidates in the next election, and about how he might even go so far as to appoint women candidates, to up the ante. guergis chirped on and on about democracy, as if she has a deeper comprehension of the concept beyond the weekly talking points

if only helena et al within the quaint conservative women's caucus only knew what it's like for most women to contemplate entering politics, do you think they'd change their tune? oh wait, maybe they DO have a clue, but simply don't Give A Fuck. dion's plan to figure out formal ways for women to run simply "offended" guergis. offensive, indeed, the idea that a party might actually attempt to put its money where its mouth is in terms of female representation. hate to break the news to helena and the girls, but the ol' boys club persists in politics, indeed in the house of commons. if a party wants more women to run, it has to do more than just SAY so. it has to PROVE IT. that means doing the very "offensive" work of levelling the playing field, a concept that makes the conservative women cringe. they didn't require such assistance, apparently, so no one else should.

so i suppose the guergis et al message to women - replete with pom poms and a free cosmetics kit - is: do it yourself, girls. we made it. you can too. never mind whatever your personal circumstances are. find the political sphere intimidating or off-putting? buck up! don't have enough money or human resources to mount a viable campaign? pull up your bootstraps! you can do it! and if you can't, your party should in no way insist on a way to help you ascend. because if i can do it, so can you!


our corporate xmas party gig at the chateau laurier on saturday was rather surreal, to say the least. so it's fitting that claude's shots of the show are too. oh lighting and staging, how groovy and psychadelic you helped these pictures be. me and the band thank you for hipping us way up.

there are things to say about that women's rally on the Hill yesterday. i will say (many of) them here after my nap. i put a bunch of my protest pics in the mobilization gallery at statusreport.ca. i also spend a shitload of time updating my flickr page, a location recently deemed - after straw polling among tech advisors - the best way to get photos to other people who want or need them more than i do.

teaser to my rally report: what's a harpie, anyway?


popular targets

remember back in the day when i was all excited about how statusreport.ca was averaging a couple hundred hits a day? good times. since last week, we sometimes get 1500 muthafucking hits a day, and yesterday alone there were 2500! it's pretty awesome.

it's overwhelming to keep up. there's so much shit to stay on top of, tons that warrant posting. this website could really be a full time gig. if i had a real job in a real cubicle with real hours, i'm not sure i could do this. but the buzz is uplifting and i'm learning a shitload. things kicked up a notch last week, especially once oda announced the reduction of swc regional offices from 16 to 4. and since last tuesday was the first time anyone in managment bothered to actually talk to swc staff about what's happening, it seems they are now ready to rock. i've been getting more approaches from swc staff wanting to share or leak shit, anonymously - tres cool. the trick is really finding enough time in a day to not just upload shit, but to process and contextualize everything. this is a major political moment, and audra and i don't take lightly what place this humble project has come to occupy. if we could both spend full time hours making it more awesome, we totally would, if for no other reason than to make sure the site is of good service. oh, and also so our thousands of visitors get good info and get motivated to make serious change.

with more attention, though, comes more hate mail. thought i'd share this one - a particular doozy - in case you were thinking that running a political website is all glamour and big fluffy cushions. it can be brutal out there! let's let this hater's email speak for itself. but if it makes you want to say something, i sure hope you will.

Date: Tue, 5 Dec 2006 20:51:23 -0500
From: Penny
To: contact@statusreport.ca
Subject: Get a grip you Victim Hags........................

.....if you really gave a damn about women, how about supporting Harper's efforts in bringing equality to the most oppressed females, those victims of Islam, in Afghanistan. You ingrates haven't the slightest concern about their status in the world.

Get off of your pitiful and privileged fat asses and go make a life for yourselves. My gender, female, hasn't held me back. Whining never advanced me toward the goals I made for myself. I've done fine without pimping for public subsidies.

As a female, you lefty idiots disgust me.

How debasing, and what a rotten role model to my daughters, to have you share the same gender. Whine, grovel and pimp yourselves, you do not represent me......


big ass, big worry

never mind the embarassment of jack's big ass gaff yesterday in the House. it could happen to anyone, and has. and never mind that i sorta agree with what audra says about the strange and ill-conceived ndp e-bulletin that arrived moments after dion's victory was announced. but also, in general, i'm feeling a whole lot of party malaise that can't just be attributed to the malcontentedness of seasonal disorder. i was feeling icky even before hearing my friend pierre go off about the irrelevance of the ndp loss in london in the by-election. he and others seem to think it was damn ok for elizabeth may to have clamored for 15 more minutes of fame on the back of megan walker, who was incidentally endorsed by local environmental leaders. we swatted back and forth about what's strategic. he says it was strategic for may to run in london in order to gain profile and therefore widen the platform from which she can attack harper. bully for her. i suggested that if we're serious about toppling harper, then we best be goddamn serious about being strategic. because as far as i'm concerned, a real strategic approach at this point might just be to do the ultimate consolidation of the left. not a new concept, of course, but perhaps the most important one to examine today. exploring this approach might have meant that elizabeth may put her ego aside for one wee moment to turn her so-called brilliant tactical mind to more important long-term strategic questions than her ability to put her face on the news. that's not to say that jack's face is helping us any better, but could it possibly be the moment when we create a strategy that advances both?

sweet jesus, how could i be losing sleep over the agonizing possibility of an ndp-green merger. better placed people than i who have dared advance a 'unite the left' idea have barely lived to tell the tale. so how could piddly losses like repentigny or london cause me this level of worry?

it's about way more than london, and yet london totally matters, in terms far deeper than the boost a by-election win gives a party, than what it does for momentum, especially this close to another federal election. london matters because our electability should. uh oh, i think to myself, don't you dare wander into that dangerous terrain of doubt - that risky space somewhere between optimism and pragmatism. c'est pas le temps. but here i am, floating uncomfortably amidst those questions every ndp-er tries to dodge: if we can't ever expect to win, then what the hell are we doing? are we only campaigning for a strong 3rd in opposition? how can we sell to the electorate what we fear to believe our own selves? or if we do believe it, then what messages do our continued losses tell us? despite a public that seems to endorse - albeit in soft ways - our general point of view (take afghanistan, environment, gay marriage, equality, etc), we can't seem to make significant electoral gains. this fate, over the long-term, puts hopefulness rather out of reach for me. i'm eager for the party to engage in honest and painful discussions about WHY. yes, there are global forces and market forces and right-wing forces that are constantly tugging the electorate the other way. but we are smart and our ideas are saleable and we should be doing better. i want to talk about why we're not. and despite my obsession with communications, i know the conversation has to go deeper than how we can't find a less ridiculous way to say "ordinary Canadians" in french than "les canadiens et canadiennes ordinaires".

i'm certain i lack the energy to engage in any sort of visceral debate about this. i can only say that my worry for the party's success in the next federal election is real. you take harper's spectacular 2006, dion's election as liberal leader (which i shan't get into now, but holy jesus), you take elizabeth may's stunning finish in london, our inability to turn general public support into concrete electoral support, and some of jack's mistakes, and you get a real sense of doom about the colour of our future. i used to think that what we've really been hungry for on the left is a true leader, and that our biggest problem is a lack real strategic vision. maybe that was the case once, but the time is now, and i'm wondering if it's worse than all of that.

guess i'm all kinds of new political nervousness, which is a pretty tough place from which to conjure up the energy to push forward an election preparedness strategy, especially in quebec.


new doo

audra says my new hair makes me look like clara bow or something. way retro. i guess that's alright, except shari the hair stylist assured me this was quite a contemporary look. so maybe it's both? either way, i keep reaching up for phantom hair and will probably be doing double-takes in reflective surfaces for like, at least another week.