Protip: When your hotel’s WiFi is sucking so badly (think AOL dialup circa 1998), connect your computer to your work phone and download ALL THE PORN!  Thanks, taxpayers!

Guess who just tripped over his computer’s power cable and broke one of those fluro lightbulbs that requires hazmat equipment to properly clean up but it’s like 11:00pm and I’m pretty sure housekeeping will just leave me to die.

I’m not even sure if that’s a question or a valid statement of fact.  Either way, it’s a pretty good metaphor for how today went.  (Oh, and by the way, I just threw a towel over the area and I’ll leave a note for the maid in the morning.  I’m 29 years old and I have no idea how to deal with this situation.  Help.)

Quick, can anyone tell me which Hindu god of self-destruction to start praying to?

The rest of the week/weekend in bullet form

  • Work, work, work in Arlington, DC, and Baltimore; kill someone in HR
  • Ride around with some realtor looking at houses/condos because hotel life suckssssss (but I’m getting killer amounts of frequent flier miles)
  • Catch up on my lack of sleep
  • 24 Hours of Vinyl #4 (I’ll probably be in the chat as ‘unfuckwithable’)
  • Many phone and text conversations
  • Maybe a Skype chat, maybe public (if you guys are nice and ask)
  • Write, write, write
  • Run out of Ambien and freak out appropriately
  • Plan a staycation in my hotel suite because everyone else is leaving town starting today and the traffic will be horrid, plus none of my DC couple friends have invited me along with whatever they’re doing (probably smart thinking on their part)
  • Getting sun at the pool, which means I’ll be burning to a crisp because French Canadians are impervious to suntanning (we freckle after the second-degree burns)
  • Also, hitting on the Slovakian lifeguards
  • Program, decrypt, distribute
  • Protest once or twice outside of the Canadian Embassy
  • Party once or twice at the French Embassy
  • Write, write, write

Prose de la séparation (Miron)

Why do I feel like Hank Moody giving a monologue every time I talk to you on the phone?  I realize I have my brilliant moments, but I’m also kind of retarded, mostly because of you.  Thank you, by the way, for saying that you think my insecurities are cute; that’s totally not going to rattle around in my head for the next week.

I’m being honest when I say that my high points of the day are talking with you, even beating out on spending the day in the White-fucking-House for work.  I’m saying that I treasure you more than I do Joe Biden’s gaffes or President Obama (categorically).  Since I’m sitting here drinking a rosé with ginseng-wild mint lotion drying on my face, I think I’m qualified to say that you’re the last thing I think about before I fall asleep and the first thing I think about when I wake up in the morning.  Yes, that’s the cheesiest thing I’ve ever said.  But…blame the lotion, okay?  Plus where else am I going to speak to a doctor for two hours straight without a referral and a ridiculous co-payment from my insurance company?  You’re not just good looks and brains — you have utility!  (Don’t make or let me actually calculate the cost of our conversations…)

Most of the time I have no idea what to say to you, or what I need to do (because I feel guilty if I ever ask you to give up a part of your life in Seattle).  I’m doing something important (personally and professionally) in DC right now, but I’d quit it and change my life for the better to take a giant leap of faith that ended up working out.  2,755 miles and a few years of the heart growing fonder; that’s pretty fond of someone, if you ask me.  Fond enough to publicly embarrass myself by posting all of this for everyone to see.  Fond enough to say terrible things on the phone and have you giggle at them.  Fond enough to give thinking five, ten, twenty (or more) years down the line a try for once in my life.

Our Not-So-Friendly Northern Neighbor

When Vladimir V. Putin first came to power in Russia, Quebecers could not help but laugh. Poutine, as he is called in French, is also the name of a Québécois fast-food dish made of French fries, gravy and cheese. But these days the laughter is over, as Quebec gets a taste of Mr. Putin’s medicine.

For a change, Americans should take note of what is happening across the quiet northern border. Canada used to seem a progressive and just neighbor, but the picture today looks less rosy. One of its provinces has gone rogue, trampling basic democratic rights in an effort to end student protests against the Quebec provincial government’s plan to raise tuition fees by 75 percent.

On May 18, Quebec’s legislative assembly, under the authority of the provincial premier, Jean Charest, passed a draconian law in a move to break the 15-week-long student strike. Bill 78, adopted last week, is an attack on Quebecers’ freedom of speech, association and assembly. Mr. Charest has refused to use the traditional means of mediation in a representative democracy, leading to even more polarization. His administration, one of the most right-wing governments Quebec has had in 40 years, now wants to shut down opposition.

The bill threatens to impose steep fines of 25,000 to 125,000 Canadian dollars against student associations and unions — which derive their financing from tuition fees — in a direct move to break the movement. For example, student associations will be found guilty if they do not stop their members from protesting within university and college grounds.

During a street demonstration, the organization that plans the protest will be penalized if individual protesters stray from the police-approved route or exceed the time limit imposed by authorities. Student associations and unions are also liable for any damage caused by a third party during a demonstration.

These absurd regulations mean that student organizations and unions will be held responsible for behavior they cannot possibly control. They do not bear civil responsibility for their members as parents do for their children.

Freedom of speech is also under attack because of an ambiguous — and Orwellian — article in Bill 78 that says, “Anyone who helps or induces a person to commit an offense under this Act is guilty of the same offense.” Is a student leader, or an ordinary citizen, who sends a Twitter message about civil disobedience therefore guilty? Quebec’s education minister says it depends on the context. The legislation is purposefully vague and leaves the door open to arbitrary decisions.

Since the beginning of the student strike, leaders have told protesters to avoid violence. Protesters even condemned the small minority of troublemakers who had infiltrated the demonstrations. During the past four months of protests, there has never been the kind of rioting the city has seen when the local National Hockey League team, the Canadiens, wins or loses during the Stanley Cup playoffs. The biggest demonstration, which organizers estimate drew 250,000 people on May 22, was remarkably peaceful. Mr. Charest’s objective is not so much to restore security and order as to weaken student and union organizations. This law also creates a climate of fear and insecurity, as ordinary citizens can also face heavy fines.

Bill 78 has been fiercely denounced by three of four opposition parties in Quebec’s Legislature, the Quebec Bar Association, labor unions and Amnesty International. James L. Turk, the executive director of the Canadian Association of University Teachers, called Bill 78 “a terrible act of mass repression” and “a weapon to suppress dissent.”

The law will remain in force only until July 1, 2013. The short duration says it all. It amounts to a temporary suspension of certain liberties and allows the government to avoid serious negotiations with student leaders. And it grants the authorities carte blanche for the abuse of power; just hours after it passed, police officers in Montreal began to increase the use of force against protesters.

Some critics have tried to portray the strike as a minority group’s wanting a free lunch. This is offensive to most Quebec students. Not only are they already in debt, despite paying low tuition fees, but 63 percent of them work in order to pay their university fees. The province has a very high rate of youth employment: about 57 percent of Quebecers between the ages of 15 and 24 work, compared with about 49 percent between the ages of 16 and 24 in the United States.

Both Quebec and Canada as a whole are pro-market. They also share a sense of solidarity embodied by their public health care systems and strong unions. Such institutions are a way to maintain cohesion in a vast, sparsely populated land. Now those values are under threat.

Americans traveling to Quebec this summer should know they are entering a province that rides roughshod over its citizens’ fundamental freedoms.

New York (et les États-Unis) découvre ce qui se passe au Québec.  As written by two professors from l’Université de Montréal, but that’s about as positive and widespread as the coverage will get.  I still don’t think anyone will be impolite enough to mention figures that francophones as a whole have lower educational attainment than anglophones, even/especially in Quebec.  (There’s an article by the Globe and Mail on this subject, but I can’t link to it.)

Ariane Moffatt & Radio Radio at ADISQ 2008

Just had one of those weird “worlds colliding” moments on Instagram courtesy of Ned Hepburn and Ariane and it made me think of this clip.  I’m actually weirded out by the internet coincidence.  Please send the lovely Ariane my way, M. Hepburn.

Japandroids - The House That Heaven Built


Japandroids - The House That Heaven Built

2010 to 2012 : “Heavenward Grand Prix” to “The House That Heaven Built”

(All this heaven talk is making me think Japandroids are a secret Christian band.)