Tuesday, May 25, 2010

City Critters

While I have yet to come across any city-dwelling llamas, there has been no shortage of creatures, both two and four-legged, here to keep me entertained over the past month.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

The question

I'm currently embroiled in a discussion over in the 20sb forums with a gentleman who was looking for advice on how to get publicity for a pin-up contest the green technology company he works for is planning on running to raise awareness and "make renewable energy sexy, literally."

Whenever something like this comes up on the forums I struggle a bit with whether or not to get involved.

There are times when it just seems futile to respond or to attempt to get a thoughtful dialogue happening, especially when the thread title is something as ludicrously offensive as "Which brown race is the most attractive?"

(Sadly, that was indeed a real topic. The expanded version also referred to Canadians as a race. So.)

The pin-up topic had a couple of positive responses from women who thought this contest sounded like a great idea, none of them posing the question that immediately came to my mind:

Why does attention for green technology have to come at the expense of women?

Another commenter asked how it could possibly be at the expense of women when the women featured will be volunteering and wondered if having a male competition as well would make things more fair.

While I suppose on some level that would make things more balanced, the solution to the problem of objectifying women, is not to objectify men too.

I have no doubt that there will be plenty of willing participants.

There is, unfortunately, no shortage of women seemingly eager to be judged on their ability to cram themselves into a pre-fab mold of physical attractiveness, reduced to their waist - hip ratios and tacked up in back offices to be ogled by strangers.

Brains, personality and achievements be damned, they want recognition for their looks, and they'll get it. They'll get it far easier than they might gain recognition for just about anything else.

The pressure on women to fit that mold is so monstrously great, and competitions based on looks are just what that monster loves to feed on the most.

The thing with sexism and objectification is that we're so used to them that most of us don't even recognize it or question when these issues come up.

There's a prevailing attitude of "Oh well, sex sells, might as well use that to our advantage rather than challenge it or come up with something more innovative and interesting."

It's shameful and it's lazy and it's boring.

Sometimes though, all a shift in attitudes needs to get started is for someone to ask the question.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Bird's Eye View

In case you're curious about what an unemployed Sarah in the city does with her copious amounts of spare time, wonder no more.

When not out distributing resumes, I obsessively watch this:

The Hornby Island Eagle Cam.

There are two cameras positioned in and above a gorgeous eagle nest in British Columbia and I've been watching the live stream since the week the sweet little fuzzball of a baby was hatched.

Now he's getting kind of big and creepy prehistoric looking, but I still check in on them on a daily basis. Even when they're not doing anything, it's surprisingly calming just looking at them.

Friday, May 14, 2010

The Haves

Today, as I put my resume through it's scrillionth reincarnation and prepared to pavement pound with the best of them, Sparta and I got to chatting about our budget, which of course, has been tightened significantly since I lost my job.

In fact, Sparta described us as "have-nots."

I thought he must be kidding, but he insisted that our existence of living from pay cheque to pay cheque puts us squarely in that demographic.

I beg to differ.

I offered to take him for a walk and point out a few of the "have-nots" living on the streets of our fair city.

He reminded me of a recent visit with some extremely wealthy acquaintances of mine and their jet-setting ways.

It's true we don't have the cash on hand to purchase a couple of vineyards and a mid-sized island at any given time. We don't have a six bedroom house in Florida and one twice the size here. We don't have drivers or personal assistants or catered soirees.

And sure, I would be more comfortable to be in a position to start bulking up my savings, but I don't doubt for a second that we're very, very priviledged.

We live in a peaceful country where treating our health problems doesn't mean going into excessive debt.

We have a(n adorable) place to sleep at night, we have food (and wine!) and an amazing support network who would certainly never allow us to go without.

The things we don't have? We don't need.

Monday, May 10, 2010

City Girl

My parents have always described me as a city girl. While both my brother and I technically grew up in a city, I was born in a far larger one and I guess the three years before we relocated had a pretty profound effect.

At 15, I was the one whose genius plan to escape from any form of hiking on a family trip to British Columbia (I know, I know, who doesn't want to hike in BC?) by quietly refusing to bring appropriate footwear was neatly foiled by my mom loaning me her sensible sneakers and teetering her way through the woods on my KISS-worthy platform heels.

Our family trip to Paris, however? A drastically different story.

Try as I might to blend in with the small-town locals, they called me on it every time. I think it was all the earrings.

Every time I've stepped off the train and into the city to visit friends over the years, I've felt a sense of coming home.

Today when I stepped off the train, I was.

It's been less than a month since we moved into our adorable little third-floor nest, but already my life in the small town seems like ancient history, or a really lengthy dream.

I mean, I know it happened. I've got the newspapers to prove it, but really? Did I really move to the middle of nowhere, not knowing a single friendly face or what precisely I was getting myself into? Did I really stick it out with no social life to speak of to write about giant mutant turnips, 100th birthday parties and bean festivals for two years? Did I really fly an airplane??? haha. Who does that?

This girl, apparently.

And while I will never forget and am hugely grateful for that rare experience, I am so happy to be where I am now. Despite things not turning out the way I might have hoped, and despite the fact that I remain, for the moment, dishearteningly unemployed, I am so excited to be here.

Suddenly, my calendar has changed. Photo exhibits, parties, and dinners with friends have replaced council meetings, donation photographs and interviewing the new minister.

About once a day, when we pass a fruit stand, or explore Chinatown or turn down our gorgeous street, or just sit people-watching from a sun-drenched patio, I turn to Sparta and exclaim, "We LIVE here! We live HERE!"

He just smiles at me, the preposterously happy city girl.