Vancouver Election

My mother told me that Japanese Canadians didn’t always have the right to vote, so I should never take that for granted.

This year, the Vancouver Election seemed especially complicated with so many independents and new parties.

So I actually read through the blurbs of each candidate. Now I wasn’t that meticulous or thorough but I was looking for impressions.

On my first pass, I eliminated people who supported things I was not so keen on.

Then of those, I jotted down points they made that I agreed with and I sorted them by the number of points I agreed with.

If they were tied, I would review the points and decide which ones I preferred.

So I had a list of people I was at comfortable voting for.

It turned out they were from a variety of parties.

I thank all the candidates for participating.

Congratulations to whomever gets in. I don’t know what they should do, so I hope they can figure that out.

When life gives you grapes

A friend gave me grapes she said were for wine making.

Some were purple and some were green.

They were small and had seeds.

So they weren’t good for eating.

So I decided to squeeze them out with a garlic press.

I had the juice with soda water and it was pleasant.

But a lot of work.

Paper Towns by John Green

An amusing and moving, coming-of-age, romantic mystery adventure. It follows the narrator's pursuit of the mysterious dream girl next door, who is beautiful (of course), socially connected, highly intelligent, and perhaps most distinctively, brave. Maybe I am too old to read about nerdy teens finding themselves and each other, but I really enjoyed this. Isn't the point of reading to crawl inside the heads of others? Or maybe it is just arrested development to imagine an alternative high school life. Maybe I miss the excitement, though not the anxiety, of facing the world when it felt brand new.

Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan

This book was a fascinating look at life during World War II. In the audiobook, three different voice actors read the sections associated with the three main characters. The primary story follows a young woman struggling against the world in so many ways. She has a hard life but remains persistent. I enjoyed the unpredictability of this novel. Diving before SCUBA equipment with the heavy gear and hoses. The double lives of a gangster. Surviving at sea on a raft. Also I’d just heard a Malcolm Gladwell podcast on “pulling the goalie” as survival tactic which seemed to apply here.

Player of Games by Iain M. Banks

I listened to this story as an audiobook from the library, so I don’t know how the names are spelled. The protagonist is a masterful game player in the Culture, but he’s getting a little bored with life. He ends up in another world built around a complex game. They unpleasant hierarchical society resembles our own. The importance of a game to a civilization reminded me a little of Magister Ludi. Banks referred to and yet remained vague about the details of this game. It contrasts with Reality is Broken, in which McGonigal advocates for making life itself a game.

Nikkei Matsuri

I took transit to the Nikkei Centre in Burnaby for some stimulation. The normally quiet garden where seniors play gateball was jam packed with people lining up for Japanese street food, as kids hoisted the portable shrine and marched around to the beat of a drum. Inside, with admission, more games and food and gifts for sale, as dancers danced on stage. And the museum featured Kayla Isomura's sobering exhibit featuring photographs of what Nikkei descendants would take with them if they were to be suddenly uprooted today, providing an intriguing perspective on the role of historical consciousness.

Science Borealis Cartoon

Here's a cartoon I did for the latest Science Borealis newsletter. I usually pick a post that is highlighted for inspiration. This one was about invasive species. Apparently cats do a lot of damage. This was cartoon was sort of in reaction to all the cute cat memes.



1808 cat.jpg

Crazy Rich Asians movie

I enjoyed this romantic comedy of a Chinese American woman facing the machinations of her boyfriend's unexpectedly crazy rich Singaporean Chinese family and friends. I had only heard the audiobook sequel borrowed from the library, so it was interesting to see the origins of those characters. I don't really care for these kinds of money vs love stories, but the rare thing for me was to see the variety of roles for Asians speaking English as locals (English is apparently common in Singapore), so that I could actually imagine myself as the lead, if I were younger ;-)

The Cunning Man by Robertson Davies

I enjoyed this novel I borrowed as an audiobook from the library. It is written as a first person narrative by a doctor who takes a holistic approach to medicine, in the sense of attending to the psychological or spiritual aspects of a person and not just the physical, though he is also very attentive to that as well. He also ponders the medical ailments of characters from literature. I liked the series of episodes involving different characters as they grow old in Toronto, though I thought it ended a bit abruptly and maybe a little sadly.

Agatha: The Real Life of Agatha Christie by Martinetti, Lebeau & Franc

I have only read one Agatha Christie mystery. I was turned off after realizing I couldn’t have figured out what happened because she didn’t give you all the information. But I liked this graphic version of her life, drawn with simple lines and colouring. They began with her mysterious disappearance, which they ascribe to her response to her husband having an affair. They playfully include her chatting with some of her characters. I had a vague memory of her as a white-haired old woman, so it was interesting to see her as a vivacious young woman with red hair.

The Disaster Artist

This is a meta movie based on the true story of a strange rich guy who makes his own movie, which was unintentionally funny. I don't understand the main character but when he does something weird in the movie, he refers to it as human behaviour, like people are unpredictable. I wonder if Franco, who has done some other weird movies, admires someone who does what wants. The reception of a thing is out of your hands. You might have talent or not, but you put your art out there and let things go as they may.

Interstitial #Curiosity Collider

If Dr. Frankenstein or maybe more appropriately, Mary Shelley, worked at Ikea, perhaps such diagrams of exploded parts, mechanical and organic, might come of it.

Dr. Uchida, one of the collages of female scientists on display, remarkable to me for being a NIkkei.

Disembodied hands manipulating scientific equipment with brightly painted fingernails.

Interstitial, the spaces in between. Filling those gaps of perception and perspective.

You go, women of STEAM