Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Play for Change

A lot of us have been reveling in nostalgia as we unearth old tapes, CDs and LPRs, reminiscent of our favourite tunes by the King of Pop. Whatever people may say about him, that man single-handedly moved not one, but at least three generations. Now, a week after his death, we watch as a new generation joins in and brings his music back to life.

One of my favourite things about Michael Jackson's old music were the lyrics. I think his humanitarian efforts and philanthropy were pretty evident, as heard in songs such as
- Heal the World
- They don't really care about us
- Man in the Mirror
- We are the world

As I really listened to his music again after a very long time, I couldn't help but start wondering about what I'm doing in my life to make a positive impact on my community. I mean, I think about it - a lot! In high school I was pretty involved in fundraising, leadership and all those other things that good little school girls do.

But now, as an adult in the working world, what am I doing? Sure, I walk around with a canvas bag in my purse so that if I decide to randomly stop by the grocery store, I don't have to ask for a plastic bag. There's my tiny effort to erase a gigantic global footprint.

But I really want to do more... on a human level. I want to do work everyday where I feel fulfillment, knowing that what I'm doing is creating an impact... even a small one.

I'm seeking inspiration. If you have any ideas or things for me to think about, please drop me a message or comment.

And while you're at it, check out these two videos. They're part of a documentary series and movement called Play for Change, that I absolutely love and admire. The message is very clear and the music warms my soul-- every time!




Monday, 29 June 2009

Gimme a Switch!

Or a knob. Or something that can control the part of the brain that feels. Not physically feels -- I'm talking about the emotions.

Those lovey dovey, sappy, gooey, sad, nervous, lusting, longing, wishful, hopeful emotions.

Shouldn't there be some sort of switch?

Turn 'ON' when it feels good.
Turn 'HIGHER' when you want more.

Turn 'OFF' when it's so wrong.
Turn 'LESS' when you've had enough.

I don't know how people do it. How do some people manage to disconnect themselves from one part of their experiences to the next? Truly, if any of you know how, please share.


Pixel Invasion

I can't decide what's worse:

When I step away from my desk and she proceeds to sit in my chair and click through my browsers... or when she stands over my shoulder and watches my screen as I type. 



It's the last Monday of June 2009:
Ah! What I wouldn't give to be in this photo right now.

Sunday, 28 June 2009

Step with Caution


This 'fate' and 'destiny' crap is irritating, isn't it? Every time I talk about the story, some blithering sap starts quoting verses of how the stars will one day line up and everything will turn out as it should.

"And how should it?" I ask.

"You know... these things have a way of working out if they're meant to be," they say.

I'm a hopeless optimist. A true romantic. But I'm also a grounded realist. Anytime I find myself fluttering up into the clouds of my imaginary ideal whathaveyous, I somehow allow gravity to force me back to the earth. It's tragic if dealt with any other way.

I fear all the fluttering will force me to face a tragic ending, so I'm careful.

Facing reality in the present, even though it may suck, may be the only way to prevent long-term Brontë-like endings.

Sure I like to think of how it will all "work out" in the end. If I could have it the way it plays out in my head, it will all end up roses. Truly Austenian.

But life taught me a long time ago that if you keep playing in beds of roses, you're bound to get pricked by a thorn.

So I'm trying to be careful. Hopeful... but careful.

I sometimes find myself a looking a couple of years into the future. And in my mind, my future has somehow found a way to shift all the gears into place. "Align the stars" so to speak.


But then again, who's to say that what I think I want right now... is what I need? Perhaps I'm painting a picture of this ideal... thing... that isn't quite so ideal.

Hmm... there's been enough signs pointing to that. So why am I ignoring them?

But then the question is: where's the eraser that just lets you forget, dust off, and move on?

I'm being cryptic. But you know.


Saturday, 27 June 2009

Imagine Peace

Here's a photo I took at Nuit Blanche 2008 in Toronto. It was part of Yoko Ono's art installation, hanging high above the Peace Trees.

Pretty self-explanatory.

Friday, 26 June 2009

Floral Inspiration

I absolutely love flowers! Whether they're the scented or not, unique or commonly found, something about these natural bursts of life just make me smile with happiness.

I remember a distinct memory from my time spent in Goa, where I was riding along on a scooter with my uncle. I saw what looked like a tree with the most remarkable flowers I'd ever laid eyes on. They looked like soft, crumpled tissue paper, ranging in hues of white, pink and deep maroon.

My uncle plucked one from the tree, and, me being the inquisitive child that I was, began asking him the expected unending stream of questions:

"What kind of a flower is it?"

"Why are they in different colours?"

"It's changing colours in my hand right now. Why?"

"Who planted this tree on the side of the road?"

"Can we have one in our yard?"

... I never did get an answer to any of these questions, just so you know.

Now, over a decade later, I found myself face to face with a picture of these flowers yet again, and the questions came flooding back without missing a beat.

So after 4 hours on Google, this is what I know about these 'magic flowers' (thats what I settled with, back then).

- Hibiscus mutabilis, also known as Cotton Rose or Confederate Rose
- Hails from China
- Tends to grow in shrub or tree forms
- They open as white or pink in colour, and change to deep red by the evening
- Cannot grow in the shade and requires moist soil (which will explain why they were so well in bloom during September, after the Indian monsoons).

Gorgeous, isn't it?

We never did get one planted in our yard. But every September following that moment, I looked forward to passing by this tree and seeing the annual bloom.

Such a spectacular show by nature!


Thursday, 25 June 2009

June 25 - MJ Post

  • Read Roger Ebert's tribute to Michael Jackson.
  • Tell me what your favourite MJ songs are. Mine were Black or White, Ben and They don't Care About Us! Absolute classics!

It's the only thing that there's just too little of!

I'm going through yet another spell where I lack inspiration. It doesn't happen often but when it does, I get so frustrated!

It's during times like these that I go back and read over some of my past entries... and then I feel grateful to have this blog.

People are going to remember June 25, 2009 for 3 things, quite possibly:

- A.M. Death of Farah Fawcett

- P.M. Death of Michael Jackson

And finally,

- What they were doing when they found out each of the other two things had happened.

I suppose you don't really forget when these things happen, right?

They kind of stand as cornerstones or flags throughout your life. 10 years from now you'll be talking to someone and catch yourself saying, "I remember the day Michael Jackson died... it was the number one trending topic on Twitter." The person you're talking to will probably admit to adding to the trend, or call you "oldskool".

Strange times we live in.

There's an app for everything from shopping to serenity. All with the click of a button.

And with each passing day, though the apps are supposed to bring people in the world closer together, we're losing touch with our kind. We're lonelier than ever...

We all need a hug...
A touch more than words can say...
Love not through the apps...


Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Recent Favourite Things

These are some photos I've taken over the past year, showcasing things and moments I'm proud and thankful to have been part of. I hope you enjoy viewing them as much as I enjoyed living through them.


Sunday, 21 June 2009

A New Feeling

The first of the goodbyes began tonight.

I say the first, because they are... for me anyway. This is the first time in my life that I find myself on the other end of a goodbye. I'm usually the one staying put, watching others take off for jobs, adventures or vacations. Tonight, on the subway ride back home, it dawned on me that I'm the one leaving this time around.

I'm rather freaked out.

It's a new feeling and I'm not quite sure what to make of it.

I felt sad, but not in a bad way. I know that I'll always talk to the two people I was saying goodbye to. One lives in the North West Territories and was in town on a mini-break, and the other just accepted a job offer in Alberta. By the time they get back to the city for another visit, I won't be here.

This is all very new territory.

I have to develop coping strategies for this one, otherwise it won't be pretty come August.


Saturday, 20 June 2009

A Breeze that Calmed me in the Night

I think I had a dream about you last night. At least I think it was you.
One conversation that I don't quite remember.

All I know is that I woke up this morning calmer than I had been in days.
I think you told me everything would be OK.

But you weren't here and I'm not quite sure where I was.
All I can picture is you looking into my eyes and telling me to hang in there.

So I am and I will.

Because this dream also happened some months ago. And once more, before that.
And I woke up feeling the same way.

I like this heady rush of knowing you're with me without physically being here.

I'll always be thankful for that.


Friday, 19 June 2009

The Story

I recently watched My Blueberry Nights with Norah Jones and Jude Law again. I ♥ that movie! There's one song in there that I really enjoy. A part of the lyrics read:

I don't know how to begin,
Cause the story has been told before.
I will sing along, I suppose.
I guess that's just how it goes,
The stories have all been told before.

More on this soon.


P.S: Does anyone even read this blog anymore?

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Global Footprints

It's been strange spending the second half of my life on this side of the planet.

I've spent exactly half my life in the east, and the other half here... and I sometimes still feel disjointed. I figured I'd someday get to a point where both halves of my life would meet in this invisible middle. And that perhaps all the things that confused me as a teen trying to battle the values of the east while trying to fit in with the west would somehow start to make sense.

Hasn't quite happened yet.

Everyday I am faced with new challenges and thought processes that force me to choose sides. Do I maintain my eastern values and pay attention to what was embedded into me as a child? Or do I go with the western flow and put myself first?

Some things I want to do might be considered selfish by eastern standards. But if I stay true to western influence, I will be doing the right thing.

It's this constant yo-yo of choices I've wanted to make lately, that's been gnawing away at my soul. How do I find balance?

A lot of people I know were born here, with immigrant parents or immigrant grandparents. Aside from their households, they've pretty much had a western education in terms of external influences.

Others have come here as adults, completely keen on tossing aside their eastern chips, trading them instead, for a western thought process so forward, it goes beyond the norm even by North American standards.

So again, how do I find balance with a dozen in the east and a dozen in the west? And if and when I do, how can I know I'm not hurting those I care about... those who've helped me get to this point?

It's a lot to process and I'm trying to take it one moment at a time. But sometimes the gates to my thoughts swing wide open and I can't stop the the flood of emotions from just overwhelming me.


Music Box

Do any of you have a distinct song you remember from your childhood? A song so etched in your being that every time you hear it, no matter what the setting, it takes you back to a precise time in your early years, where you can chalk out exactly what you were doing at that moment?

See, I have one of those songs. It's from one of my favourite movies as a child, called Chitty Chitty Bang Bang with Dick Van Dyke. It's a really old movie, and I know a lot of you reading this are wondering what it's all about (I've also been talking about it to some of you lately).

It's a movie about this widowed inventor, his two children and a car (with the title name). He takes his children on a picnic to the seaside in the car, and they ask him to tell them a story. He goes on to concoct this elaborate tale of fantasy, with pirates and barons and and child-catchers (scary, believe me), and this car.

It all seemed so believable back then.

But in all honesty, this movie acted as my babysitter during numerous market trips for my mother. As the neighbours kept a watchful eye on me, I'd be perched on the edge of the couch and find myself lost in the songs and fantasy that came from the little box across the room.

One of the songs was performed by the lead actress Sally Ann Howes. She was acting as a doll on a music box, performing for the baron on his birthday. She sang a song that went something like this:

What do you see? You people gazing at me?
You see a doll on a music box that's wound by a key.
Now can you tell I'm...
Under a spell, I'm...
Waiting for loves...
First kiss!

You cannot see...
How much I long to be free...
Turning around on this music box that's wound by a key.

Yearning... yearning....
Turning around and around.

Her name was Truly Scrumptious!

But this song has become almost haunting to me lately. I mean, not in a bad way. It's just that as a child it was a happy song. I sang it all the time. And when I found the DVD at HMV for $6 on Friday night, I thought I'd have a chance to revisit that feeling and those memories. But as I sat there and listened to the lyrics, I truly thought "Wow... it's so sad!"

If you're interested, I found the clip on YouTube. Check it out if you have a moment:


Sunday, 7 June 2009

They were dancing in the square!

Talk about a public display of shimmies and shakes!

I spent the better part of Saturday night Salsa dancing in Dundas Square! You can read all about it in my article on Spotlight Toronto.

Friday, 5 June 2009

Tweet if You ♥ Toronto

I just might be called YouTwitFace one day. Thank You, Conan O'Brien.

As of the past few days, you might consider me 'active tweeter'.

It's been an interesting experience so far. I've been on Twitter for a few months now, but only as of late have I been an active participant. It's sort of a challenge, actually. You get 140 characters each time to say what you need to say (cue John Mayer - a fellow tweeter).

But if you take away all the hashtags and threads, spambots and pornbots that lurk and follow you around as you tweet, you might actually be surprised to find somewhat of an extended community.

Unlike a lot of people who use Twitter, I have less than 100 people that I'm 'following'... and less than that number follow me. But I like it that way because it feels selective -- as though those people have chosen me for a reason, and likewise.

Sorry Miley Cyrus, I really don't want to know about your latte conundrums.

But perhaps my favourite part of joining Twitter is what I've noticed over the past couple of weeks. Everyday when I sign on I see a selective dialogue of things that are strictly Torontonian. Everything from Mayor Miller tweeting about council meetings, to Adam Giambrone talking about the new metro passes.

But between the superstars and notables, there's something understated that's quite worth mentioning: the tweeters who live and breathe all the things that make Toronto the city it is. These people are always on top of what's happening in our city - from live restaurant reviews and exhibits, to festivals, and sometimes random musings... they've brought the pulse of the city to this online community.

What I've learned from Toronto Tweets so far:

  • Torontonians LOVE their food. Seriously... I can't count the number of local chef references, vendors, lunch menus and bakery shop advice I've seen.
  • People get excited about the sunshine because it means they can go out and discover a new gem in the city.
  • Torontonians are passionate about local news. You may think no one cares, but people are paying attention to all the details in the city.
  • We're a fairly happy bunch. Seriously - there's always someone looking forward to something.

Some tweeters worth mentioning are:

SpotlightCity - stories, photos and articles (and a foodie haven) from the folks at SpotlightToronto.com - for the people, by the people.

NewsFixTo - these reporters love what they do. Most recently they provided up to the minute coverage of the Bush/Clinton visit, that rivaled any of the major news networks in the city. Plus, they have Pins on Maps!

BlogTO - Always up to date and current - everything from events and openings to food blogs.

As you can imagine, with tweeters such as these, there's a constant dialogue going on, focusing on everything from current affairs and news bites, to advice on the best hot dog vendors in town. All in real time.

And now, to make life easier for Toronto Tweeters, there's a fairly new website that's been developed called WeHeartToronto.Com. Although it's still making the rounds on Twitter, it's working to build a database of frequent Toronto based tweeters, and putting them into various categories such as technology, living, news, sports, traffic, people, etc.

If you go to their website, you can click on any of the categories and get real time tweets. The site feeds itself, as it updates every time someone who's listed in a category tweets. You can see the tweet on their homepage, followed by the category that they live in.

I can honestly say that since joining and paying attention, I've learned more about this city and the people who live in it than I ever thought possible. It's regular people who love Toronto, sharing in the beauty and pulse that makes this city as amazing as it is.


Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Count the Ways

By Wednesday morning I can say this has shaped out to be a long week, and we're not even quite over the hump yet.

But I take faith.

The other day someone was asked how his day was going. He responded with, "Good. At least I'm not at the bottom of the Atlantic."

Yes. As morbid and awful as that sounds, it's true, isn't it?

There were 32 countries represented on that fateful Air France flight #447 from Rio to Paris. For a list of nationalities click here.

Think about that.
32 countries.
228 people, ranging from infants to retirees.

One blogger I came across a couple of days ago called it a "whole world in a plane, now sharing a watery grave."

-- -- -- --

I know a lot of you I've spoken to over the past few days are going through some stormy times. But please take a few moments out of your day to count your many blessings. 

You don't need to be reminded that life is short - you see indications of it everyday. You don't need to be reminded that you've got one shot at this game - you don't need to come out as a winner, but you do need to be an active participant.

Try not to revel in the sadness that might consume you from trivial issues, but find beauty in the fact that you're a living, breathing, essential part of this world; and that you've woken up to a whole new day where you've been blessed with another shot at happiness.

Count the Ways.

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