Wednesday, December 29, 2010

"Happy" Christmas

Life has been beyond busy the last few months but it always catches up to you at Christmas time. The time of happiness and gratitude.

Except that, I usually notice more people miserable at Christmas. Personally, I stopped liking the holiday once the magic of Santa Clause was removed. That seems silly, especially now that I think of how terrifying the story of a stranger entering your house to give you things actually is.

However, this Christmas has ended my trying to enjoy the season. From now on I won't celebrate it. I'm sure at some point I'll eat my words but I cannot justify keeping something so negative in my life any longer.

With the new year approaching, I am continuing my journey to happiness and that means surrounding myself with positives and things that I enjoy.

This Christmas I have witnessed behaviour fair beyond what the meaning of Christmas is supposed to be. It's not about the gifts. It has never been about the gifts for me. I would rather give than receive.

I spent Christmas night in my room in order to "keep the peace" in my family. I got called Anti-Catholic at work because I dislike the holiday by a Catholic who did not attend Church on Christmas AND the Sunday after. And the audacity of such a statement when I'd rather have nothing for the "Celebration of Jesus' Birth" and because I've seen this religious holiday destroyed and demoralized to the point of no recognition disgusts me.

I don't begrudge anyone who gets joy and love from the season. I have just witnessed too much pain and suffering from this one day, this season that I cannot fathom going further with it.

Cheers to the new year!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

"Without the War"

To hold the power to change history would be both a blessing and a curse. No one who has that power would actually be able to fore see the changes that would occur in a permanent way for all of society. More good could occur, yet at the same time there is the unforeseeable bad as well. As life is all twisted up in the past, that one change could even result in that person with the power not being born.
However, taking all of the risks into account, if I had this incredible power of change, I would choose to change the occurrence of the Great War. I’d make sure that diplomacy was a key role between nations. I’d ensure that Europe was peaceful. The militarism that was occurring would be put to a halt in these talks between nations, with each country holding an army but not going into an arms race. Nationalism would not create tension between nations but a bonding point to share customs and gain knowledge of one another for a new understanding of Europe. United together as one, but still individual nations.
This change would create such a different world than the one we are living in today. Without the Great War, it is possible no depression would occur, no Second World War, no Cold War, and no War on Terrorism. The entire century would be completely revamped. It is quite possible that this change would have just delayed the inevitable but wishful thinking makes one believe otherwise.
Why would I choose such a drastic change? Being to more than one World War I cemetery has really made the impact of that war stand out—the senseless deaths that just led to more and more loss. Yes, the soldiers fought well and brave and for me. For that I am eternally grateful, but if the war hadn’t occurred, they would have lived full lives. A generation of men would not have died. And just decades later, another war wiped them out again. The Great War really began a century of violence and turbulence that has made the entire world paranoid. Unfortunately, this is the world I have grown up in and though I can still see the love and beauty that is around, I wish more people were able to put their guard down. Embrace one another instead of being leery of unknown people, countries, and races.
I would change the occurrence of the Great War in hopes that people would be able to accept each other more. It is not a lot to ask for tolerance, but it is understandable in this day and age, with the world’s history, why people are unable to be more tolerant. The yearning for a little world stability has reached its breaking point, and World War I seems to have been the catalyst for the events that led up to this point in 2010.
Hopefully, even without this alteration, the world will reach peace and stability for the sake of all human kind soon. Especially for the past generations, those who gave the present so much to be thankful for and for the future generations, in order for them to be more open, more loving and more compassionate with one another.

(I have no idea how I got this published back in 2007 but I did!)

Life in a Shoebox

Life in a Shoebox
Biology must play a roll in where you end up working. My grandmother on my father’s side worked in a shoe store and now I find myself in the same situation. I mean, our situations aren’t the “same” seeing is she worked on the East Coast and I work in Southern Ontario and the stores are different, but shoes haven’t changed much in regards to the components that make them up-insole, upper and outsole. I’m probably even selling similar styles that she did when she worked in Halifax seeing is what’s fashionable goes in and out of style constantly. As per a discussion with a co-worker though, I hope acid washed jeans don’t make a comeback no matter how hard they are trying. Some things were never fashionable.
I wonder sometimes if my grandma ever thought I’d be selling shoes like she did. I mean, my selling usually revolves around the client and a lot of the time fashion. Whereas I would think she’d have focused more on quality. Which comments on the society we have created, quantity over quality, and disposable one-use products, versus having shoes for 20 years because they were built properly and with quality materials. Now I do see the upside to man-made materials and saving the planet that way. But it has to come down to 6 of one, half a dozen of another-disposable products taking up a landfill or farming animals for human use. Essentially it leads to the same end-selfishness on the part of human beings always one step “ahead” of the lesser beings on the food chain. Forgetting their instincts, drive to survive, and the ability to pass genes along in order to preserve our own genes within the world.
It comes down to human beings being like shoes. They have an insole, an upper, and an outsole and just like shoes it comes down to the quality of materials and craftsman ship of the individuals who made them. Each person is uniquely crafted to how they end up and how they are defined, just as shoes are defined. Maybe a “stuck up” person would be a high heel and perhaps, a “manly man” is a hiking boot. With shoes, yes the outsole and upper are important, but these all come down to aesthetics and personal preference rather than true need. Just like shoes, in humans the person is based on their “Insole” and how the insole was constructed varies from person to person. In shoes, most people look for a shoe that fits comfortably. While that may not be an exact replica in people, we do look for people we “fit” with, whether it in a friendship or romantic relationship.
The insole, or personality, of a person is shaped in the unending debate of nature verse nurture, that is to say, unlike shoes, the potential to have been born with certain traits. But either way, a human’s inner self is shaped through mechanical hands that twist and tug and pull until they are shaped into what appears to be a human being.
Yet, this is not what people usually look to when considering a shoe or a human being. I, myself, will admit to choose shoes based solely on the look and not the comfort, choosing based on the upper and outsole rather than the insole. And everyday humans make these judgments about other peoples outsole and upper. Rather, the barrier that protects their inner self from being worn by those undeserving of finding the comfort of their insole. The part that was sculpted with loving hands, not bitterness or anger, but gentle caresses, sweet whisperings and most of all love.
So yes, humans are like shoes. They possess an insole, an outsole and an upper, all of which they are judged on and criticized about. But the difference between a “good” shoe and a “bad” shoe is always the test of time, the equation of how long you can have them without wearing out and how long you can wear them without giving in. It’s all about the insole.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Disrupting An Education.

My friend Megan directed me to a Maclean's Article in which the discussion of eliminating Frosh Week from Universities all together is an idea on the table and up for discussion.

The article focuses on my Alma Mater, in particular, Queen's University, since there was a tragic death of a First Year Student the Monday classes began. All the details have not yet been disclosed in regards to this student's death. This seems to have capitulated the end to Frosh Week since the Police believe alcohol may have been involved.

I do not mean to sound inconsiderate or ignorant. I went to Queen's. In fact, I went to their Castle in England, where the number one past time was going to the pub. I know the drinking culture, I know that excessive drinking leads to dangerous situations. I also know that last year a student at Queen's died because he felt very alone while integrated into the Queen's society. Attending classes, making friends in residence and never giving an indication that his death was impending for the rest of the world.

Now, if you take away the first week of fun, games, and entertainment to meet people and make friends, how many more young students will end up feeling alienated and lost on campus? Queen's isn't even THAT large in regards to the size of many Universities and Colleges. To remove this integral part of getting into the groove and the beginning of finding your place for the next four years is absolutely insane.

I went to Queen's Campus in my second year, due to my first year being abroad, and I had friends going with me, yet there were a huge amount of times I felt left out and lost in Queen's Society. Part of that was me yes. But I cannot imagine having my "Newts Week" (New, Exchange, Transfer Students) being gone. I met new people, I made new friends and closer friends and I found a niche I knew i could turn too. I found people in a similar situation as myself, proving that there is strength in numbers.

Honestly, canceling Homecoming and now looking into ending Frosh Week, is not going to end excessive drinking or cut down on deaths from over consumption of alcohol. Education will help with that. Teaching responsibility will help. But Banning events and getting rid of places for students to connect and enjoy themselves won't. It will just alienate them further and create a campus that is further dissolved.

I know what it feels like to sing the "Oil Thigh" with Alumni 80 plus years old. I know what school spirit is. Yes, it has nothing to do with alcohol and partying. But striping a school of traditions and enjoyment isn't a University education. It's making the young grow up faster and enter into the cold, harsh, adult world, sooner than they need to worry about.

The collective education of class, papers, readings, parties, clubs, sports teams, and committees is a true University education. You cut out Homecoming, you lose some. You cut out Frosh week and the scale slides even more.

University is a time of self-discovery and as integral in the growth process of those who attend (Note: I am referring to the age range of 17-24, not just those who go to Universities!). Having a supportive but understanding family away from home is what counts. Learning, academics and "real life", counts.

Essentially, it comes down to the question: Why even have an Alma Mater if you can't celebrate it?

See Maclean's "The beginning of the end of frosh week"

Friday, September 3, 2010

Underwater Sensations

Mermaids do exist. In the form of underwater beauties or rather synchronized swimmers.

Now synchronized swimming has always had a hard time establishing itself as a "sport" but let's be honest, how many Pro football or hockey players can hold their breathe while performing?

Just as dance has recently been pushed to the forefront of athleticism, due to popular reality shows such as "So You Think You Can Dance?" and "Dancing with the Stars," it is finally being recognized as a sport. With the most recent winner of the former being displayed on Gatorade bottles.

The misconception that sports like dance, gymnastics and synchronized swimming are not in fact "sports" or the argument that they aren't true sports remains to me incomprehensible and faulty.

The Oxford English Dictionary defines sport as "an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment"

This definition alone should be enough to convince naysayers but a lot of times it's not. And it's not worth my time to convince people that holding your breathe and depriving your body of oxygen (crucial to body functioning and life) while performing physically exhausting figures and lifts against water pressure is by definition a sport.

However, synchronized swimming is also an art form.

Beauty and grace combined with strength, agility, flexibility and creativity.

So before you stop believing in the unbelievable, look up Synchronized Swimming on YouTube and see the modern Mermaids that exist and compete in teams, duets, and solos in a sport that with growing credibility still gets flooded with negativity by those whose brains have been waterlogged.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

New Blog. First Post.

Since I did not get involved in school newspapers, for various reasons, my article writing and samples are far behind those of my fellow BAH English Graduates. Putting me at a disadvantage in this crazy job sparse world.

In order to try and catch up, I figured the best way to do so would be with a blog. This will also allow my to express interesting, unique and generally amazing finds from new music to that vintage treasure I found when wandering.

I tried to come up with the most appropriate and fitting name for this blog. Something that would sum up both my character as well as what the blog would be about. As well as ensuring I would not get bored with the title I decided upon. As sometimes my attention span can be lax. When I told people I was trying to come up with a good name, the two suggestions I got were 'The Wrath of Kath' and 'Crazy Kath Lady.' Both of which I enjoy and love because the girls who came up with them are clever and insightful. However, because this is a public blog with the potential to be an online portfolio for me I thought they may have given the wrong first impression.

I settled on "The Kat's Meow" because Kat is becoming more of a nickname for me than I could have anticipated. The play on words is fun and I do love cats, in particular, my cat Shrimp. Because of Shrimp I have learned that "meows" can mean many different things and he uses them for a variety of reasons. Hence, my conclusion that "The Kat's Meow" encompasses all that I wanted to discuss and explore in this blog.

Stay tuned!