Wednesday, September 30, 2009

can i get a witness?

if you be on facebook, you can join The Lake Effect group for news and even hear the show there. details there on how to listen on your DAB radio if you find yourself in Ireland.

(you won't see me there as it'd mean me reactiving my account and i don't plan to do that for the time being but assume for now i am there in spirit.)

one of the rubbish things about really emotionally low in the opening months of this year was that it pretty much killed my love of music. in absence of being able to fly to Toron'o and being able to hang out with ewan and his vinyl collection and being taken on one of his tailor-made magical mystery tours, this really is the next best thing. it's a defibrillator for my musical senses...

(click here to keep reading)

The Lake Effect

episodes one and two now online... 



Tuesday, September 29, 2009

caught my ear

the latest Speaking of Faith, Living Islam features loads of Helios to _beautiful_ effect. 

you can hear the full playlist here. but i recommend the programme. some powerful reflections
from American Muslims on their sense of national and religious identity. this is a particularly striking interview, with Allee A. Ramadhan Sr. 
Feruze Faison's story is also really worth the time...

Recently, when I was attending the mosque, I noticed young people learning to recite the 114 Suras of the Quran. Those who have accomplished that effort have truly taken on and succeeded at a wonderful task. But I could not help but think that understanding is as important as reciting.
For my understanding allows me to recite the whole of the Quran in under five minutes. It is simply "I am the Lord thy God and I am a jealous God. Worship me and me alone." The rest are footnotes. I say that because I see man as pursued by the four horsemen of destruction: arrogance, ignorance, greed, and envy. As I look at man's history I can assign all the wars, human abuses, and man's indifference to suffering to one or more of these horsemen. It is only when we worship the one God as my holy book instructs that we remain humble. - Allee A Ramadahn Sr.


Monday, September 28, 2009

for a good cause...

have a looksee. support if you can...

The Tumnus Project


transmission coming soon, eh...

headzup yo, 

okay, this kind of caught us unawares. i've been waiting for a while now to be able to send you in the direction of The Lake Effect - my brother's first radio show, focussing on the Toronto music scene, which is being played on RTE's alternative digital station, 2XM.

wanna know more? click here: to keep reading transmission coming soon, eh...

Thursday, September 24, 2009

best kind of distraction


intermittent silences on these pages of late is, delightfully, because life is good. very good. and full. and good.
so, for once i can say, confidentally assume i'm doing well, and when i get the chance, the correspondance i owe to several of you will come... eventually.

so, health and happiness to all.

since they proved popular the other day, thanks to those who mailed to say, yay,
here's more from The Weepies...with a lovely fan created animation. enjoy...

you're golden.


Monday, September 21, 2009

there's only one way of life...

and that's your own. 

i picked this up at the daily dish. i've now read it 3 times. as a commenter says, a perfect pitch post.

Tim Kreider's great NYT essay on the lives we have not led... 


Saturday, September 19, 2009

make hope...

this is for Mark and Sara, who get married today. i so wish i was there in Nashville to celebrate this day with them, but i have to settle for being there in spirit. and that, i definitely am. as an engagement present mark bought sara a print that she loved, which reminded her of Chagall. so this seemed an appropriate way to honour the day ...

i've posted the weepies here before and i know i will again. awesome band. thanks to gail for gifting them to me. everyone should have this band in their collection. by law.

so, without further ado, _much_ love to mark and sara. may happiness be yours for many many days to come dear friends...
and may love bless you both.

Painting by Chagall by the Weepies.

Thunder rumbles in the distance, a quiet intensity
I am willful, your insistence is tugging at the best of me
You're the moon, I'm the water
You're Mars, calling up Neptune's daughter

Sometimes rain that's needed falls
We float like two lovers in a painting by Chagall
All around is sky and blue town
Holding these flowers for a wedding gown
We live so high above the ground, satellites surround us.

I am humbled in this city
There seems to be an endless sea of people like us
Wakeful dreamers, I pass them on the sunlit streets
In our rooms filled with laughter
We make hope from every small disaster

Everybody says "you can't, you can't, you can't, don't try."
Still everybody says that if they had the chance they'd fly like we do.


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

standing up for what's right...

a superb post over at Peterson's blog today. he shares a breathtaking and powerful testimony - the case for standing up for transgender rights. 

this is a fiercely subversive witness to the justice (what cornel west called, "what love looks like in public") that changes the world if we live it.

as for me... i believe this universe is not ours to dictate who gets welcomed in. we are already all inside it. and all are welcome in it. where anyone is not being made welcome, pushed to the edges, not being honoured so that we all might live in authentic dignity, or not being given equality of respect, then there's work to be done. i believe living in radical welcome is redemption. for all of us.

there is nothing half-hearted about the gospel. if it isn't radically challenging and changing how we live in this world - transforming it, and us, into something more loving and beautifully human, then it's not the gospel of radical love in action.

it's all. or nothing.


RIP Patrick Swayze

carpe diem, people. none of us is promised a four score years and ten...

Patrick Swayze faced his illness with incredible courage, honesty and dignity.
and this is how he will be remembered by so many... and certainly by me. unquestionably a
cultural icon for my generation. certainly to the teenage girls we once were, and somewhere in us, still are and probably always will be...

no one puts Baby in the corner... 

you tell 'em, Jonny.


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

comic. genius.

it's highly likely if you are reading this then you will know that i have a brother, ewan, and he is of immeasurable value to me. i'm looking forward to being able to promote a project he's about to embark on, which is one of the many lovely new things making this early autumn such a good season.

there is to match his gentle nature his incredible humour. and so i simply draw your attention to the comments below yesterday's post.

brother. i don't know how you imagine this stuff into existence, but i _love_ it.

:) :)


Sunday, September 13, 2009

bonnet rippers

i have now twice been tempted to take a photograph of the Paranormal Romance section in Dublin's branch of Waterstone's bookstore. simply because i can't believe such a thing is that popular that it gets its own section. it seems at a glance to be filled by multiple titles by a limited number of authors. but still, it's a full floor to ceiling genre. the almost exclusively blood-red-type-on-black- background covers seem to all feature pale skinned corseted women whom i can only assume have fallen for an immortal lover. and all look like they're on the verge of fainting. possibly with passion. possibly because their corsets need loosened.

seems however that near fainting is not reserved for women with a liking for the undead... see Bonnet Books from today's Daily Dish. my one question is this: why do the women on the covers appear to be wearing make-up? actually i have more than one question. i have several. but i'll let it be. it's not my thing. if it helps women connect in any way to their sexual desire in anything close to a positive fashion and without them feeling guilty for having it, then i suppose there might be a case for the genre. did i just say that? man, i must be in a good mood at the moment.

going by what i saw on a pre-gb09 trip to a well known Belfast Christian bookstore (to find books to be torn up and used to "make fire" in the Pyrotheology ritual) the Christian answer to Mills & Boon novels is a booming market. there was a huge stock of titles.

still, lest anyone fear i've recently had a full frontal lobotomy, while i was there i re-shelved a book on Evangelical Feminism into the Christian fiction section. as i had been advised before the visit, a little act of anarchy redeems the whole experience. and it did.

also seen and going no where near my wish list but made me laugh. well, groan if truth be told: Men are from Moab. Women are from Israel. Men are from Israel. Women are from Moab.
edited to add: i suspected i had that wrong. and i did. i'm sure it makes a _lot_ more sense round thataway.


Saturday, September 12, 2009

all good things...

this has been one intense and enlivening and terrifying and stunning week. it's left me exhausted and surprised and joyed and overwhelmed in the best possible and realised way.
i'm afraid to write anything right now. if i start, i don't know if i'd be able to stop.

so, for now, colour me loving life and feeling hopeful at what's unfurling.
and spending sunday buried in reading for school. and probably my duvet.
first on the list, virginia woolf.

i count all this as bliss.


Friday, September 11, 2009

begin again, contd.

read the poetry here


begin again

"If one dream should fall and break into a thousand pieces, never be afraid to pick one of those pieces up and begin again."

—Flavia Weedn

(text that accompanies the amazing image for Revealing Ramadan - this week's Speaking of Faith.)


Monday, September 07, 2009

and so it all begins...

so, it all kicks off tomorrow.
the student portal, the likes of which i've never seen, has opened up now that i've picked my optional modules (a course on Masculinities in semester 1 and one on Sexualities in semester 2) and my registration is complete. the only word i need is: overwhelmed. and i'm not talking about the reading and research hours for my courses. i started totting them up and then thought there are some things better not knowing all at once. 

when i was last a student you got online by dial up. i'm not sure the guardian had a website. if it did, i didn't use it. i read the paper version every day. broadband wasn't even in my vocabulary.
if i wanted a book from the library, which could only hold a handful of people at a time, it was found by physical card search with no computer database. and the entire student body on my particular campus would fit on a double decker bus.

so i've just learned that in the university there are 5 colleges and in my college (of 4,500 students) there are 10 schools. and in my school there are two departments, Equality, and Women, both with undergraduate and graduate programmes. i'm thinking of making up a song a la, "and on that tree" from the wicker man to keep it all clear in my mind. the library takes up a massive building. there's a church and a bank and a bicycle store. and i need a map to know how to get to class. i've lived in villages with less than this.

and i have just realised that i am about to find myself amongst a student body in which the first year undergrads are half my age. half! how did that happen? i just hope that maybe they too find the whole thing just a little overwhelming.
and worse still, i realised i accepted my offer without first checking if there's anywhere to get a decent cup of coffee. fortunately a look at the campus map shows 3 branches of my favourite Irish caffeine chain, Insomnia.

and suddenly all seems well with the world again.


if i thought the student portal is overwhelming this... well this is the future. now.  

Sunday, September 06, 2009

movie magic...

from The Daily What

this is doing the viral rounds and it's quite wonderful.
a history of movie of special effects. nicely done. certainly made me smile.


Friday, September 04, 2009

summer's over... be glad to be alive

in other news, i have finally rectified something i have somehow overlooked - cheryl's blog is now listed in my blogs i'm following. always worth a looksee. [hold :: this space] over there --->


this next couple of days is all about back-to-school. i now have my work area set up. but clearing shelves to make way for my soon-to-be feminist library leaves me wishing i could snap my fingers to tidy up the nursery guest bedroom, where i dumped all the stuff needing an alternative home. apparently in every job that must be done there is an element of fun. right now i need some convincing of that. i think the element of fun is hidden under a pile of stuff.

and there's folders to be bought, notebooks and paper, and ink and a diary and i'm thinking one is never too old for the excitement of going to get one's new stationery. i can still remember getting my brown leather satchel from WHSmith for my first day at school. satchel not shown in this picture of that auspicious day 31 years ago...

a couple of fridays back i took a late morning train from dublin to belfast and at tea time (far too few hours later for my comfort frankly) this happened. disturbingly, it's been revealed the train authorities were warned 5 days earlier by a group of very concerned Sea Scouts, having watched the weir erode progressively for two months. nothing was done in response of the warning of imminent collapse, and it is something like a miracle that the last train made it across the collapsing rails and that no one was killed or injured.
all to say, with the massive disruption to the busiest rail line in the country, it meant for me my plan to finally bring my bike to dublin from belfast was instantly banjaxed. and for at least the rest of '09, as i can't put a bike on the bus. so a car journey is needed to get it here. (i like cycling but to be honest 100+ miles seems a little excessive. especially to my backside.)
in the meantime, i'll be using public transport to get to school. and so today features the first experiment, or dry run before classes start on tuesday. i have numerous options for getting there (buses, trams, walking) but there's no direct route from home to the university. i'm currently poring over maps and timetables planning the route. somehow i doubt Iarnr√≥d √Čireann would be obliging if i sent them my bus and tram fares i'll be paying 'til i have my bike.

but i say all that because i need to remember: whatever the inconvenience, it's better to be jumping on and off buses than lots of people on a train, including me, being dead. given the choice, i'll gladly take the disruption. 


some final gb09 photos from Mo and i. thanks MoMo. feel free to add captions/thought bubbles for the last one... :)

(jayne on the ferry home; the irish sea takes us back to dublin; me at Padraig's poetry reading; dinner with Chris at camp fury; at Duke Special with Jayne; i would love to know what it was we were discussing... )


it was 33 years ago today

happy birthday to my ewan... 
i love him like no other. because he was, is and always will be, my little brother.      


it really is as simple and incomparable as that.

all done with smoke and mirrors.

top 3 are mine. thanks to Ben and Mo for rest of the photos. Ben's lovely album of the night can be found at this link


Tuesday, September 01, 2009

all sinners. all saints.

there is so much to write about, it's going to take all week. but here's photos i love
of some amazing folks. it was great to get to hang with the Denver crew. a total highlight
to see them again and meet some i hadn't met before. and their bluegrass eucharist on saturday night was wonderful. talk about orthodox anarchy. i loved it. here are just some of them that i managed to get snaps of... these folks rock the cazbah in such a massive way for me and i am so
grateful they came to bear witness to what they've got going on as a community...

Amy. with her always beaming smile and her seriously cool wellies to go with
her persistently cutting wit...

a total delight to get to hang once again with Matthew (Mr Nadia, a Lutheran priest himself and a wonderful musician) and have some lovely chat. he is wise and i will be chewing on his thoughts for ages. (snapped here with Jonny in the morning sunshine)

and Nadia. what can i say about this tornado force of a woman? she has been such a gift since our worlds intersected. i'm totally remiss in that don't have a photo of Cheryl or any of the aussie ladies from this weekend. but time with Cheryl again this year was equally wonderful and a total highlight. i had lovely times chatting with her and Blythe.
that i took Eucharist on Saturday served to me by Nadia and Cheryl was
about as real as it gets. my eyes were brimming as i stood before them and accepted the bread and wine and words they held together.
we were on a panel together on Sunday and i was so honoured.
they are such an inspiration, challenge and example to me. and i love them both dearly.