Sunday, September 24, 2006

Trouble afoot at the Walrus

Oooh, things are getting interesting on D.B. Scott's Canadian Magazines blog. In particular, see a conversation that's happening about The Walrus (a Canadian magazine much like Harper's). Last week, most of the board quit, as did the publisher. Now, things have gotten so heated on D.B.'s blog, that the editor himself has started posting comments. If you're interested in Canadian magazines, you'll be interested in this:

Canadian Magazines: We're OK, it's OK, say Walrus principals

I have to say, I met Ken Alexander, the Walrus's editor, once, and I wasn't impressed.


Saturday, September 16, 2006

Will things ever calm down, and AAARGH!

Ok, I rephrase that. It's Saturday morning and in fact, I have nothing to do. Everyone's busy...It has been such a weird summer, with friends getting divorced, moving out of boyfriends' houses, getting new jobs, taking care of baby...To tell the truth, it's been fairly boring. Now, I don't want to complain, but I have to say, I'm getting pretty tired of entertaining myself and the cats. I'm actually thinking of joining the local running and hiking clubs. They do say that they are effective means of meeting people. But enough of feeling sorry for myself. The point is, it's a grey Saturday, and I finally have time to blog again.

Work has been crazy busy, and I'm pleased to say, I survived h-e-double hockeysticks week: four projects, all with competing deadlines, all of which were due this week. Craziness. But I survived, and I'm looking forward to November, where I can actually plan out my critical path and sit down with my boss to put together some goals and achievables, rather than just reacting to the next crisis and deadline.

As for the love life, well, things with e-harmony dude didn't really work out. It's amazing how 'into' me he seemed, yet he never called or wanted to make plans to get together. The lesson learned: ALWAYS trust your instincts - I didn't have a good feeling about this one, and actually cancelled our first date, but he convinced me out of it. I ended up breaking up with him for exactly the reasons I cancelled our first date. How empowering to actually be the breaker-upper!

So now, the door is wide open for me to explore other possibilities. And who knows what may come of it?

That's about as personal as I'm going to get on my blog. And now, for something completely different:

A friend just sent me this from the BBC site, and I couldn't believe it. What does this mean for Rachel Carson's legacy? I'm going to have to do some serious thinking about the implications of this WHO decision. Just when you think you have things figured out, life throws another twist at you:

WHO backs DDT for malaria control
Malaria, carried by the mosquito, kills more than a million each year The World Health Organization (WHO) has reversed a 30-year policy by endorsing the use of DDT for malaria control.
The chemical is sprayed inside houses to kill malaria-carrying mosquitoes.
DDT has been banned globally for every use except fighting disease because of its environmental impacts and fears for human health.
WHO says there is no health risk, and DDT should rank with bednets and drugs as a tool for combating malaria, which kills more than one million each year.
"The scientific and programmatic evidence clearly supports this reassessment," said Dr Anarfi Asamoa-Baah, WHO assistant director- general for HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria.
DDT presents no health risk when used properly Anarfi Asamoa-Baah "Indoor residual spraying is useful to quickly reduce the number of infections caused by malaria-carrying mosquitoes; it has proven to be just as cost effective as other malaria prevention measures, and DDT presents no health risk when used properly."
Teams of sprayers typically visit endemic areas once a year, spraying the chemical on the inside walls of houses; mosquitoes landing there absorb it and die.
Global ban
A potent insecticide, DDT fell into disrepute with the publication of Rachel Carson's Silent Spring just over 40 years ago.
The book showed that widespread, indiscriminate use of DDT and related compounds was killing wildlife over vast tracts of North America and western Europe.
Spray preparation, BBC
Africa battles over DDT
A number of countries banned it, and in 2004 the global treaty on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) made the prohibition global - except for a clause allowing its manufacture and use in disease control.
Some African countries have continued to use it, though most have either switched to other kinds of insecticide or pursued a strategy of issuing insecticide-impregnated bednets. Some aid agencies have policies of not funding programmes involving DDT.
South Africa was one country that switched, but it had to return to DDT at the beginning of the decade after mosquitoes developed resistance to the substitute compounds.
"Of the dozen insecticides WHO has approved as safe for house spraying, the most effective is DDT," said Arata Kochi, director of the WHO's Global Malaria Programme.
Richard Tren of the pressure group Africa Fighting Malaria has been campaigning for DDT's rehabilitation.
"All development agencies and endemic countries need to act in accordance with WHO's position on the use of DDT for indoor residual spraying," he said.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

SRC weeks 12? 13? where did I drop off?


Well I have no idea what week I'm on, since Anna Karenina swallowed up about three weeks. But let's say it's week 13. Wicked was...all right. I don't know if I hyped it up too much cause of the reviews it got from others, or it's simply a poorly written book, or just not my genre. It started off great, it ended ok, but in the middle was about 200 pages of loosely-strung out and vague adventures that I had to force myself to follow. Glad I ticked it off my TBR list, but don't think it deserves the accolades it's received.

The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency

Well, I can't say I've met my challenge. But I CAN say that SRC inspired me to read much more than I would have in the past. My final book (which I'm just wrapping up now) is _The No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency_. I have to say, I've been pleasantly suprised thus far. It's quite a different, non-western take on the detective novel, and as the jacket flap says, it's also a pretty inspirational book. Thanks SRC for inspiring me to read more!

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Sunday Scribblings

Argh it is so hard to keep up with my blog these days! I've been busy launching our new website at work and doing tons of overtime (though in a non-profit I'm learning that OT really isn't counted) and seeing my guy in the evenings, or just plain crashing. Now that our website is up and running, I am moving on to getting our newsletter to art, and then working on our annual report and calendar. There certainly isn't a shortage of work, but every time I walk by the sign for our organization, I do a little cheer in my head each morning, because that's how much I love my new job :)

Anyhoo, this week's Sunday Scribblings prompt is about fortunes or fortune cookies. I generally don't believe in that whole fortune-telling thing (or maybe I'm too superstitious to try it out), but I do love fortune cookies. And although I am not feeling very inspired by this prompt (sorry, SS peeps), I will write a little sum'n-sum'n just to get the creative juices flowing.

Fortune cookies always remind me of my best friend Lenya and our highschool days. In grade nine, we had to take the bus from our school to the Sheppard Mall (a ghost mall then, and a ghost mall today) and then transfer over to another bus to get home.

Lenya and I would occasionally take public transit together back from school, then instead of heading to our transfers, trek down to the mall, and hang out. Now my parents had always said that they didn't want me to become a mall rat, and dear reader, I must assure you that we were far from that. But anyways, Len and I would meander over to the food court, sharing notes about our favorite guys in science or typing class (yes, typing class - I think we were the last grade to actually learn typing on typewriters, and thus I date myself...) still dressed in our burgundy and grey Catholic school uniforms, and make our way to the Chinese food stand.

We'd wait in line, often for a few minutes at a time. Then, when our turn came up, we'd step forward, and brazenly order...

a fortune cookie.

No lo-mein, no chicken balls, no barbequed beef. Just...

a fortune cookie.

Lord knows what the teller thought of us as we doled out our 15 cents (or was it 25) in order to purchase that crunchy sweet morsel wrapped around a sliver of a fortune. But we didn't care, and the purchasing of the fortune cookie became a little ritual of ours.

One day, late in the school year, we headed over again to the Chinese food stand, full of gossip about a guy we called "suspenders" (because he had an endearing way of wearing suspenders with his uniform), who had looked especially cute that day and had sat next to me in typing class. Len and I had shared numerous poorly-typed notes back and forth comparing notes on dear suspenders during class, and were chatting away about what tomorrow would bring. Our turn came in line. I fished out my change, and found that I only had 10 cents in my wallet. And Len had none.

With a small sigh, I stepped to turn away from the counter, when a kind lady standing next to us opened her wallet and offered to pay for my fortune cookie. I've never truly gotten over the embarrassment of that moment, and I can't quite imagine what she must have thought of us...Perhaps she thought we were starved (though I never was the skin and bones type). That didn't stop me from accepting her offer, and taking the cellophane-wrapped fortune cookie with me, cheeks blazing red from embarrassment. I can't remember what my fortune said that day.

The next year, our school moved to within walking distance from my house, so Len and I no longer took the bus together, but instead met at school. The gossip was never quite the same, although we've stayed life-long friends. But I often think back on our little ritual of purchasing a sliver of hope, when our whole lives still stretched before us, and it makes me smile for the optimism we shared back then.