Tuesday, June 29, 2021


 Awake at 3am, soaked in sweat.

Having given up on finding an air conditioner, Erika and I spent a part of last night shopping for an available hotel room to sleep in, and/or an additional electric fan to help generate extra coolness with. 

No dice. (And no aircon, no extra fan, and no cool room to sleep in - it's all booked up, sold out, TAKEN). 

We've left the cat at Erika's work - there's a room much cooler there than ours and though we have some misgivings about not being there with him, he's going to be soooo much more comfortable there than he would be here (he really wasn't doing too well yesterday - he barfed all over one of his blankets and was just lying there in it, like he didn't much care, just limp and flat and exhausted). We tried to find a vet who could put him up for the night - also nada, no luck, no dice. I spent most of yesterday at MY work, tutoring from the campus, where there is air conditioning, and Erika will be back there at her job in a few hours to hang out with him again. 

I kinda wish he were here, or we were there, but it is soooo hot here... am scheduled to get my second COVID vaccine today, but they've changed locations because the first site was too hot! Not quite sure how that's going to play out, but I sure could use a few more hours before I have to deal with it (and with work - the show must go on, come 9:45AM).

Falling asleep wasn't too bad, but waking up after three hours isn't too good. Gonna go back to bed, but we're up for a bit to pee and hydrate and splash ourselves with cool water. 

Hot as I've ever been. Japan used to have some wicked heat in summer, when I lived there, but this feels worse - fear-for-this-planet worse. 

Arrgh. Stay cool folks. Good luck. 

Friday, June 18, 2021


Waiting for the pharmacy to call about the second shot - they missed week eight, I guess (which for me finishes today). I'm anxious about what to get now that NACI has actually RECOMMENDED getting Pfizer or Moderna if your first shot was AZ. My doctor's homepage doesn't really weigh in one way or another - it says it is "safe" but resists making claims about it being preferred or more effective, which makes me wonder if NACI knows something my doctor doesn't, or if my doctor is just more cautious (which is what I suspect). Still kinda resent that I have to try to sort out which way to go; getting vaccinated in a pandemic shouldn't be this complicated!

In other news, I did not make it to a record store on Record Store Day to buy Lou Reed's Set the Twilight Reeling on LP. It's a Lou I actually quite like - it is kinda jammy and off-the-cuff compared to, say, Ecstasy or Magic and Loss, but has some real wit on it, and, I mean, "Hookywooky" is idiotically fun - but the one store I asked for a price was asking $46. That's TWO HOURS of work at my day job, for me - I just can't justify it. 

Mostly I'm going to be trying to focus my energies this weekend on transcribing John Wright. I kinda sure don't FEEL like writing right now, though. Erika's away, I'm not at work, and I kinda just want to shake loose a little, take a walk or something - I've been sitting in this chair all week. I couldn't even pick a movie to watch last night, I'm so restless - ended up spending an hour and a half on ContraPoints' video on JK Rowling, which was VERY entertaining and very helpful in confirming stuff I suspected about Rowling but - not being trans, barely knowing anyone trans - had no confidence about asserting. Thanks, Natalie! 

The big excitement this weekend? Midsommar director's cut at the Rio on Sunday. I've only been able to do it previously as an iTunes download. If you liked the theatrical version, the director's cut is longer and richer. As I put it in a FB message, "the central male-female dynamic and its archetypal resonances - a bit more unilinear. The half hour added to this cut fleshes out the academic rivalry between the men and other aspects of the men's narratives, and gets a bit more into the feelings about the female character's re: her sister's suicide, all of which actually widens the space the movie deals with and makes it richer and deeper, and a little less suspect, misogyny-wise." (In its shorter form, while still rich, it seems like it MIGHT just reduce to being a "devouring vagina" movie; it is hard to be that simple about it in the director's cut). Anyhow, that's nice. Which I'd had a double-dose of whatever vaccine they're gonna give me by this point, but fuckit, I'm going to the movie, one dose will do (the last movie I saw theatrically, they didn't even HAVE vaccines yet, so...).

Note - for those who have missed it, this is the richest, most interesting film - even better than Left Bank or Apostle, both of which I loved - to deal with neo-Paganism since The Wicker Man. While it is mostly psychological, artful and slowly-paced, it also has a couple of really upsetting, shocking bits of horror that you should know exist BEFORE you go see the film - it's not for the fragile. Brilliant film, tho'. Good work, Rio - this is an inspired programming choice. (I thought you were a sports bar now?). 

Saturday, June 12, 2021

Staying on the topic of unmarked burials and mass graves...

Yet another thing I've posted first on Facebook, but am re-posting here. Not really caring about writing about pop culture lately - have another project in the works, maybe, dealing with this (AFTER I clear John Wright). It was a bit of an ugly week for me on Facebook - I got annoyed with a trivial meme that called for "arresting teachers, priests and nuns" who worked at residential schools - hardly "the next step," here, and not even something that I think should be done. Had a couple of idiots describe me as a Nazi sympathizer because I don't think having been a priest or teacher or nun at one of these schools is ALONE enough to warrant "arresting" people, but whoever wrote the meme - it was posted by Chris Walter - probably wasn't really seriously thinking about what the next step should be; the point was that the next step SHOULDn't be "lowering flags," which is kind of useless symbolism where there is a need for action, and more what you  might think would come of the Liberals. (That part I agree with). 

Anyhow, after some ugliness on FB and one person being unfriended/ blocked, I've posted this - about all I've got right now, but there might be more to come on the topic, once I get John Wright squared away:

(Commence verbatim Facebook post): 

Been accused of being "tone deaf" for a comment on a thread. Going to try to be careful here - not wanting to give offense or hurt anyone. Talking about the 215 children. Mostly I've been reading. Some people might be interested in the following; even if you're not interested in my opinions, there are links to websites I didn't know about that other people might profit from visiting.

What the discovery at Kamloops mostly brings home is that there are apparently THOUSANDS MORE undocumented/ unmarked graves of indigenous children across Canada, on the sites of former residential schools. In 1914, apparently a department official said, "Fifty per cent of the children who passed through these schools did not live to benefit from the education which they had received therein." The Liberal minister quoting that, Gary Merasty, characterized the residential schools as "places of disease, hunger, overcrowding, and despair." That's on page 4 of the Missing Children and Unmarked Burials volume of the TRC report

While not disputing that abuse happened at these schools, some of the burials would seem to be due to large outbreaks of tuberculosis and influenza in the early 20th century. I am still unclear if what was found in Kamloops was a "mass grave" or an "unmarked cemetery;" the two terms have been used interchangeably in the media, but it's a distinction that newspapers don't seem to be being careful about. A mass grave suggests many people dying in a short time and being buried in a very undignified fashion, especially by a church that places a lot of ritual and import on what happens to someone after they die. There is, it turns out, some precedent for this, a mass grave mentioned in the TRC report - as many as 78 bodies in Ft. St. James. From page 119 of the report:

Several of the schools were overwhelmed by the influenza pandemic of 1918–19. All but two of the children and all of the staff were stricken with influenza at the Fort St. James, British Columbia, school and surrounding community in 1918. Seventy-eight people, including students, died. Initially, Father Joseph Allard, the school principal, conducted funeral services at the mission cemetery. But, as he wrote in his diary, the 'others were brought in two or three at a time, but I could not go to the graveyard with all of them. In fact, several bodies were piled up in an empty cabin because there was no grave ready. A large common grave was dug for them.'

There's not many other mentions of common graves in the report - only one other that I can find, again tied to an outbreak of disease, roughly in that same section of the report. That's why the language around mass graves is so disturbing (and the lack of media distinction between mass graves and unmarked burials is so annoying, since the latter suggests people dying over a much longer period, as part of a business-as-usual secret practice; that may actually be the more horrifying scenario, and the one that seems more likely to correlate with deaths from abuse). But whether mass graves or unmarked burials, if there are an estimated 4000-5000 burial sites out there - they need to be found, and there needs to be some urgency around it, because - does anyone out there, at this point, trust Justin Trudeau to do more than SAY the right thing?

That raises the question: what IS being done? The government of Canada, it turns out, has a "Missing children and burial information" page. It lists the Calls to Action in the TRC report around locating these sites. Almost every call to action has the same language in the answer - variations on the following paragraph:

Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada has begun discussions with various partners, internal and external to the federal government, towards collaborating on an engagement strategy to gain a better understanding of the range of Indigenous family and community needs and interests and about how best to move forward in a comprehensive manner on all of the calls to actions regarding children who died or went missing while attending Indian residential schools (Calls to Action 72 to 76).

As one expects, the language is vague and prompting of skepticism, suggesting a slow process with many politicians talking, but apparently things ARE being done. Budget 2019 apparently "announced $33.8 million over 3 years, starting in fiscal year 2019 to 2020, to develop and maintain the National Residential School Student Death Register and work with parties to establish and maintain an online registry of residential school cemeteries." That website is here: https://nctr.ca/memorial/

I am no sort of activist. I don't know what to do to impress upon the federal government how imperative it seems to locate other sites like the one in Kamloops (there are residential school sites all over BC, including one in North Vancouver and one in Mission. There is an interactive map online to see if you live near one: https://www.cbc.ca/news2/interactives/beyond-94-residential-school-map/ ). I don't really even know how "ground penetrating radar" works, let alone how to pressure the government to make sure every community has the resources to access it. If people have suggestions, I'm all there - mostly all I'm going to be good for is reading and writing, but... there seems some urgency here. It's going to be a tough year or two, though, because - if there are anywhere between 3300 and 5000 other burial sites across Canada... what percentage of that is 215? (Not very good at math, either, but it's not a very large percent).