15 Albums

Using yet another Facebook meme as a blog topic. When you blog just about every day you need some help here and there!

My 15 Albums

1. Fleetwood Mac – Rumours  Hands down this is my favourite album of all time. As a teenager this album helped me to keep sane. I have loved this album so much I have purchased it on vinyl, 8-track, cassette tape and CD. To this day I generally have a song off of this album on every play list I create.

2. Supertramp – Crime of the Century  Similar to #1 this album helped me through my teen years. Many of the songs resonated so much for me plus the musicianship of this band is amazing.

3. Elton John – Live in Australia  I love Elton John and this album really spoke to me. I generally love the energy of a live album and he did not disappoint!

4. Indigo Girls – 12:00 Curfew  This is an incredibly strong live album by the IGs. Highlights for me are ‘Tangled up in Blue’ and ‘Chicken Man.’

5. Richard Shindell – The Courier  If you like folk music and you have never heard Richard Shindell I highly recommend you check him out. This is another live album and he is at his best. Songs like ‘Arrowhead,’ ‘Are you happy now?’ and ‘Fishing’ are all amazing original songs. He is quite political and it comes through loud and clear in his lyrics.

6. R.E.M. – Automatic for the People  I can remember listening to this album over and over and over again. I didn’t like all of the songs at first but they all grew on me over time. My favourite remains ‘Ignoreland.’

7. Paul Simon – Graceland  I got this album right after I purchased my ‘grown-up’ stereo – it was a Pioneer with big speakers. I can remember how amazing the drums sounded especially on ‘Obvious Child.’

8. Lucinda Williams – Car wheels on a gravel road  Lucinda Williams is an amazing folk singer. I particularly love this album. She is a bit of an acquired taste though.

9. Jethro Tull – Songs from the Wood  It was hard to pick a single Jethro Tull album. At one point, I think I owned almost all of Jethro Tull’s albums. Led by Ian Anderson, this band moves quite fluidly between folk and rock.

10. Emmy Lou Harris – Red Dirt Girl  This is an outstanding album and includes a duet she sings with Dave Matthews.

11. Joan Osborne – Relish  This was a very powerful debut album. I never heard much from her after this album. This album features her hit ‘If god were one of us’ however I don’t think that is the stand out on the album. Songs like ‘Ladder’, ‘Spider’s Web’ and ‘Crazy Baby.’

12. Liz Phair – Whitechocolatespaceegg  I love this album. Every song is different. For some reason, this is the only Liz Phair album I have liked.

13. Lorrena McKennit – The Visit  This is a phenomenal album. I like others by this artist but this is the one that is the stand out for me.

14. Peter Gabriel – US  It was hard to pick a PG album. It was a toss-up between this and So.

15. R.E.M. – Up  I love this album. There are so many great songs on it. It is one of those albums where one song flows into the next. Love it!

25 Random Things About Me!

A new facebook meme has been floating around: 25 random things about me. I thought I would post it here instead.

1. First up – I am adopted. I was about 6 weeks old at the time.
2. I was born in Calgary. Many people living in Calgary are not from there.
3. I did the Katimavik program when I was 18. I went to Newfoundland to build a log cabin. We lived in tents for 3 months. I spent 3 month in Toronto and Baie St. Paul Quebec. It was the best thing I ever did. It taught me to finish something.
4. I played the accordion until I was 12. I hated it. It was uncool and heavy. My brother had to play it too. We all played it because my mother did. By the time my sister was ready for music lessons she got to play the organ because my mother had changed to that instrument.
5. I had a bit of a wild childhood. I won’t go into details but suffice it to say I did a lot of bad things, ran away from home and spent time in group homes. I will also say that my behaviour was caused by things that happened earlier in my childhood.
6. As a result of my childhood I spent my university undergrad in therapy.
7. I completed an honours BA in history from the University of Calgary in 1994.
8. I then went to Queen’s for my MA still in history. Which I finished in the fall of 1995.
9. My biggest academic achievement, in addition to my Queen’s scholarship, was being selected as 1 of 2 students to attend a conference put on by the Centre for the Study of the Presidency. The students selected were the ones who got the highest grades in an American political science course. Ironically it was 2 history students who earned this honour much to the chagrin of the political science students.
10. I knew I was a lesbian from a young child. I was sure I would not get married to a man. I hoped that I could be with a woman.
11. I am a television addict. I especially love reality shows like Survivor and the Amazing Race.
12. We moved to BC in 1999 – December to be exact. Only a couple of days before Y2K.
13. It was so creepy when we moved here. We started off in Burnaby. It was foggy for 3 weeks solid. We were pretty sure we had moved to a very strange place. The last decade here has pretty much borne this out.
14. I have been with my partner Deb for 12 years. We have been married for 7. We got married right after the court decision that made it legal but before the legislation hit. We hoped to increase the numbers of couples who had married in that time so that the government would have a harder time reversing them. Thankfully this never happened and we have remained happily and legally married for the whole time.
15. I have lived with dogs almost my whole life. I cannot imagine my life without a dog or several dogs.  I relate best to little dogs. If I can’t have a dog I don’t want to live.
16. I love computers.
17. My first computer was a Mac Plus. I then switched to PCs for almost 20 years.
18. Approximately a year ago, I switched back to Macs. I couldn’t be happier!
19. I have an interesting almost intuitive relationship with computers.
20. I end up being tech support every where I go. Sometimes I just walk into the room to fix a computer and it suddenly resolves. I cannot explain this but it has happened more times than I can count.
21. I love computer games. I have been known to spend days playing Civilization, Colonization and SimCity.
22. I love music. Listening to music has kept me sane since I was about 8 and I got my first record player with a radio.
23. As a teenager my favourite bands were Fleetwood Mac (Rumours) and Supertramp (Crime of the Century).
24. As an adult, I have continued my relationship with music. I have very diverse tastes that include Richard Shindell, Tori Amos, REM, Sinead O’Connor along with many other artists. Most recent addition: Lady Gaga!
25. I have been blogging since August 8, 2007. I have been trying to blog for every day of 2010. I have forgotten two days I think. Not bad!

Tech Stuff

I am constantly amazed at how my life is enhanced by computer addiction. I love my computer – we are one. Think of the borg and you will get it. So, I thought I would share what things, tech-wise, I am really digging these days:

1. Facebook – I am not a big fan of the remake of facebook yet again. However, I love how much more interactive it has become. Commenting on friends’ status updates and having long conversations going has become the highlight of my day. I am spending way more time on facebook then I ever did before. I especially like seeing the little red notifications number in the double-digits. I know, I have no life.
2. Google Chrome – after reading several articles on Mashable about Google Chrome I decided to make the switch. Mostly I was getting annoyed at how slow Firefox seemed to have become. I am opening up the same number of tabs in Chrome yet it loads in about a quarter of the time. There are other features I really like as well. You can re-order the tabs1/. When you open and close tabs in Chrome, it automatically re-sizes them to take up about the same amount of space. I like that the bookmarks menu is right under the new tab icon – very good design feature. When you open a new tab, thumbnails of sites you have been to recently are there and you can select them. Oh, and I love that you can search in the address bar. I had become so tired of opening another tab to get to search. I am not one to embrace change when it comes to computer programs2. In fact, the only reason I switched to Firefox was because I did not want to leave myself open to viruses.
3. Gmail – I continue to love Gmail. I have even converted my mother to Gmail because she has 2 houses and she could never figure out where her emails were. She wanted one email in Radium and the other in Calgary. She was making me crazy. I kept explaining what the problem was and she finally got it. Now, the big test will be whether she will figure out how to access her Gmail in Tuscany! I love the labs feature in Gmail and enjoy trying new things out.
4. Google Calendar – I love google calendar. I have now managed to sync my 2 google calendars (home and work) with my blackberry seamlessly. I make a change now and it propagates through the system in about an hour. I also love the ‘desktop’ calendar that you can use on the Windows or Google sidebar.
5. Google Reader – still in love with Google Reader. What more is there to say?
6. Yet another google product – Picasa. I love how all the photos in my computer are organized and easily viewable. I came across some photos yesterday that I had not seen in a while. Picasa saves you the hassle of going through all the folders. Plus you can tag and caption them. I am sure there are more features and I intend to explore them.
7. iTunes DJ – I have been using this feature a lot lately. Basically what it does is cue up music for you to listen to in a random fashion. I am horrible for buying music, only listening to a couple of songs and ignoring the rest. Sometimes I am just not in a mood to appreciate new music. This feature allows me to discover ‘new’ songs I had missed.

1Which in my OCD world is very important. I like to have everything in the same order all the time. There were times I would actually shut down Firefox only to re-open it so the tabs were in the correct order. Now, with Google Chrome, if I accidentally close a tab I can re-open it and put it where I want it.
2I am still highly annoyed about MS Office 2007 and it has been out for 2 years. Way too much change there!

Privilege (heterosexual and others)

I am writing this blog entry in response to all the comments I received on facebook when I updated my status to indicate that I was annoyed by heterosexual privilege. Frankly, the comments surprised me but I guess I should not have been. Inherently, when one is in receipt of a societal privilege they may not be aware of it. This appears to be the case. Rather than going into a long drawn out explanation of heterosexual privilege I will refer you to an excellent blog entry written by Teh Portly Dyke. She does an excellent job explaining this and its impact on homosexuals. She also issues a challenge in her entry I encourage you to try it to gain a better understanding of how insidious heterosexual privilege is in our society.

Privilege is everywhere in our society and depending on your class, race, economic status or gender expression you may or may not enjoy privilege. Being Caucasian in our society affords you a great deal of privilege. Our society is geared to make life easier for people who are white. All of our institutions are inherently racist and difficult for people of colour to navigate and receive fair treatment. If you don’t believe me ask a person of colour what their experience is at a bank or worse trying to get welfare or other government services. When I worked in a downtown eastside welfare office in Vancouver there was a great deal of racism dished out to people of colour and particularly aboriginal people.

Class is another area of privilege. I certainly noticed that as a homeowner I am treated very differently by service people than I was when i was a renter. The white woman in Kerrisdale is treated much differently than an Aboriginal woman from the downtown eastside. Many of our judgements about class are rooted in the Protestant work ethic and Protestantism in general. One of the foremost Protestant thinkers, John Calvin, believed that it was predetermined who was going to heaven and who was not. Those people who were successful in life were assumed to be going to heaven and therefore treated differently from those who were impoverished. It was also believed that if those who were not successful ‘just tried a little harder’ they too could be successful. The old adage of ‘pulling up their boot straps’ applied. We may not consciously think this way but these ideas inform our culture and the way we view the world and the people in it.

Gender expression is another area of privilege. Those who fit into society’s binary gender roles of male and female enjoy privilege. There is no question which bathroom to use and you are treated with respect. Those who are gender queer, gender ambiguous or trans have murky waters to navigate. A male to female transsexual for example may be harassed for using the woman’s bathroom. Gender expression seems to invoke violent responses from some people. Many trans people are routinely targeted for abuse by people in our society who are uncomfortable with their gender expression.

It is interesting to talk to people who are different from you and to learn how privilege or the lack thereof impacts their lives. As a white woman I know that I enjoy a fair amount of privilege in our society. I have privileges of class, race and gender. However, somethings work against me. As a fat lesbian woman I have been the target of discrimination and hate although not that often. The group with the most privilege in our society are straight, white men. It is interesting to determine what privilege you enjoy and why you have it. Deconstructing privilege helps us to understand how our society works and how we can work to be allies to those who do not enjoy the same privileges that we do. It takes a great deal of work to look inside and see what is really there – the racist and classist thoughts and to try and understand how they impact our interactions with other people. It is a life-long process and one that is very difficult. Realizing our own racist, classist and gender biases can be uncomfortable. Talking about them and challenging others racist, classist and gender biases is even more difficult. If, as an individual, you are committed to an egalitarian society it starts with you.

My new blog!

Well, I have been thinking about starting a blog for some time – so here goes!

So a little about me. I am a married lesbian. My partner Deb and me live in the GVRD (soon to be Metro Vancouver!!) with our 8 dogs. Most of our dogs are rescues and you will read lots about our dogs no doubt. I am an unabashed facebook addict and I love technology.