Tuesday, October 5th, 2010

writing to Alston

The Blork Blog
Zura Rants
chicagoan in montréal
ni vu ni connu
Utopia Moment
Montreal City Weblog
The Smoking Section
Vague Diva

Also see:
Alston Adams on Facebook
Sending you good vibes, Alston on Facebook
alstonadams on Twitter

Alston on Alston
Here’s some cached text from It’s Alston talking about going on the “July 11-23, 2009 – Owyhee River Kayaking Expedition, SE Oregon, USA” trip organized by YAC and the subject of the film Wrong Way to Hope.

Until May 1, 2007, I led a trite and meaningless existence. Just kidding. Until that date, life was pretty great in most ways. I had just started a new and interesting career in video games. And then…well, you know what happened then. The details: esophageal cancer. One of the worst ones, and unusual for someone that was only 32.

This is a bio, which normally means that it is very much of a compilation of who you are and what you’ve done. It’s part character sketch and part CV. But unlike many other major events in life such as marriage, first child, etc., this one tends to obliterate your life B.C. (before cancer). The effect of this is that UI and many others focus much less on the past and put more emphasis on the future, but especially the present. And that is why I am going to travel for 2 weeks on the Owyhee River with others like me.

This trip is an opportunity to make an impact in people’s live right now. Instantaneously. People around me are organizing themselves in order to realize something they believe in. I personally am reminded of my vitality and ability to contribute to something important to society. And it gets me out of the limbo of uncertainty that surrounds people my age hit with some serious disease.

I am a man, alive, relevant and vital. I am here, right now.

Monday, February 23rd, 2009


Filed under: movies — alison @ 07:35

So how did Viola Davis not win for Best Supporting Actress in Doubt?

Saturday, January 24th, 2009

Orfeo ed Euridice

Filed under: amusements,death,movies,reality check — alison @ 18:29

Just came back from seeing a live broadcast of an opera performance at the Met. Cool use of cinema.

I cried at the beginning when Orfeo was mourning the loss of Euridice, because of the utter completeness of loss through death. And I cried when Euridice was contemplating a life loving someone who did not return her affection, because that’s what life with Mark is often like. (Euridice determined that death was preferable.)

After the opera Mark went home with somebody else, and I cried again.

Friday, March 25th, 2005

Movies and things

Filed under: movies — alison @ 20:25

Attended a Donna Haraway lecture a few weeks back entitled “We have never been human – companion species in naturecultures.” Being totally out of the academic circuit I had never heard of Dr. Haraway before but apparently she is a very popular academic thinker. I can certainly understand that she’s a popular speaker, being droll and animated. In her presentation she followed up some links in human/canine relationships across time, geography and politics establishing that we are connected through our dogs to everything that our dogs are connected to, and that our dogs are connected to us through their integral roles in our histories and ways of constructing ourselves.

Later in question period she pointed out that you could do the same thing with a mass-produced commercial object. So it wasn’t clear that the deliberate cultivation of webby thinking the way she illustrated it would necessarily lead to a commitment to the ethical treatment of animals; she just chose to present it that way. Which was confusing, because she initially seemed to be saying something specific about the relationships between dogs and people, but when she explained what she was saying it was no, she was saying something about people, that when you look at our connections in a webby way we have more in common than we might like to think.

Which seems to be a very old notion. One that has more to do with adulthood and becoming one’s parents and looking fondly at people who are young and leaving their parents than it does with dogs or cyborgs or naturecultures.

But given that I don’t know what a natureculture is, is not for me to say.

What disappointed me was her reply to someone asking how to apply her philosophy in such a way as to convince evil profit-centred capitalists of the necessity for veganism. She said that thinking of meat-eaters as concerned with profit did them a disservice, and that while it might be unfortunate that the entire planet wasn’t vegan at least there were active movements to improve the treatment of domestic animals, such as cage-free rearing of chickens and that we should think about these and be optimistic.

When sharing a planet with six to seven billion other people who are continuing to multiply, when many of them are simultaneously going to increase their abilities to consume, when the vision of the future is an increase in people increasingly competing for increasingly limited resources, when what we know of true poverty is that it breeds a philosophy of “life sucks and then you die,” what the **** does the niceness of cage-free rearing of chickens have to do with anything?

But I get the impression that I might simply not have understood any of the lecture at all. Like my mother says: “Sometimes you can’t tell whether you don’t get the joke or whether you get it but you just don’t care.”

Anyway. Went to something presented with much smaller words on Thursday, and even illustrated. With moving pictures. I’m pretty sure I understood it. Turtles Can Fly, a fictional movie about children in wartime in Kurdistan acted by war-injured children. I almost walked out in the middle of it. The experience recalled visiting television-owning friends in 1985 at the height of famine in Ethiopia. They would be watching the news and I would be desperately ordering them to Turn that thing off! “Why? What’s the problem? Aren’t you interested in international news?” That’s not the point! Maybe you can invite starving children into your living room to die in front of you while you don’t lift a finger to help them. Maybe you think that’s interesting. But I can’t do it and I don’t want to know how you can. Turn that thing off!

Am still a little shaken.

Hugs to all, dogs and children especially but chickens and academics too.

Wednesday, August 11th, 2004

Re: Movie notes [Supertex]

Filed under: jewishness,movies — alison @ 09:17

Alison Cummins wrote determinedly:
>So I can confidently say that there is no reason to watch this movie at all.

After trashing Supertex Monday I left for work and continued mulling. It was still bothering me. But then I figured out what the essential technical problem was with the movie the filmmaker wanted to make. The basic question of the movie was “What does it mean to be a Jew when you are living in a place with no Jews?” (Though it was phrased rather differently in the film itself, rather “Q: What is a Jew without a hat? A: A Jew in a Porsche!”) Phrased my way, the question becomes more interesting. But in the movie it was illustrated by having a Dutch Jew living in a place with no Jews (Amsterdam) who thought of himself as Dutch… repeatedly confronting Jews who think of themselves as Jews. So, like, is Amsterdam a Jewish space or not? If it is, the question disappears. If it isn’t, then the structure of the movie makes no sense.


(According to Mark, while there is a small Jewish community in Amsterdam, it is secular. And… there are no bagel shops.)

[originally transmitted by e-mail August 11, 2004]

Wednesday, June 30th, 2004

Fahrenheit 9/11

Filed under: movies,US politics — alison @ 09:19

Last night’s movie pick.

I carefully shield myself from unpleasant things I can’t do anything about, which means I don’t watch the news. So this was the first time I ever saw George W in action.

Mean little bugger, isn’t he?

[originally transmitted by e-mail June 30, 2004]

Older Posts »

Powered by WordPress