A Friend In Need: The Internet Goes Dark Against SOPA

It’s blackout city across some of the major sites on the web today. In case you have been watching The Bachelor instead of reading The Globe and Mail, today many large websites are blacking out their content to protest SOPA (read the background here and here and here).

This is important, internet friends. Today we won’t be posting anything besides this request: take 10 minutes out of your day to learn about this situation and think about what it means for the future of information, intellectual freedom, and personal expression. If you live in the States, write Congress. Everyone else can sign the petition.

It’s a dark day indeed (pun intended).

It’s Time for a Food Reform

It's what's for dinner.

When Lisa and I committed to working on loveletterstostrangers, we vowed to make time in our lives to write, to engage in our communities, and to nurture our relationships.  Over the past few months, I’ve been militant in my dedication to personal growth (high-five, me!).  Here’s the rub:  Between work, writing projects, volunteer work, and friends, I rarely find time to prepare a balanced meal.  Part of the problem is that I don’t enjoy cooking.  Food preparation is exhausting and who has time to work out?  So, many an evening I come home to a bowl of Lucky Charms and a glass of wine. No more:  I need to make time for self-care.  This November, I’m undergoing a food reform.

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Why Don’t You Visit Anymore?

We all know the situation: budgets have been cut everywhere, but the numbers of people needing service are increasing. Over the last couple of years, the amount of items being borrowed from libraries has seen a large increase, while staffing levels have remained stagnant, or in less fortunate communities, cut drastically. Without money, libraries are understaffed. Without staff, libraries cannot provide necessary services. Without services, libraries cannot attract and retain members. Without members, libraries will not be given money. And so the cycle continues.

When libraries are relevant, community thrives. 

  • How do you use your local library? 
  • What are your favourite services?
  • If you don’t use your local library, why not? 
  • What’s one thing that would draw you back into the arms of your lovable local library (even if only for the online services)?

Personally, I think libraries have an (undeserved) image problem. So many people still think libraries are places with shushy old woman shuffling around dusty stacks filled with classic literature. Not so, my friend! Libraries are killing it with cool new technology, liberal thinking, innovative programming, and inclusivity.

Help me, internet friends, show our community how they can use the library. Libraries do amazing things with very little money. Let’s put that money and effort to the best use possible. The time is now for ideas. Let’s cut through the outdated image of libraries and reach people who can make great use of this valuable public service.

And now, our favourite library cop, Mr. Bookman:

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Stop. Election Time.

Photo of a seamstressIs it just me or do you feel like there is always an election on the horizon? The Ontario Provincial Election is October 6 and you better show up. Why? Because Ontario’s libraries are facing cuts. Again.

Why do libraries matter and why do they need our support? Put succinctly:

Libraries are a constant in our lives; from the first story-time visit to a public library, to learning about the internet and e-resources in the school library, to spending countless hours immersed in research at the college or university library, to a return to the public library to begin the job search, and beyond! Libraries are one of our most valuable community resources, support candidates who are willing to invest in libraries!

Kind of lazy, but still want to support the cause? I understand. Tweet your concern for libraries to your provincial and local candidate. Use the hashtag #librariesmatter to join the bigger conversation.

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Love on Two Wheels

2011 will go down in my personal history as the year I rekindled my love affair with bicycles. Confession: it’s been many, many years since I have been on a bike. A bad accident back in the day soured me against anything with two wheels. As time marched forward, my memory wore down and my desire to hit the pavement increased.  And so, with my hard-earned tax refund, I headed out and purchased a shiny new bike. Continue reading

The Writing on the Wall

Earlier, in a love letter to my apartment, I mentioned that I’m in the process of courting a new home.  Well friends, last night my apartment and I took things to the next level (before this gets weird, let me say that this “apartment love” talk is a clumsy attempt at anthropomorphism, not a clumsy confession of my secret objectum sexuality).  Anyway, I painted a wall.

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Adult Athleticism

In university, I decided that sacks of Swedish berries and pints of chocolate peanut butter ice cream could no longer be my close friends unless I started deliberately moving my (ever-increasing) ass. I joined a gym and dabbled in a few activities with varying success.

Left wrist x-ray

Nearing the end of grad school, shit got serious. I was sitting at a desk a lot, which we all know is no friend to the waistline. So, I upped my body moving (now you are thinking of the Beastie Boys and you’re welcome) and actually started to enjoy the gym, running, yoga, and generally getting more active.

Encouraged by my success, I decided to play softball this summer. It ended with this, bruised bones. Individual activity = yes, team sports = no. Lesson learned.