Maple Sugar

Apr 11

Michael Chabon and Ayelet Waldman’s home on Remodelista, because I’m in a nesting phase..

Very lovely! That Sapien bookcase is the bomb dot see eh.


Michael Chabon and Ayelet Waldman’s home on Remodelista, because I’m in a nesting phase..

Very lovely! That Sapien bookcase is the bomb dot see eh.

Apr 09


Two and a half years ago, I ranted on Twitter about Superman and why it makes no sense for people to dislike him the way they do. My general feeling then was just that people had some sort of hard line aversion to identifying with someone who always tries to do the right thing, as though great power and great responsibility were peanut butter and arsenic. I mean, I get it. I used to think Captain America was weaksauce milquetoast and that he would be way cooler if he was more of an antihero. For context, however, when I thought this, my favorite filmmaker was Kevin Smith, my favorite band was Limp Bizkit, and I was a couple of years out from being really into Mark Millar. Luckily, time is less of a flat circle than Rustin Cohle would have you believe.

The point is, I grew up. I stopped being a world-hating boychild whose blood type was misplaced anger. I stopped conflating negative character traits with positive signifiers. One of the reasons people seem to criticize optimistic superheroes is because they aren’t realistic enough, but I think they’re missing the point. We created superheroes because we needed something “unrealistic” to save us. Realism is relative. The argument that a superhero who is a bit of a dick all the time is more real or interesting than one who is decent and upstanding all the time is complete bullshit. You know what’s boring? A lack of conflict.

In Defense of Supermen [Editorial] | Deadshirt (via bigredrobot)

So this is what it’s like when someone just dunks over a bunch of dummies and shatters the backboard, using only the power of their words!

Mar 02

Just now, I was talking with a friend about the Oscars, and some tweets by W. Kamau Bell in particular that were trying to raise awareness about Fruitvale Station, a really incredible movie from last year about the true story of a young black man shot and killed while cuffed and detained by BART police officers in Oakland.  It’s a powerful movie and I, like Bell, encourage you to see it.  Bell’s point is that while another movie about the black experience in America, 12 Years a Slave, is good, it risks furthering the narrative that racism in the US is “over,” that it’s something that we’ve dealt with and can move past now.  Fruitvale Station, on the other hand, is about the ways racism is still real and cuts young, vibrant lives short now.  Again, go see it, because it’s one of the best movies I’ve seen in a long time.

But thinking about the ways that racism and other prejudices still exist but do so more insidiously, I started thinking and talking about something that happened to me this week.  I was in my condo building’s elevator in the morning on my way to work, and in stepped a friendly acquaintance of mine in the building.  She was on her way to a billiards tournament at the River Cree Casino, a casino on a First Nations reserve just out of town, and complaining about the early hours, so I just mentioned, offhand, “Well, at least they’re probably going to provide coffee, at least,” because I dunno, I assumed maybe they might?  I don’t know how casinos operate, but sometimes conferences provide free coffee to me.

"No, nothing’s covered," she told me.  "Their land, their water, so we have to pay, you know?"  She spat out second sentence in a way I’ve heard a lot of times in my life, the way that non-aboriginal people do when they’re saying aboriginal people are greedy and should just let the past go, sheesh, already.

I didn’t know what to do.  I froze.  Should I call her on it?  Should I say that’s not cool, that I’m aboriginal, that her sentence was a little hurtful?  We weren’t the only two people in the elevator (!), and not only did I not want to cause a scene, I didn’t know how the other person felt.  Was he silent because he didn’t want to make a scene either, or because he agreed?  I’m often surprised by the kind of people who have these ideas, like my friend in Grade 10 social studies class who said aboriginal people shouldn’t get any aid or funding because they don’t have jobs and will just spend it on booze and cigarettes.  I didn’t say anything then, either, because it’s hard to stand up in a room full of 29 friends and ask one of them to kindly not be racist, but I eventually talked to the teacher about it and things more or less got sorted out.

I couldn’t really complain to anyone here, though, and I’m not 16 anymore, either.  I should be able to fight my own fights, right?  But I still didn’t know what to say, so I just shrugged, looked away, and didn’t say anything.

I wish I’d said something.  I’ve felt guilty about it all week.  In the moment, it’s easy to feel alone and afraid, but now I mostly just feel a little ashamed.  I should have said something, because as fucked up as it is that I hear all this stuff because I take after my dad’s colouring as a light-skinned Metis man, and not my mom’s very dark skin, it makes me wonder about how people treat her, or the kind of things they might say about her when she can’t hear.  What would they tell me about her if they didn’t know I was her son?  What would this person have said to me if I looked like my mom?  Why don’t I think about this more often?  Why don’t I think about my mom’s experience more often?  Am I a bad son for not thinking about it more often?  I feel like I let her, my dad, my entire family, down, in a dumb way.

I should have said something.

Jan 10

quote By the time the Coen brothers’ Fargo glides to an end, apocalyptic punishments have been disbursed all around. One kidnapper and murderer is dead and mostly mulched; the other has been caught extremely red-handed, shot in the leg, and hauled off to face trial. The grasping husband who hired them is ignominiously captured while trying to crawl out a bathroom window in his underwear. He’s spent the whole film desperately trying to preserve his dignity with fake smiles and desperate lies, but as he’s arrested, he loses all his pretenses, and wails incoherently, like a trapped animal. Even his domineering, emasculating father-in-law winds up dead, shot by the kidnapper he was trying to bully. All the blood, profanity, and comedy aside, Fargo is the kind of crime story that would have passed muster under the Hays Code: Criminals are never glorified or glamorized, even minor transgressions are brutally punished, and no one gets away clean.

In the Coen brothers’ punishing world, morals are everything / The Dissolve (via love-and-radiation)

This is way too neat and tidy. From Wade Gustafson practicing his tough-guy speech before meeting up with Showalter, to Jerry practicing his panicked call to his father-in-law to poor, sobbing, lonely Mike Yanagita, Fargo is a movie about what happens when people who expect things to behave in an orderly fashion collide with the reality of a chaotic universe.

If anything, Fargo is about God’s ambivalence. That huge, unblinking statue of Paul Bunyan could care less about how you expected your marriage to work out or how you expected this interaction with the state trooper to go or how you wanted this date with the escort to end. He’s just standing there, cold, immovable and unknowable. He has an axe, but never cuts anything down. We’re the ones doing the chopping. And we’re a bunch of idiots.

(via bigredrobot, who has some good thoughts about stuff in general, but this is an extra good one.  Good job, Dylan!)

Jan 02
Such feelings.
Via klongua:


Wolverine is the best Disney Princess #25, by Katie Longua.
Go here to find out what all this is about, or follow #wolverine is the best disney princess for updates!
Previous Princesses:
Wolverine is the best Disney Princess #1-10, by various artists
Wolverine is the best Disney Princess #11-20, by various artists
Wolverine is the best Disney Princess #21, by Olivia Bronson
Wolverine is the best Disney Princess #22, by hg-gh
Wolverine is the best Disney Princess #23, by LeoModesto
Wolverine is the best Disney Princess #24, by Didi Mamushka
Dec 30

A wonderfully heartfelt Pokemon comic.


a little thought I had while doing wonder trade

Nov 24

Via ungaming

The best video game glitch ever?
Nov 05

The text of my letter to Anglican Diocese of Edmonton in response to their dropping support for an affordable housing project near Terwillegar Towne

I was, as it will become very apparent, disappointed to see that the Anglican Diocese of Edmonton withdrew its support for an affordable housing project after a local homeowners association expressed discontent to the tune of a $35,000-in-legal-fees promise to fight it.  If you feel similarly, please send your letters or emails to the Diocese via the information at this link.

Read More

Oct 03

Sinéad O'Connor's open letter to Miley Cyrus →

I’m still thinking through how I feel about this, but it’s definitely worth a read and some thought.  On one hand, I absolutely agree with what O’Connor is saying: one must absolutely be careful at how artistry and expression is used or co-opted by those in power.  This is all very, very good advice.  On the other hand, though, O’Connor is delivering it in what might in fact be the most self-serving way possible: a paid article (presumably; I’m guessing this is how it works when a paper like this picks up a piece you’ve written elsewhere) in one of the world’s biggest newspapers.  How much does a selfish delivery of good advice harm said advice, if at all?  

The benefit of this approach is easy to see, too: now, thousands or even millions of people will see it and hopefully start reconsidering how they produce and consume art, as well as operate in society in a broader sense.  That is good.  Very good.  But does using that large, public platform potentially sacrifice the ostensibly stated goal of the letter, i.e. getting Miley Cyrus to change how she produces and consumes culture?  The piece might still be addressed to her, but the context makes it seem more about her, to me.  And hey, like I said: that has its definite benefits.  But I do wonder if an actual, personal conversation between Ms. O’Connor and Ms. Cyrus would have been more likely to achieve the stated goal.  Personally, I’m more likely to respond favourably when someone says something privately to me than mentions it in a public venue, for money.  That last part is hypothetical, admittedly.

I mean, it’s not like the first single from Miley Cyrus’ new album is an explicit statement about how you won’t listen when older people tell you to stop doing what you’re doing or anything.

Still, whether or not it’s going to be listened to by it’s addressee, O’Connor’s piece is still very good advice, and maybe that’s good enough.  certainly got something out of it.

Sep 09

I think J9 and I may be twins.

[Via karatemonkey: “About me”]