So it’s been a little while since my last update out here in Central Asia.
I’ve been busy carrying out collective works and interviews out in the village and in general savouring the moments in the apple orchard, the snow-capped Ala-Too mountains beyond and going for walks on the steppe passing only the nomads on horseback rallying their flocks in the late afternoon.
This Jacobin article effectively highlights some of the racially problematic aspects of the Rob Ford crack-use coverage. While the Toronto Mayor's admission to smoking crack cocaine is vastly significant in light of the rapidly diminishing legitimacy of rule in Toronto and the overarching series of problems facing municipal politics, there are racial issues at play in the way in which the coverage has emerged which need to be acknowledged. From the article:
Looking for a reason to visit the big smoke? The Toronto International Film Festival's Lightbox facility has just opened an exhibition of props, design pieces and ephemera drawn the work of David Cronenberg. With a career that spans nearly 50 years and more than 20 unrelentingly unique feature films, the Director has ample ammunition to tickle your weird button. A number of Cronenberg's films will be played while the exhibition runs, introduced by a variety of folks that have intimate ties to the films themselves. There will also be a series of talks and round tables discussing individual films. A complete schedule can be found on the TIFF website.
Flex your paranoia and watch the watchers with SpyMeSat--a cunning IOS app that provides a list of satellites currently in range and capable of monitoring your activities here on terra firma. Not yet available for Android unfortunately.
I just came across this wonderful wonderful wonderful video on how to make friends. It's doubly cool because it's presented by Montreal musician, activist and community organizer Sarah Mangle whom I knew about ten years ago when we both worked at youth organization Head & Hands.
It's an in-depth look at a the simple issues surrounding relationships - what they mean to us, how and why they sustain us and how to go about building them in this competitive world we live in and in which friendships are oftentimes hyper-quantitative in relation to how they're (not meaningfully) explored through social media.
I am ready to stop typing and run to my phone if it rings. It may be a call from the doula I’m shadowing. There is a woman who will give birth any day now, and when this woman (the client/patient/mother-to-be*) needs birth support, I will go (with the doula) to be with her at her home, or maybe straight to the hospital.
Besides my own, the only birth I’ve attended was that of my little sister, and I was a 5 year-old, and it was late at night. This makes me a minority among the 16 women in my Level 1 doula training course with the Montreal Birth Companions, because I am not a mother.
You don’t have to be a mother to be a doula. You just have to be there. In the last few months of this course, I’ve learned a lot about birth: anatomy, pain-alleviation techniques, how it progresses and why it might stall, affirmations, visualizations, and what to pack in my birth bag. This is all important, but the most important role that a doula plays is of being present, and being loving.