Monkeys and Mountains

7 Reasons You Will Love Cycling in Myra Canyon

The original can be found here: 7 Reasons You Will Love Cycling in Myra Canyon. Please read the original.

Myra Canyon in Kelowna, British Columbia is a a scenic cycle route along an old railway with 18 bridges and 2 tunnels with views over the Okanagan valley!

Monkeys and Mountains | Adventure Travel Blog - Outdoor Adventures | Germany Travel Tips | Life-Changing Trips | Adventures in Europe

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Posted on 14 August 2015 | 10:29 am

Indian Country

International Crises: Remembering Our Past, Sharing Their Present

"I discovered that a person can or will die of loneliness if he or she is removed from his or her land......

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Posted on 27 November 2015 | 12:00 am


Shop The Neighbourhood

Shop The Neighbourhood encourages Canadians to support small businesses in their communities by making local purchases and shopping in their neighbourhoods

The post Shop The Neighbourhood appeared first on Hello Vancity.

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Posted on 27 November 2015 | 8:22 am

List Verse

10 Times Our History Was Destroyed By Accidents And Stupidity

While we usually do our best to preserve our past, some of our world’s history was damaged or even lost to moments of unbelievable stupidity. Other times, accidents just happen. But sometimes, they happen to priceless relics. Featured image credit: WDSU News via YouTube 10 The Neolithic Tomb Turned Into A Picnic Table Spain is […]

The post 10 Times Our History Was Destroyed By Accidents And Stupidity appeared first on Listverse.

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Posted on 28 November 2015 | 8:00 am

The Gate

Holiday Gift Guide 2015: 10 stylish, luxury gift ideas

Get inspired for the holidays with one of our favorite guides: the luxury gift list. Whether you're shopping for that very special someone, or you just want to day-dream about what you really want this year, we've got you covered with "wow" worthy gift suggestions featuring Samsung, Hamilton Watches, Burberry, Grand Marnier, The Macallan, Rado, Bulova, Ted Baker, and Boconi.

The post Holiday Gift Guide 2015: 10 stylish, luxury gift ideas appeared first on The GATE.

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Posted on 26 November 2015 | 4:50 am


Without meditating on capitalism, 'Yoga-gate' will tie you in knots

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Posted on 27 November 2015 | 9:31 pm

This hungry Kitten

Easy Chicken Shawarma Kebobs

My last post was almost a month ago! Life gets busy sometimes and finding moments to sit and reflect don’t come around often enough. I have been on a journey to better health, and it’s been wonderful! I think we’ve … Continue reading

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Posted on 10 July 2014 | 3:45 pm

The cat from Hell

Goodbye Dear Furrends

This is said with a heavy heart, but it is time to say goodbye. Wes has been blogging since August …

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Posted on 22 September 2015 | 4:28 pm

The Future Soon

Octopus killing a seagull - THE KRAKEN WAKES

Octopus killing a seagull off Ogden Point breakwater

I love octopuses. Smart, powerful, adaptive, and deadly.

These are the first ever photos of a Giant Pacific Octopus catching and killing a Glaucous-winged seagull.

And they provide two important lessons: One, always carry a camera with you because you may happen upon a scientifically important event. And two, keep an eye out for the unusual.

I loved finding and booking this story for my local CBC morning show, On The Island. 

Take a listen to Ginger Morneau, the woman who took these photos.
Here she is speaking with CBC On The Island host, Gregor Craigie.

And this is where I found this story.

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Posted on 3 May 2012 | 6:21 pm

Urban Toronto

Ground Breaking Marks Start of Extensive Guild Inn Restoration

Following decades of neglect and decay, Scarborough's historic Guild Inn is once again on its way to becoming one of Toronto's premier cultural and event destinations. Although the historic estate which dates back to 1914 is perhaps no longer familiar to younger generations, the building and grounds—which overlook Lake Ontario from the Scarborough Bluffs—form an important element of the city's cultural heritage.

Guild Inn Restoration, Dynamic Hospitality and Entertainment Group Inc.,A view of the property as it appears now, image by Stefan Novakovic

"Because I'm old, I remember it," Mayor John Tory told the audience, recounting parts of the Inn's long history. "For a long time, the Inn served as an artist's colony, and the sculpture garden features a very rich collection of architectural heritage," Tory noted, while local Councillor Paul Ainslie (Ward 43) was excited about the project's accelerated timeline, which will see a "renovated and expanded facility open in the fall of 2016."

Guild Inn Restoration, Dynamic Hospitality and Entertainment Group Inc.,Paul Ainslie and John Tory (l-r) join the developers at the groundbreaking, image by Stefan Novakovic

The redevelopment will see the property—located on Guildwood Parkway in Scarborough—become an event venue for weddings, corporate functions, as well as community-oriented cultural events.

Spearheaded by the Dynamic Hospitality and Entertainment Group, the $20 million project will see modern additions complement the historic structure, while the original building itself—which remains in a state of profound disrepair—will be retrofitted to meet modern standards and regulations. 

Guild Inn Restoration, Dynamic Hospitality and Entertainment Group Inc.,A sculpture garden folly to the south of the property, image by Stefan Novakovic

Surrounded by a expansive sculpture garden that overlooks Lake Ontario, the Guild Inn's potential is quickly evident. Despite falling off Toronto's cultural radar in recent decades, a visit to the site evidences a bucolic and historically rich landscape, which may come to serve as an increasingly valuable respite from the quickly developing city around it.

Guild Inn Restoration, Dynamic Hospitality and Entertainment Group Inc.,A close-up of the redevelopment plan, image courtesy of Dynamic Hospitality

To get a better grasp of the redevelopment plans (seen above) and site history, we spoke to the project's architects, Giancarlo Garofalo and Queen's Quay Architects International's Peter Pascaris, as well as architect and heritage consultant Philip Goldsmith (below). Explaining the history of the Guild Inn, Goldsmith tells us that "the current structure on the site, which is the original building, was first built by Colonel Harold Bickford in 1914."

Guild Inn Restoration, Dynamic Hospitality and Entertainment Group Inc.,Philip Goldsmith in front of the site, image by Stefan Novakovic

"At the time, this was a forested, natural area well east of the city of Toronto," Goldsmith continues, "which is very different to today's suburban context. The estate was sold to the Catholic Church's Chinese Mission, though the building remained empty for some years before being sold to to Rosa and Herbert Clark in 1932. As avid art collectors, the Clarks re-imagined the property as an inn and an arts and crafts colony, which became a hub for painters and sculptors. The Clarks started collecting architectural elements from demolished buildings to create a sculpture garden."  

Guild Inn Restoration, Dynamic Hospitality and Entertainment Group Inc.,A part of the sculpture garden to the south, image by Stefan Novakovic

To this day, Guild Inn's surrounding garden remains dotted with an eclectic collection of architectural heritage, with neo-classical, gothic, and beaux arts pieces spread out across the grounds. "Many of these remain as the last vestiges of Toronto's architectural heritage," Goldsmith notes. "For example, the only remaining element of the Bank of Toronto office that was demolished to make way for Mies van der Rohe's TD Centre is right here in the garden," Goldsmith tells us, underscoring the cultural value of the site. 

Guild Inn Restoration, Dynamic Hospitality and Entertainment Group Inc.,Peter Pascaris and Giancarlo Garofalo (l-r), image by Stefan Novakovic

Meanwhile, Gaforlo and Pascaris take us through the Guild Inn's architectural history before outlining the scope of the redevelopment plans. "A series of additions had been appended throughout the 20th century," says Pascaris, "including a six-storey, 100 room wing to house an influx of guests in the 1960s." However, Garofalo explains that "the 1970s saw the beginning of a steep decline in popularity, as the natural landscape surrounding the site began to be developed, and the Inn no longer had the same desirability for vacationers."

Guild Inn Restoration, Dynamic Hospitality and Entertainment Group Inc.,A view of the building from the south, image by Stefan Novakovic

Over the coming decades, the Inn—now owned by the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority—gradually fell into disrepair, and the Guild Inn's hotel and restaurant closed down by 2001. "The building's been in very bad shape since then," Pascaris tells us, "and the basement was almost completely flooded a few years ago" Garofalo adds. 

Guild Inn Restoration, Dynamic Hospitality and Entertainment Group Inc.,A closer look at the ground level, image courtesy of Dynamic Hospitality

Throughout the last decade, the site has been subject to numerous revitalization proposals, though—even with most of the 20th century's later additions (including the 100-room hotel) now demolished—no project has materialized on the site until now. With the official groundbreaking now behind us, however, we can look forward to seeing the new development quickly take shape.

Guild Inn Restoration, Dynamic Hospitality and Entertainment Group Inc.,An aerial rendering of the redevelopment plan, looking north, image courtesy of Dynamic Hospitality

"The new additions are designed to maximize natural light and integrate the development into its surrounding scenery," Pascaris explains, "while keeping the aesthetic focus on the heritage building, making the modern elements cohesive and complementary." Garofalo adds that "our design maintains the scale—and roof line—of the heritage building, and we're building the majority of the structure over a former parking lot and the previous additions, avoiding an encroachment upon the natural landscape that surrounds the site."  

Guild Inn Restoration, Dynamic Hospitality and Entertainment Group Inc.,Rendering looking south, image courtesy of Dynamic Hospitality

The additions—on either side of the historic property—will flexibly accommodate a wide range of events, with the grand ballroom hosting crowds of up to 1,500, and the larger space will also be easily dividable to host smaller events. Green roofs will serve to integrate the development into the natural landscape, while the simplicity of the design allows the historic Guild Inn to take centre stage.

Guild Inn Restoration, Dynamic Hospitality and Entertainment Group Inc.,Another historic gate marks the site, image by Stefan Novakovic

We will keep you updated on the project as it develops over the coming months, with updates of construction progress to come. In the meantime, more information about the project is available in our dataBase file and Forum thread, which also features a discussion of the project. Want to share your thoughts? Leave a comment in the Forum or the space below this page. 

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Posted on 27 November 2015 | 10:18 pm

The Hook (B.C. News)

Five Whip-Smart Retorts to Common Anti-Refugee Arguments (in Mediacheck)

Unsure how to debunk persistent myths? Take a deep breath and cite these experts. 

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Posted on 28 November 2015 | 8:30 am

The Greater Fool

A little screwed

Andrew just bought a condo in DT Calgary. Poor Andrew. Unlucky in love, now horny over property. “A few years ago my life changed and I stopped owning a house (along with a wife and a couple dogs, I really miss the dogs) but with my divorce winnings (I mean home equity buyout) I put […]

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Posted on 22 September 2015 | 9:39 pm

A Ghost Looks at Facebook in Today's Comic by Ines Estrada

Social media can be just as haunting in the afterlife.

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Posted on 28 November 2015 | 2:58 pm

Michael Geist

What Now? Privacy and Surveillance in Canada After the Paris Attacks

As the world grapples with the recent terrorist attacks in Paris, the policy implications for issues such as the acceptance of refugees and continued military participation in the fight against ISIL have unsurprisingly come to the fore. The attacks have also escalated calls to reconsider plans to reform Canadian privacy and surveillance law, a key election promise from the Trudeau government.

My weekly technology law column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) argues that despite the temptation to slow the re-examination of Canadian privacy and surveillance policy, the government should stay the course. The Liberals voted for Bill C-51, the controversial anti-terror law, during the last Parliament, but promised changes to it if elected. Even in the face of a renewed terror threat, those changes remain essential and should not have an adverse impact on operational efforts to combat terror threats that might surface in Canada.

The post What Now? Privacy and Surveillance in Canada After the Paris Attacks appeared first on Michael Geist.

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Posted on 27 November 2015 | 2:32 pm

The Tyee / The Hook

Five Whip-Smart Retorts to Common Anti-Refugee Arguments (in Mediacheck)

Unsure how to debunk persistent myths? Take a deep breath and cite these experts. 

Related Stories

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Posted on 28 November 2015 | 8:30 am

Longtime King Crimson freak suggests watching the band like it's an orchestra

Apparently the musicianship is amazing.

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Posted on 27 November 2015 | 10:22 pm

A View from the Edge

Merry Christmas!

I just want to take this opportunity to thank all of you
for following my blog. I have been blogging since 2005; 3 years on 
another site and 5 1/2 years on this site. I started the blog mainly as a
diary and for my friends and family to keep track of our doings and 
whereabouts when we decided to hit the road in our RV. We got off the
road in April 2012. I have decided to step away from blogging for awhile, if not
permanently. I have many ideas in my head for books, and, in fact, have started
a few of them! I am hoping to spend more time this new year on writing. I
might check in from time-to-time on your blogs; may not comment, but just to
see how you all are doing. I've made some good friends over the years through
blogging, and I know that we will stay in touch.

Have a WONDERFUL Christmas and a HAPPY and HEALTHY
New Year!

Love, Pat

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Posted on 22 December 2013 | 2:24 pm

Cottage Country Reflections

cat, fish and deer!

I fed the fish. Daisy likes the fish food. She stuck her paw in and Shirley fish thought she was getting more food! One of our regular visitors.  And, yes, we still have a tree frog in our plant!

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Posted on 20 November 2015 | 1:19 pm

Weighty Matters

Saturday Stories: Apocalypse Pig, Babushkas, and Dunning-Kruger

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Posted on 28 November 2015 | 10:55 am

Margaret Wente

What’s the matter with Belgium?

The country’s failure to integrate Muslims is being blamed for turning it into a hotbed of radicalism. This is a dangerous delusion

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Posted on 27 November 2015 | 5:08 pm

Lauren Out Loud

HIATUS: re-launching sometime, maybe, in the future

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Posted on 24 July 2014 | 6:54 pm

Rants n Rascals

2015 North Pole BC Festival of Christmas Abbotsford Tradex {giveaway}

Once again it’s the time for the festival of giving, Christmas trees, lights, sounds of the holidays and goodies for everyone. It’s time for the ...

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Posted on 28 November 2015 | 9:45 pm

Bow. James Bow

Twenty Years Ago

Now this is a picture… This picture was taken on the afternoon of Sunday, November 26, 1995. Erin and I had met, face to face, for the first time just two days previous. We had arranged to meet in Chicago,...

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Posted on 27 November 2015 | 2:00 pm

A Toronto Blog

Unifor Toronto Rally Fight for $15

The Ontario Federation of Labour held a rally for fairness on November 25, 2015 and marched from the Sheraton Centre Hotel to Queen's Park. The rally banners demanded a minimum wage of $15 as well as pay equity, banning scabs, stopping contract flipping "and labour law reform so that every job is a pathway out of poverty!"

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Posted on 27 November 2015 | 3:15 am

Robyn Urbak on Campus

Former cabinet minister James Moore named chancellor at B.C. university

Former Conservative MP becomes the sixth chancellor of the University of Northern B.C.

The post Former cabinet minister James Moore named chancellor at B.C. university appeared first on

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Posted on 26 November 2015 | 6:20 pm

Postcards From the Mothership

Photos of the day: Lucas’s baptism

You know how it is when you let something slide, and then you r-e-a-l-l-y let it slide, and then it’s too late and you’re embarrassed about how horribly you’ve let it slide and you’re past the point of redemption, so you lie awake agonizing about it but can’t bring yourself to do anything about it […] Related posts (automatically generated):
  1. Beautiful Baby M’s Baptism
  2. (Nearly) Wordless Wednesday: 50 favourite photos from 2013
  3. Wordless Wednesday – Lucas’s first day of school

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Posted on 16 November 2015 | 1:02 am

David Akins on the Hill

Trudeau’s delightful toast to our Queen – and her delightful response

OK, he may have taken down every portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II that his predecessor hung up in our foreign embassies, but Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivered a very nice toast to Canada’s Queen this week at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Summit. Whether or not you’re a Trudeau supporter, his toast, reprinted […]

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Posted on 27 November 2015 | 11:29 pm

Dutch Blitz


We haven’t taken a family vacation in a few years. The last (and only) time the kids were on a plane is when we went to Disneyland five years ago. For a number of summers in a row, we would rent a home in Cannon Beach, Oregon, and spend our days hanging out at the […]

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Posted on 27 November 2015 | 5:54 pm

Nik at Night

The Power of an Editor: Why You Should Read "Go Set a Watchman"

Think of the last book that you read, whether fiction or non-fiction: the compelling characters, the story arcs, the way it did or didn’t quite work out in the end, the conversations. You probably didn’t notice the typesetting or the spelling or any of the technical aspects unless you work in the publishing field. You probably couldn’t read between the lines to figure out what had been added in later, or what had been shaped from an original version. And if you didn’t, that’s good: it means the editor did his or her job.

I’m an editor. Yes, I’m obviously also a writer, but first and foremost, I’m an editor. The reason the episode guides that I write tend to go through each episode and piece together a puzzle is because this type of detective work is what I do every day. That book that you just read: unless it was self-published, it didn’t come off the author’s computer, or typewriter, or handwritten notepad fully formed. There was an editor’s hand at work. An editor who, to name a few of the things I’ve done in the past, perhaps told the author that the ending didn’t work at all and it needed to be rethought or readers would be unsatisfied. Or that a particular character was unnecessary, and then went through the book and carefully stripped out all traces of that character so no one would ever know it had existed. Or corrected a sentence where a character is driving westward on Gerrard and hangs a right to drive to the CN Tower. Or where the editor simply talked a writer through a particularly horrible writer’s block. Or got to the end of editing a mystery book only to realize the killer couldn’t have actually done it, because way back on page 52 we had his alibi, so we’ll need to wipe that out and give it to another character. Perhaps when reading a non-fiction book you marvelled at how interesting the information was throughout. It’s possible an editor had gone through and stripped out all of that uninteresting side information that wasn’t necessary, thus saving you having to slog through it later.

The author is king. The editor is the author’s advisor, the first reader who looks at these works of staggering genius (as an editor, I will sign up nothing less) and does everything he or she can to make it even better. But we stay in the background, because the resulting book is not ours — it belongs to an author who worked tirelessly and brilliantly, with us coaching, encouraging, and giving advice along the way.

Why did I become an editor? On the one hand, I wanted to work with books. But the moment I realized I wanted to be an editor occurred one day in my 20th Century British Literature course in my undergrad at university. We were studying T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land, one of my favourite poems, and the professor brought in a facsimile of Ezra Pound’s edit of the poem. For the first time, I saw the hand of an editor at work. Pound had the mind of a genius, and he was working with a friend who was a genius. So here were two men working to achieve a work of stunning timelessness — one was the writer; the other was the editor who gave him new ideas in the margins, or corrected his use of Greek mythology, or suggested a different word that might be more evocative, or threw out entire passages and suggested a different direction. I’d had no idea that an editor had that much input into a book. I imagined the thrill of working with someone who could create such beauty, but working alongside them to make it even better, of making a suggestion and having an author excitedly take it and incorporate it into their work.

That’s what I wanted to do.

In the late 1950s, a young writer named Harper Lee was sending around her manuscript, which was called Go Set a Watchman. It fell into the hands of a brilliant editor named Tay Hohoff, who thought the book was fine, but it could be much better. In 1960, Harper Lee published what turned out to be one of the great literary classics of all time: To Kill A Mockingbird. This book about a young girl in the South who is affected by racism, civil unrest, and a town divided resonated with readers across America. Now, 55 years later, its themes of what it means to be an outsider, of acceptance or rejection, of race and how the actions of the few can affect the lives of the many, is still being taught in schools, and it was voted the most important book of the 20th century by American librarians.

If you’ve read the book or seen the excellent film with Gregory Peck, you know why it’s important. Atticus Finch is a character who leaps off the pages, even though you won’t find a quieter or more restrained character in the book. Told from the point of view of Scout Finch, we older readers chuckle and giggle at her shenanigans as we look up to her older brother Jem. We love their cook/nanny/housekeeper Calpurnia, but most of all it’s the very famous courtroom scene that resonates. When an African-American man, Tom, is charged with having raped and beaten a white girl, Mayella, who lives down near the town dump, all of Macomb County is in an uproar. There are those who simply assume he did it, while others aren’t so sure. Mayella’s father is an alcoholic who’s made more enemies than friends in this town, but on the other hand, the accused is Black. For some, that’s all it takes to assume he did it.

(Warning: Spoilers for Mockingbird ahead.) Atticus Finch is handed the case by the judge, and asked to defend the accused. He takes the case because he has to. But because he’s an excellent lawyer who believes that everyone deserves the right to a fair trial, he gives the man one. Scout and Jem sneak into the upper balcony where the African-American people sit, and listen to the entire case, unbeknownst to Atticus. Through very careful cross-examination of Mayella and her father, and in a reasonable discussion with Tom, Atticus presents a case that no one could deny: Mayella lured Tom into the house and kissed him, and her father came home, saw it, and beat her senseless and forced her to accuse Tom or he’d kill her. The evidence is undeniable.

Unless, of course, this is the South in the 1930s. In which case Tom is convicted. When the verdict is handed down, Scout and Jem are beside themselves. They can’t believe what they just heard, and they’re enraged at the obvious injustice. Atticus, on the other hand, quietly packs up his bag and walks out of the courtroom. As he does so, the children are tapped on the shoulder and turn to see every African-American person in the balcony standing out of respect for their father.

A lot more happens in the book, but this court case stands at the centre, and is the reason we still read and study this book today. Atticus Finch has been hailed as one of the great heroes of literature, a man who stood up for his beliefs and went against the status quo to try to ensure that a man would be treated as an equal, regardless of the colour of his skin.

Harper Lee never published another book. As the years went on, there were stories of an editor who’d worked heavily on the book with her, and tales that her friend Truman Capote had written large portions of it. She and Capote were very close, and it was said that she equally contributed to his development of his own classic, In Cold Blood.

Then, last year, to the shock of the literary community, HarperCollins announced they had the sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird, a long-lost book that was now coming to light. No sooner did every bibliophile add this new took to their to-read list on Goodreads than the news came out that Harper Lee perhaps wasn’t on board. Reportedly senile and in a nursing home, she was being taken advantage of, reports said, and didn’t want this book to see the light of day. It would be akin to reading someone’s teenage angsty poetry, and no author of the calibre of Harper Lee should be remembered for that. Reportedly her sister had fought tooth and nail to keep the manuscript suppressed, but when she died at the age of 102, there was no one left to fight on behalf of Lee. Enter an unscrupulous lawyer and a money-hungry publisher, said the reports, and you have Go Set a Watchman.

Now I was torn. I really wanted to read more of Harper Lee’s writing, but was the book sanctioned by her? The publisher said yes; the public said no. It was unclear what was true. HarperCollins was touting this as the sequel to Mockingbird, a book set 20 years after the events of the first one, and that we’d see what would happen to the characters. In my excitement on the first day, I’d pre-purchased the book, and then promptly forgot that I’d done so.

Fast-forward to July, when the book came out, and appeared on my doorstep. I didn’t realize I’d ordered the book, and had half a mind to simply return it. Especially now that, in the week before its release, it had come to light through reviewers that the Atticus Finch in this book was actually a racist in his later years, that Scout was flaky, the writing was weak, and this was not the sort of book that fans of Mockingbird would want to read. Not only are the characters disappointing as hell, but there are ENTIRE PASSAGES that are exactly the same as in Mockingbird, said the reports. Who would want to read that?!

But I also discovered something else — this was NOT the sequel to Mockingbird, despite HarperCollins promoting it as such. This was the original manuscript.

Suddenly, this was an entirely different matter. There was no way I was sending the book back now.

And so I read it. And as a book, it’s fine; at times it’s great, and at times it’s lousy, but overall, it’s fine. If this had been Harper Lee’s first foray into fiction, it probably would have done well, and she would have been promptly forgotten. No one would have been studying this book 55 years later.

BUT... as a historical document that sheds new light into one of the greatest books ever written, Go Set a Watchman is perhaps the most important book of the 21st century thus far. Because this is not a sequel — it’s the very book that was handed to Tay Hohoff all those years ago. And when you read it, you can see exactly where To Kill a Mockingbirdcame from.

Scout returns to Macomb County years after her father had defended a Black man against wrongful rape allegations, and he won the case. But when she goes to town and sees him in a town meeting, where he allows a man to speak shockingly racist things, and seems to back him up, she’s appalled. She can’t believe the very man who’d given her so many values as a child could have turned into this person. And then we get flashbacks to some of those moments of her childhood, with her brother Jem and their friend Dill. After she has it out with her aunt about what she overheard her father saying, she confronts Atticus, and there’s a long section of the book that consists solely of the argument between the two of them, with her offering up every attack against his racism, and him calmly taking those attacks and throwing back something else. Scout comes off as rational, intelligent, sympathetic, and outraged, and Atticus is infuriatingly calm, and in a couple of moments, a little unnerved. I won’t say what ultimately happens, but I will say that when I read the dialogue between the two of them, it seemed like very daring material for a book written by a white women from the South in the 1950s.

And, perhaps, it’s why it wasn’t published. Maybe the world wasn’t quite ready for a book that was that sympathetic to the Civil Rights Movement.

I will warn you now: reading Go Set a Watchman won't always be a pleasant experience. There are moments of abject racism in this book where you'll want to hurl it across the room. And there are moments of outdated sexism that will just make you shake your head. But the thing is, we can't turn away from those moments. Because while the sexism is, as I said, largely outdated, the racism, devastatingly, isn't. There were times in Go Set a Watchman where I couldn't believe how progressive some of Scout's arguments were against her father. And then I had the depressing realization that the only reason they seem progressive is because we're still saying them

Reading this book before Mockingbird — and should you take up both of them, I strongly urge you to read Watchmanfirst, and Mockingbird second, because it’s a much richer experience to see the genesis of Mockingbird than to read it as a sequel, which it is not — I could imagine the editor working with Lee. I imagined her reading it and saying look, I really like what you’ve done here, but I think the argument at the end simply isn’t something the publishers will go for. Why don’t we be a little subtler with how we jar their sympathies? See these little moments where we flash back to Scout’s childhood? I have to admit; that’s where your book really comes to life. Why don’t we simply come up with a way to actually go back to that time and recreate the very summer that she spends so much of this book talking about? She keeps referring to an Atticus that’s clearly not the one in these pages: what if you showed us that Atticus, but let’s not make it easy. We’ll paint him as a hero, but let’s have the judge force him to take the case; he’s not just taking it out of the goodness of his heart. And right here, where you say he won the case? What if he presents an irrefutable case and actually loses? Wouldn’t that garner the sympathies of audiences even more? And since this is the story of outsiders, why not have one closer to home? Like maybe a next-door neighbour who never comes out of his house? I want to evoke that voice of childhood: Scout and Jem are children who don’t see black and white, they simply see people. It’s only in the jadedness of adulthood that racism festers and grows. I want the story told from the point of view of a child. Perhaps that might force the audience — without them even realizing that it’s happening — to realize that Scout is right.

And Harper Lee went back to the drawing board and reimagined the entire book. There are stories I’ve heard of Lee going through serious anxiety while working on the book, of throwing the pages out of the window at one point and then calling her editor to tell her what she’d just done, and of her editor ordering her outside to go and pick up all of those pages. She was encouraged, coaxed, and sometimes perhaps forced to get a better story out of what she’d already written. But reading Watchman, you can see the same wit, style, and sense of humour on every page. I don’t believe Capote wrote this book, because the voice of In Cold Blood is very different than the one we get here, and with the exception of whatever editing actually happened at HarperCollins within the past year to get this book to publication, we can assume that most of this book is Lee’s raw manuscript. And there are moments of brilliance in there.

Right before I started reading this book, I saw a review in Entertainment Weeklythat gave the book a D+, if I remember correctly, and it said quite simply: don’t read this. If you do it will ruin your experience of To Kill a Mockingbird forever. After having read Go Set a Watchman, I can honestly say that that review is one of the single most irresponsible pieces of journalism I’ve ever had the misfortune to read. Read Go Set a Watchman for a perfect example of a work of fiction that was rejected. Read it to see how much work an author really has to go through to get from Draft A to the finished product. Read it to see just how much input an editor can have in a book. Read it to realize that not everyone can be an author, and the few who do are the ones who have gone through editorial processes like this one. Read it to see how the germ of a great idea may be hidden in a not-so-great one. Read it to see the flashes of brilliance that Lee exhibited even in her unedited first draft. Read it to see what a remarkable writer she really is. Read it to convince yourself that there’s no way Capote wrote To Kill a Mockingbird, and that instead, this book is the result of the sweat and tears of one author, working alongside a very encouraging editor.

And then go read To Kill a Mockingbird. And see what the result of all that work can be. Read it to see that it’s not the cut and dried book people seem to think it is. Read it to see that Atticus isn’t exactly a civil rights hero — he was forced to fight the case, and when he lost he simply walked out of the courthouse and shrugged his shoulders because he’d done the best he could and that was that. Read it to see where the good passages in Go Set a Watchman became exquisite ones in Mockingbird. Read it and marvel at what an extraordinary book it still is, and always will be.

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Posted on 26 October 2015 | 7:35 pm

Word Grrrls

Filler Words are Really, Actually, Like, You Know… Wasting Time and Space

Some expressions can like really screw up the way you communicate, you know? Source: These Six Filler Words Are Undermining Your Credibility | Fast Company | Business + Innovation I used to work harder on not using filler words. I would add “that” to the list from Fast Company. What are your own worst junk words? Anyway (a transitional and lazy filler word), we can’t write the way we speak to a friend. Keep your writing just formal enough to avoid losing readers to the written version of ummm…..

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Posted on 26 November 2015 | 11:57 pm

Elfshot - sticks and stones

ARCH 4153 Lithic Analysis at Memorial University of Newfoundland

I'll be teaching ARCH 4153 during the winter semester through the Department of Archaeology at MUN.  This course is offered every second year and we will cover many topics that will help archaeology students as they continue on an academic path or look for work in the consulting world.  A strong working knowledge of stone tools, from their manufacture and use to the meaning behind their distribution within a site or across a region, is an important skill for any archaeologist.  Space is limited, register today.

Photo Credit: Tim Rast

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Posted on 16 November 2015 | 11:15 am

Adam Radwanski

Outside the bubble, Trudeau’s honeymoon has a lot of life left in it

The new government is building early goodwill, but must guard against a false sense of security and creeping arrogance

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Posted on 27 November 2015 | 11:42 pm

How to Survive Life in the Suburbs

Serenity In The City ~ Langham Place

We caught one of the very last flights into New York City that night.  The planes arriving after us?  Diverted to other airports or grounded due to the wild winds and unsafe conditions.  The pilot must have white knuckled that landing and he was rewarded by uproarious applause as we cruised safely into Laguardia Airport. […]

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Posted on 27 November 2015 | 2:03 pm

A Peek Inside the Fishbowl

Shop local, Shop the Neighbourhood

Last year I was part of a really cool initiative called Shop the Neighbourhood. The idea behind it is to encourage people to shop locally, which I love, because I truly believe that independent stores are the backbone of our community and help make it a great place to live. I’m very happy to announce that […]

The post Shop local, Shop the Neighbourhood appeared first on a peek inside the fishbowl.

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Posted on 25 November 2015 | 1:03 am

Dawg’s Blawg

But What Else Rhymes with "Nose"?

The recent brouhaha over whether or not the practice of “yoga” represents cultural appropriation is a deeper swamp than I care to wade into at the moment, thanks. I’ve been helping a friend in dealing with his own crisis of...

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Posted on 22 November 2015 | 5:08 pm

Dammit Janet

Abortion: Once and For All

My entire blogging career -- if you can call something that doesn't pay a "career" -- has been conducted during the Dark Ages.

It started back at Birth Pangs, now sadly gone but snippets have been saved at the WayBack Machine (hours of fun!). Birth Pangs was focussed on reproductive rights just about exclusively.

We created DJ! in 2009. Our birthday was yesterday.

With DJ! we spread our focus, but I -- and deBeauxOs to a lesser extent -- stayed on the repro rights beat.

I've been thinking about what I want to do now that the Dark Ages are over and we don't have to remain constantly on guard for sneaky fuckery from Conservative misogynist nutbars.

I've decided to go on the offensive.

According to the fetus freaks, we now have the most "pro-abortion" PM EVAH! Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada (ARCC) reckons the anti-choice brigade in the House of Commons has been halved, from 38% to 18% and ALL of them are in minority opposition.

The Liberals ran on some pretty big promises to women, specifically on abortion access.

I propose we not only hold the government to those promises but push for more.

Here is ARCC's list of demands.
• Enforce Canada Health Act against NB and PEI – i.e., arbitrate to resolve access/funding issues, and if the provinces still don’t comply, withhold federal transfer payments.
• To reduce abortion, fully fund most contraception through Medicare (the Pill, IUDs, Depo, emergency contraception, etc.).
• Increase number of hospitals that provide abortions outside major cities.
• Increase medical school training in abortion; provide continuing education in abortion techniques to existing doctors.
• Incentivize and support doctors to provide abortions in smaller communities.
• Prohibit so-called “conscientious objection” in reproductive healthcare, or at least require referrals and discipline doctors who disobey.
• Screen out anti-choice medical students before they enter the Family Planning program or Obstetrics/Gynecology specialty (inability to fulfill job requirements should make them ineligible).

To which I would add:
• Require comprehensive sex ed, including consent and gay and trans rights, in every publicly funded school.
• Regulate and license so-called Crisis Pregnancy Centres to ensure they are telling the truth and treating "clients" respectfully and responsibly. Shut them down if they don't.
• Create a media climate in which any reporter who goes to a fetus freak for a "balancing" comment on a proposal that should be judged on its own merits gets laughed out of the room.
• Crowdfund as necessary to bring suit against organizations and pundits that tell outrageous lies about sexual health and reproductive law.

Of course there are other important things on the feminist agenda that we will continue to work on, like violence against women, child care, equal pay, decriminalizing sex work, and so on.

But I think we have a historic opportunity to get this one done. Once and for all.

Canada is a pro-choice country. We have the chance to move our institutions, media, and culture to the point of no return. Where it will become simply unthinkable for anyone to question a woman's right to make her own decisions on her own life.

We can discredit, delegitimate, disrupt, and demoralize the anti-choicers so that only the most insane of them think it's worth their time to continue.

We can do this. And serve as a beacon of compassion and sanity to the world.

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Posted on 19 November 2015 | 7:23 pm

That Artist Woman

Poppy Printmaking

As we move forward to Remembrance Day I have been trying a few printmaking projects with the students.

This one was done on a black painted background but black construction paper would work.

This one is just on plain white paper.


- craft foam, white or lighter colours work best.  You could also use scratch foam or a foam plate or container
- pencil
- cardboard
- acrylic or liquid tempera paint
- paintbrush
- pencil crayons
- paper for printing on


I really like using craft foam for printmaking.  Kids can just draw on it with a pencil, pushing hard enough that they can feel the design with their fingertips.

Scratch foam also works good and if you can't get your hands on that you can cut the middle out of a foam plate or container.

Here I just drew out pieces of a poppy.  Flowers, leaves, buds, and centres.  Adding contour and texture lines will enhance the print.

I buy sticky foam.  I cut the shapes out, peel and stick to some cardboard, cut out the general shape from the cardboard and then add a handle to the back with more cardboard.

I use my glue gun to stick on the handle as I'm impatient and want to get printing right away.

You could also use a loop of masking tape and tape the foam to the cardboard if you don't have sticky foam.  You could also tape them to the clear Plexiglas blocks if you use those for printing.

You can use printing ink if you have it but I tend to use acrylic paint.

I add just a touch of water to help it flow.  Now you could use a brayer to apply or a paintbrush.

If using a paint brush make a circular motion when painting, that way you won't get brush marks on the print.

Flip stamp over, place where you want on design and press.

The second print from the stamp, (without reloading with paint) is called the ghost print.  Sometimes that is the better print.

I work with 2 pieces of paper and sometimes I mix first prints and ghost prints together in a composition.

Here I'm giving my stamp a spritz with water before doing the ghost as I waited too long between prints.

That one turned out pretty good!

Continue printing.  I added some stems with a paintbrush.  Printed on the leaves and buds.
Finally I added the centre in black.

When the print is dry you can add some extra details and shading with pencil crayons if you want.

Another great thing you can do with sticky foam is cut it into thin strips and "draw" out your image.  I used cardboard as the base.

This will give you an outline of your  image.

See you next time.


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Posted on 4 November 2015 | 10:14 pm

A pretty Life in the Suburbs

Getting ready to decorate for the holidays!

I’m getting ready to decorate for the holidays so wanted to share where I got my inspiration! – – – – – – – Getting ready to decorate for the holidays! This year I could hardly wait to decorate for the holidays, because this was the year I was going to change all of my […]

The post Getting ready to decorate for the holidays! appeared first on A Pretty Life In The Suburbs.

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Posted on 25 November 2015 | 12:15 pm

Canada's Adventure couple

6 Ways This Introvert-Extravert Couple Makes Travel Work

Being an introvert and an extravert in a relationship together has its challenges. One of us is unbelievably chatty (that's me, Amy), and loves to share every thought that passes through my curly little head. Then there's Nathan: reserved, quiet, contemplative. I was a musical theatre major in college. I thrived on singing, dancing, and [...]

Read the original post 6 Ways This Introvert-Extravert Couple Makes Travel Work on The Planet D: Adventure Travel Blog.

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Posted on 27 November 2015 | 10:00 am

My New Life in Canada, under the snow!

My Oddly Specific Fear

Each country's set of road rules has a few idiosyncrasies. In Canada, the rule I hate the most is the "right turn on red".

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Posted on 27 November 2015 | 1:00 pm

Live From Waterloo

WW#381 – Barely made it!

I was running out of gas when I got stuck on Highway 401 due to a crash.
I was amazed that I could drive 5+ km with the screen showing ‘0 Km left’ until I found a gas station! 
Venía ya con el tanque vacío cuando me encontré en un flor de embotellamiento en la autopista 401.
Me sorprendí de haber podido manejar más de 5 km con el indicador diciendo que el tanque ya estaba vacío
hasta que encontré una estación de servicio!

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Posted on 18 November 2015 | 4:23 pm