Saturday, July 1, 2017

Happy Canada Day 2017!

It looks like the weather will be a bit up and down today, but I'll try not to let it get in the way of any celebrating I happen to be doing.  I'm not sure if we will actually head out anywhere early (my daughter wanted to go to the Eaton Centre for some reason), but I have plans to see a play by Video Cabaret (on the topic of Confederation -- how appropriate) in the early afternoon, and then most likely I will pick up my son so we can see a free jazz concert by the Claudia Quintet tonight.  That sounds like a pretty good day, though it will be better if it doesn't pour on me while I am getting around.  Assuming all goes well, and it doesn't rain, we might head over to the Pape bridge to watch the fireworks they are launching from the CN Tower.

Actually, yesterday the rain held off last evening, though the sky was "spitting" just a bit at the end of the concert and during the short firework show in Nathan Phillips Square.  I was running a bit late and I really wanted to get my final review of the 10th Canadian challenge submitted before I headed down to face the crowds at Nathan Phillips Square. In the end, I missed all of Buffy Ste. Marie's set, which was too bad.  I did see some First Nations dancers who performed between the sets.  You can hear a bit of the drumming in the audio of this video of a light show they had at City Hall (the columns alternated between red and white).

It was interesting, but did seem to go on a bit long.  I was fairly far back, but I could see the stage.  (The dancers were in the fountain area actually.)

Of course, right as the show was starting, a very tall man scooted up a couple of people ahead of me and completely blocked my view.  Then I moved over behind some moderately tall man, who kept moving his head in ways that largely blocked me.  Kind of frustrating, though I mostly just focused on the music and sometimes the video screens.  I also had to watch out for some large inflatable balls (red and white naturally) that bounced around the square.  Towards the end, I did have to fend one off.  (I was kind of glad that the young girl on her father's shoulders managed to touch the ball.  She seemed to find it thrilling.)  It was a good, though somewhat short show (maybe 1 hour 15 minutes).  They played "Brian Wilson," "The Old Apartment," "Pinch Me," "Lovers in a Dangerous Time," the theme from "The Big Bang Theory."  They may have worked in some newer material, but ended with crowd favourites "One Week" and obviously "If I Had a Million Dollars."  This video was a fairly good representation of what it was like to be there.  I liked the various impromptu raps they added throughout the show, including one about inflator pins (that could be used to pump up the sagging balls in the audience) and where they also riffed off Snow's "Informer"!  I'm hoping that more of the show (and in better quality) surfaces soon.  Anyway, it was a nice show, and they tried to pull out the stops for the hometown crowd.  This is probably the fourth time I've seen them, having somehow missed their Massey Hall concert last year.  The fireworks were nice too, though they didn't last a full 6 minutes!

Anyway, I'm feeling in a somewhat contemplative mood this morning.  It's hard to believe that I've been living in Canada for five years (early fall will be the start of my sixth year).  I was happy to make the switch, and of course since last November I have been completely convinced I made the right call to move north.  Not that there aren't plenty of problems in Canada, including increasing inequality and child poverty rates, plus the difficulties with Reconciliation.  But it doesn't feel like the entire country is moving backwards (of course, I may feel differently about Ontario if the Conservatives take over next year, which is quite likely to happen).

I managed to get through quite a number of classic Canadian authors during the 10th Canadian challenge.  I kept track here, and the round-up for the entire challenge is here (plus the link for where to go to sign up for the 11th challenge, starting today in fact!).  While it is a little surprising I didn't read any Atwood, I ended the previous challenge with her The Heart Goes Last.  During the 11th challenge, I will almost certainly read Moral Disorder and perhaps The Stone Mattress and possibly I'll get to her dystopian trilogy.  I'd like to try at any rate, and then start rereading Robertson Davies's trilogies.  I'll bring over the Bissoondath and Vanderhaege and Skvorecky from my "possible entries" post, and I'll definitely be getting around to Mordecai Richler's early novels this time around.  I also hope to read Miriam Toews's A Complicated Kindness before I decide whether to tackle any of her other novels.  I think during this challenge, I'll read Laurence's The Tomorrow Tamer, and then during the subsequent challenge I'll read her major novels plus A Bird in the House.  One of the few literary Canadian authors I haven't tackled at least once is Wayson Choy.  I'll add his The Jade Peony and then the sequel All That Matter.  Finally, as if this wasn't ambitious enough, I'll try to get to Vincent Lam's Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures.

One thing that I probably ought to do is read a bit of Canadian history.  I mean, who knows, I might be filing for Canadian citizenship one of these days.  (In fact, I just went and looked.  Apparently the Liberals have not rolled back the changes to the citizen eligibility requirements that Harper pushed through.  So the very earliest I could apply would be late fall 2018.*)  In any event, I may start by reading the scripts for Michael Hollingsworth's The History of the Village of the Small Huts for Video Cabaret, as they really compressed Canadian history (up to Brian Mulroney) in a very digestible and often hilarious way.  I have another general history of Canada.  After that (though not necessarily for this next challenge), I have a 2 part biography of Pierre Eliot Trudeau.

Anyway, I should get a bit of rest before the day really gets underway.  Happy Canada Day, y'all!

* (Added July 3)  Apparently the residency requirements do get relaxed this fall, so I probably could apply for citizenship over the winter.  I do plan on applying for citizenship, but maybe not at the very first opportunity.  After all, I do need to read up more on Canada's history in order to pass the test.  Probably the hardest thing is to name the politicians who head up the other political parties, since this is still very much in flux!

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