Thursday, March 30, 2006

Well, it's been a few days since Dara, Bob, Paul and Autumn returned to the states, and life is adjusting back to normal just in time to be done with classes. This coming week will be the last for two of ours (three for Yvana!), which leaves us the rest of April to work on research. But returning to our friends, it was sad to see them go, especially since we looked forward to them coming up so much and the time passed so quickly...

It just seemed like a lot of things have been happening in the past few weeks that have been impossible to explain, even face to face with my wife, and I suppose now heading into paper season it will get no better. The closest thing I can liken it to is an identity crisis, but I don't think that completely captures what I hope to describe. I have simply been confronting a lot of aspects in my professional work that I just can't grasp: the technical, analytical, syllogistic philosophy that seems so integral to this discipline. This realization reminded me why I studied what I did in undergrad; history and literature are storied subjects. It is my hope, then, that I can get some help from people to figure out a way to see the storied nature of philosophy as integral to philosophy itself- that the message is in the medium( I’m finding Paul Ricoeur to be a tremendous help in applying some philosophical leverage in that respect), and, most importantly, that at the end of the day the ultimate medium is in life itself.

So what does all this have to do with our recently visiting buddies? Well, I can't make it clear abstractly, so let me give you a brief sketch. I was dealing with my own inadequacies professionally and personally, when I said something to my wife that should never have been said. It hurt her, it hurt the people I said it in front of, and it hurt the love relationship between all involved. So I guess this is a belated confession and apology (in the many senses of the words) to all the people I love, whether victims of this instance of my own hatred or others. Anyone who might be reading this probably has some painful memories of how I shamefully treated them, but space won't allow, and the time cannot be found to make things right. Know, however, that I constantly remember them (even if you don't think I do) as I do the best I can to make my life the medium for my philosophy. -M

Monday, March 27, 2006

Spring has Sprung in Toronto...
...and Michael, Dara and I made the best of it in quite a sight-seeing-extravaganza yesterday! We were blest this past Saturday to visit with FOUR of our good friends from the Chicago-area, who flew like (and with?!) the wind to spend their Spring break/vacation time with us. While Bob, Paul (M and Y's Trin friends) and Autumn left after church to head even farther East, to Montreal, Dara (friend of Y's from WA, and now IL!) gave us a great excuse to see the best of what our fair city of Toronto has to offer, on one of the most beautiful sunny days this year! A run-down, with commentary, of our expedition:

First off, as good, cheap graduate students, we packed a lunch. While this is a wonderful city, you just can't beat the price of making your lunch at home! This ended up being a great idea, taking into consideration all the walking we would do in the next few hours...

Next, we headed off to the subway stop and bought our day passes, which gave the three of us the ability to travel all day on the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) vehicles for just 16CDN--what a deal! In the course of our travels, we made good use of our passes by using (at various points) the subway, streetcar, buses and our feet--seeing more of the city than Mike and I had ever before.

Our first detour was to walk around by Bay and Yonge street (Chicagoans, read Michigan Ave.), where we showed Dara a part of "The Longest Street in the World" (Yonge). Thankfully we didn't have to walk it... As it was getting to be long after lunch time and our picnic destination was still a ways off, however, we hopped back on our trusty TTC and headed to our second major stop:

The Beaches (Following this link, we were at dot "7")! What a wonderful day for the beach. Though it reminded me of the beach behind the resort we stayed at in Puerto Vallarta (briefly... Ok, it is a bit of a stretch) the wind and the remainders of winter forced us to keep winter coats and gloves on nearly the whole time. After sitting down for a bite and watching the waves lap the shore and the dogs lap the waves (and Dara's apple core--FROM HER HAND!) we got moving again, walking up the boardwalk and picking up rocks as we went along. Realizing it wasn't really as warm as we had hoped, we ducked into a coffee shop for a warm up before getting on our way again--taking the Queen streetcar this time--to...

The Distillery District. I had suggested this kind of on a lark, since some people had reccomended it to us, but we gave it a shot--what a treat! The Distillery District is an old Victorian part of the city, where gobs of Holywood flims have been shot (Not that I have seen any of them... Cinderlla Man comes to mind, but there are plenty more). Tinsel Town was on to something when they found this place, though--it has old-timey buildings with tons of art galleries (we went into two), a chocolate-maker, paper-maker, ceramics-maker, a few restaurants (probably with some good brews, considering it is the DISTILLERY district!) and tons more.

Leaving the turn of the century (I guess I need to clarify that more now that we are in the NEXT century--20th) behind, we headed off into the sunset (literally) on our walk down Front Street past the St. Lawrence Market (closed, unfortunately). We headed for Union station, via the Hockey Hall of Fame (we are in Canada, eh?), the entrance to the Eaton Center (or should I say "Centre"??) and BCE Place (a very picturesque place with indoor gardens and lots of glass). I guess we were too busy "VIA-ing," and we missed Union station, but caught the subway at the next stop, taking it to College--our favorite and most traveled street--and then to home.

After dinner we went out again, this time for dessert close to home at the delicious Sicilian Sidewalk Cafe (Mike and I had been there before, but Dara was in for a treat!), and then we headed out to The Rex Jazz Bar--"More Great Jazz than anywhere else, all the time!," where we got to listen to some wonderful live Jazz/Blues performed by Sienna Dahlen. Exhausted after her set at about Midnight, we chatted with her for a bit before taking the TTC home again. Quite an eventful day, but we got to cover a bit of the city, and note some place that we will definitly want to hit again!

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Small victories eventually add up, so I might as well share it. Our daily bicycle trek between apartment and school takes us approximately 3 miles along College Street, along which the streetcars run. Now, let me tell you, it's no fun to be caught riding next to a streetcar for a number of reasons, foremost of which are: 1) these things are constantly stopping in order to pick up and drop off passengers, meaning you must do the same or risk running over the elderly as they hobble to the curb, which I'm sure would add a few minutes to your stay in purgatory (don't freak out, I'm just saying that to be funny... I haven't bought into popery... yet). And 2) the autos are usually impatient to get past these streetcars and end up doing stupid and risky things in order to get by. But what might be an inconvenient fender-bender for a car could pretty easily turn life threatening for a cyclist. Anyway, today I started off next to a streetcar at school and hooved it to pull ahead... but by the time I got to our street, I had passed 3! I realize that many of you might ridicule my enthusiasm at my self-perceived biking prowess, but hey, I don't got much else... So back off my bike! -M

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Just another case in point--this blog thing can get to be quite a time-waster if I so choose... Hey, it's my favorite color, I had to take it!

I am "Grass Green"

Down to earth and a bit of a hippie, you are very into nature and the outdoors.
You accept the world and people as they are. You don't try to change things.
You are also very comfortable with yourself, flaws and all.
Optimistic about the future, you feel like life is always getting better.

"A bit of a hippie?" It is amazing what a couple months at grad school in Canada can do to you... "Optimistic about the future?" Definitely. Dare you to take the quiz, too... --Y

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Since our last email, for which I entirely assume responsibility, was dour and spiceless, this post will begin a (re)new(ed) and joyous approach of fun and quirky moments in our lives. Some bland, abstract philosopical things might sneak their way in, but we hope that the truly philosophical can be the minute narrative of our lives... so, fun things!

To begin, I, Michael, have taken up knitting, proving the folk wisdom that married folk grow more alike as they live together (and after only 1.5 years!). To date, Yvana has not picked up any of my habits, she hopes, but we wait with bated breath. I hope to knit and purl my way to a scarf first, and eventually a sweater, but time will tell.

Yvana has had a rash of winter clothing loss recently... a scarf, and one glove each from two pairs. She is down to one pair of thinsulate gloves and one pair mittens- doing fine with the scarves though. I must specify, however, that it has not been her fault; the weather has been unusually windy and has blown these gloves away rather quickly, especially while biking; it's a hard thing, because when we begin we are usually cold, but about halfway to school/home, the activity of biking makes us uncomfortably warm, which means we shed some outer shells, which leads to lost articles. But we hope to make it through the winter without any further regresses.

A short posting, but I suppose that's the point. We are off this afternoon to volunteer at our church's community dinner, where we offer free, hot meals to whoever needs or wants one, so it promises to be an enjoyable, rewarding, and interesting time. -M

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Well, we have broken yet another barrier in the long, barrier-filled information superhighway, just after I had gotten used to my CB and 8-Track... We'll post some more sometime soon, as our blog-addicted friends have no doubt paved the way for us. -M