The Alien at 50

In our culture it is very alienating to be 50. That age where it hits you that you may not even be middle aged now. Being young, from childhood to somewhere in the 30’s was such a different perspective. I didn’t see it then but I can see it now. Being in my 40’s was (so far) the best time of life for me. I felt ok and even good sometimes. I felt I was ok with myself.

Then, among the years I should have been 40-something, 50 hit me. It came down hard and clouded everything. Even when I could have been happy being 40-something that 50 hung over me, hovering like my personal rain cloud of doom.

In younger years I had read about actresses and such who said there were no roles for older women. I thought little of it. I could see older women in TV shows, movies, commercials, etc. Likely they were in theatre too if I cared to look.

But, the actresses said it wrong. It’s not that there aren’t roles for older women. It’s that there are so MANY roles for younger women, younger people.

Our culture is based on youth. Not just being young and looking it, but the parts of life which come in those younger years (traditionally): going to school, dating, marrying and having children. When I watch anything on TV now I am swarmed with the feeling of how much I don’t belong. How far I am past those parts of life. I don’t want to go back. I just want to be ok with where I am. But, it’s hard.

It’s hard to feel ok with being older when it seems we don’t exist, are expected to keep to ourselves and not be seen or heard. Unless it’s something to do with spending money like buying insurance, buying sedate vacations, buying pee pads (not for your period, whether you still get it or not).

I feel alienated in my own world. I don’t see where I fit in. I can talk to the younger generations. I don’t know their particulars any more: the music, the actors, etc. But, those are just entertainment. I know about life, having come through those younger years. But all my experience and knowledge is tainted by how younger people see me. I’m old. I don’t know the entertainment stuff so I’m relegated to being outdated, out of place and I don’t really understand how things are today.

Odd, but things aren’t all that different. People are born, go to school, try to get along in the world, get married, have babies (or not) and then…. it’s the long stretch of being there, but not getting in the way, until you’re finally as old as you feel.

I don’t feel old. I feel like me. I feel almost the same as I did when I was twenty. But, those are memories and I know that. No wonder we tend to look at the past more as we fall into the future where we don’t fit in and don’t have a place. In the past we had a place and the world was about us.

Now I’m an alien. Just because I’m 50.

If it weren’t for the perception of others (and my own awareness of time limits) I could believe I’m twenty. Young people expect being older to feel so different. It’s not. It’s almost exactly the same as feeling twenty. But, I look at those who are twenty and I can see a difference then. There is a shiny new-ness, an extra bounce and they’re just a bit quicker to laugh.

So maybe we do become an alien as we get older. Where is the mothership then? I’d like to find the other aliens and feel I belong again. I don’t like this feeling of being isolated among all the people I see every day.

The other thing I don’t like to think about is to look past myself and see those older than I am. Right now I may not feel I belong and I may feel like an alien… they look more alien. I worry about how I will still feel like myself when I start to look even less like myself and more alien to who I think I am.

Where is that mothership…?

Canadian Cuisine

Canada is far away from some places on the planet and people in those far away places may wonder what Canadians like to eat. This is especially good to know if you are making plans to visit Canada and wonder what you might find wriggling on the end of your fork. Not that we eat a lot of things that wriggle.

Canada is not snow all year. We don’t camp out in the wilderness and worry about polar bears wandering into our backyards. Canada is big. There are a lot of people here, some of them are still here and some are being born right now. We are multi cultural. Some people think Canada does not have a culture at all. This is not the case. Canada is built from many cultures, yet we have a common history which connects us.

One common theme in Canada is food. Take a look at Canada’s Food Guide. We may overload on sugar (mmm…. butter tarts) but we do like fresh food, vegetables and a great coffee (or beer) to top it all off. Most Canadians like food which is fairly well known: hamburgers and fries, fish and chips, spaghetti, steak and potato, pizza, back and eggs, lasagna, cabbage rolls, sweet and savoury pies, coffee, stew… a fairly generic list isn’t it? You may think we are fairly uninspired but, Canadians do have an edible culture of our own:

What do Canadians Eat?

  • Poutine – French fries with cheese curd and topped with gravy.
  • French fries with vinegar
  • Maple syrup (Not on everything)
  • Butter tarts – Tarts which are very sweet: butter, sugar and eggs in a pastry shell.
  • Nanaimo Bars – From BC. A crumble crust, a sweet layer, topped with a layer of chocolate.
  • Tourtiere – A French Canadian meat pie (pork, onions and spices in a crust).
  • Pate Chinois – Layers of beef, creamed corn and potato.
  • Bannock – Inuit flat bread.
  • Salmon – Salmon does go well with almost anything.
  • Montreal-style bagels
  • Montreal-smoked meat
  • Ice wine – Made with grapes frozen on the vine.
  • Bloody Caesar – You need Clamato for this Canadian version of the Bloody Mary.
  • Screech – What happens in Newfoundland, stays in Newfoundland.
  • BeaverTails – Fried dough with assorted sweet toppings.
  • Ketchup chips
  • Timbits – Doughnut holes.
  • Back bacon or peameal bacon (In the US they call it Canadian bacon, we don’t know why)

What Do Canadians Cook?

Canadians are multicultural. So you can find an endless assortment of dishes in Canadian restaurants and home kitchens. Most of the dishes above came from another culture and were adapted to become something unique to Canada.

Canadian Chefs to Inspire You:

Stop Apologizing for Being Canadian

Immigration and multiculturalism are old issues for Canada, never resolved. I don’t think there can be a meeting of the minds on this one. Even myself, I am split on how far multiculturalism should go and how much immigration should be supported.

I have the unique perspective of having  been an immigrant to another country, for a few years. I returned to Canada and actually have no desire to ever return to the US (where I had immigrated to for my husband). I’m very happy in Canada. I was born here. My family are all here. I have never seen a gun used here. I don’t hear or see racism here – though it is now and then talked about in the news.

In the news I hear about not having the Canadian flag at schools. Not having the Canadian anthem sung at schools and events. I see our police and Mounties wearing adjusted uniforms to support the religious practices of other cultures. I don’t like these things. They are defacing Canada’s own culture, history and pride. I do think multiculturalism and tolerance go too far when school children are no longer able to sing the Canadian anthem or point out all the Canadian provinces on a map of the world. My ten year old niece is unable to find Manitoba on a globe of the world until I tell her it’s in Canada. I am the one who took the time to teach her to spell Saskatchewan. I was taught these things in school.

How far should Canada bend in order to suit immigrants? I don’t know, but I would say we have hit a hard limit when we began adapting the very things that make us Canadians, an individual culture in the world. I would say we need to pass our culture along to our children along with our history and our way of life. Canada is not about religion or the colour of your skin – but when they start pulling the flag down and changing the world to our anthem… don’t we become pretty anonymous in the world?

We are Canadian… kind of. Sorry to try to keep our culture. Sorry to bother you with sticking to something we have been proud of for generations. Stop apologizing for being Canadian. 

When people ESCAPE from their country of birth, because of persecution, or religious freedom, to come to a country of choice, why do they demand that we change to the customs of the country that they ESCAPED from? It does not make sense. All immigrants must swear an oath of allegiance to the country to become CANADIANS. Let them take heed of the words of that oath, and not just recite them from memory.
    It is NOT racist. []It is FACTUAL.
[]SPEAK UP FOR YOUR COUNTRY CANADIANS!
[]
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[]Bruce Allen not out of hot water yet.

VANCOUVER/CKNW(AM980)  – Despite being given a show of support by Vancouver 2010 organizers, embattled music manager and CKNW editorialist, Bruce Allen is not out of hot water just yet as the fallout continues from his recent commentary indicating immigrants to Canada should ‘fit in,’ or ‘go home.’

Richmond Liberal MP, Raymond Chan, is set to file an official complaint with the CRTC (Canadian Radio & Television Commission) about Allen’s recent ‘reality check’ alleging the piece was discriminatory. Chan is also demanding an official apology and a retraction of the comments.

It’s time we all get behind Bruce Allen, and scrap this Political Correctness business. His comments were anything but racist, but there are far too many overly-sensitive ‘New Canadians’ that are trying to change everything we hold dear.

For example, our National Anthem: Don’t  know what your opinions are, but I certainly agree.  — I’m sorry, but after hearing they want to sing the National Anthem in Hindi – enough is enough. Nowhere or at no other time in our nation’s history, did they sing it in Italian, Japanese, Polish, Irish (Celtic), German, Portuguese, Greek, or any other language because of immigration. It was written in English, and should be sung word for word the way it was written. The news broadcasts even gave the translation — not even close.

I am not sorry if this offends anyone, this is MY COUNTRY – IF IT IS YOUR COUNTRY SPEAK UP —- please pass  this along…. I am not against immigration … just come through like everyone else… Get a sponsor; get a place to lay your head; get a job; pay your taxes; live by the rules …AND…LEARN THE LANGUAGE
   as all other immigrants have in the past .
and  LONG LIVE CANADA ! []

PART OF THE PROBLEM? Think about this: If you don’t want  to forward this for fear of offending someone—–YOU’RE PART OF THE PROBLEM!!!!

Will we still be the Country of Choice and still be CANADA if we continue to make the changes forced on us by  the people from other countries who have come to live in CANADA because it is the Country of Choice??????

Think about it! IMMIGRANTS, NOT CANADIAN’S, MUST ADAPT.
It  is Time for CANADA to Speak up.
If  you agree – pass This along.
[][]

Outsider Art (You Don't Have to be Crazy)

What is Outsider Art?

RawVision: What is Outsider Art?

Nada Farm Museum of Archetypes: What is Outsider Art?

Wikipedia: Outsider Art

The term outsider art was coined by art critic Roger Cardinal in 1972 as an English synonym for art brut (French: [a? b?yt], “raw art” or “rough art”), a label created by French artist Jean Dubuffet to describe art created outside the boundaries of official culture; Dubuffet focused particularly on art by those on the outsides of the established art scene such as insane-asylum inmates and children.

While Dubuffet’s term is quite specific, the English term “outsider art” is often applied more broadly, to include certain self-taught or naïve art makers who were never institutionalized. Typically, those labeled as outsider artists have little or no contact with the mainstream art world or art institutions. In many cases, their work is discovered only after their deaths. Often, outsider art illustrates extreme mental states, unconventional ideas, or elaborate fantasy worlds.

Interesting Ideas: Outsider Art Links (no longer maintained).

International Outsider Exhibition of Modern Art 

Flavorwire:  The 13 Most Amazing Outsider Artists of All Time

Flavorwire:  10 Contemporary Outsider Artists Everyone Should Know

Outsider Environments Europe

Vulture: Jerry Saltz on the Outsider Art Fair — and Why There’s No Such Thing As ‘Outsider’ Art

Photobombing

photobombedThe best description I read for photobombing was “any photo where the main subject is unintentionally upstaged”. Of course, it’s not always unintentional and those photos can be funny too. But, the funniest are those where someone didn’t look behind them before taking a self photo. Or, the person taking the photo (of someone else) didn’t pay attention to the background or just chose to take the photo in spite of someone behind the main subject of the photo.

Is a photo spoiled by a photo bomb or is it just all the more sincere and silly? Of course, that’s in the eye of the beholder and depends on the pride of the main subject. Can they see the humour or do they feel upset? I wouldn’t like someone being intentionally rude in the background but something kind of clever or silly I would at least try to get over and laugh about. It’s not easy to give up the limelight if you are upstaged, but it can be done.

Photobombing: How to Deal with It

Some PhotoBombing History

One of the first famous photobombers (if not the first) was Rollen Stewart, AKA “The Rainbow Man” who became a pop culture phenomenon in the late 70’s and early 80’s by wearing a rainbow-colored afro wig, while holding up signs reading “John 3:16” at sporting events nationwide.

From Know Your Meme: Photo Bombing

Later in life Rollen Stewart ended up going a bit too mad over the photobombing sort of behaviour. He is in prison for attacking prominent places and people and then keeping a hotel maid held hostage. A bit overboard and beyond the realm of college prank sort of stuff.

Five Manifestos for Life | Brain Pickings

Five Manifestos for Life | Brain Pickings.

Five Manifestos for Life

by Kirstin Butler

How a numbered list can start a personal revolution.

Some days everyone needs a little extra encouragement. The words or lines or colors don’t want to come, or worse, we don’t even want to sit down to create. That’s when we turn to these inspiring manifestos, any one of which is guaranteed to give our uncooperative creativity a sharp kick in the pants. Here are five of our favorite contemporary manifestos that nudge ideas out of your head and into the hands of the world.

RIGHT BRAIN TERRAIN

We’ve long been fans of the amazing work of Frederick Terral, the creative visionary behind design studio Right Brain Terrain. His “Alternative Motivational Posters” have in fact adorned our walls and desktop wallpapers for some time. But the love affair really began at the words behind his whole operation:

You may not be a Picasso or Mozart but you don’t have to be. Just create to create. Create to remind yourself you’re still alive. Make stuff to inspire others to make something too. Create to learn a bit more about yourself.”

We can’t imagine more sound advice. And charming, too: Terral’s manifestoappears online in its original form as scanned notebook pages, complete with sketches. Happily you can support all things Right Brain Terrain, and surround yourself with life-affirming statements, by purchasing limited edition prints from the studio’s gorgeous selection online.

THE CULT OF DONE MANIFESTO

Guidelines to get you from Point A to finished product, The Cult of Done Manifesto was written by tech guru Bre Pettis (of MakerBot fame) in collaboration with writer Kio Stark in 20 minutes, “because we only had 20 minutes to get it done.” Following that same parameter, their manifesto consists of 20 truisms borrowed from hacker culture. To wit, number four on the list:

Pretending you know what you’re doing is almost the same as knowing what you are doing, so just accept that you know what you’re doing even if you don’t and do it.”

With iteration at the heart of its process, The Cult of Done Manifesto will banish your inner perfectionist (and its evil twin, procrastination).

HOLSTEE

We first featured the Holstee manifestoover a year ago, and our fondness for their sustainable social enterprise has only grown since then. Whether you’re raising a family or venture funds for your new business, rallying cries for creativity don’t get much stronger than this:

This is your life. Do what you love, and do it often. If you don’t like something, change it. If you don’t like your job, quit. If you don’t have enough time, stop watching TV. If you are looking for the love of your life, stop; they will be waiting for you when you start doing things you love.”

You can buy these bracing words in postercard, and even bib form, so that every time your baby throws a cup of peas on the ground you’re reminded of the things that matter most in life.

WORK IS NOT A JOB

It’s no coincidence that three out of the five manifestos featured here come from design-y entrepreneurial ventures, since as a discipline design takes a “fail forward” approach to creativity. Our number-four favorite was written by Catharina Bruns, the German-born designer and illustrator behind Work Is Not A Job. Bruns’s raison d’être is effecting “a paradigm shift in how people approach ‘work’ not as your 9-5 job but how you individually contribute to the world.”

Empower yourself and realise the importance of contributing to the world by living your talent. Work on what you love. You are responsible for the talent that has been entrusted to you.”

In addition to design-for-hire, Work Is Not A Job also offers products, from hoodies to fine-art prints, to keep you inspired on the daily.

DO THE WORK

We’re over the moon that author Steven Pressfield has a new release out this month. Part of Seth Godin’s e-publishing experiment The Domino Project (which we featured earlier this year), Do the Work is intended as a companion guide to Pressfield’s earlier text – and one of our all-time favorites on the creative process – The War of Art. Where that book was almost Zen-like in tone, containing koans about art and life that have had us returning to it for years, Do the Work focuses on practical methods and tools. Still, Pressfield doesn’t pull any punches, getting right to the point about what’s at stake in whether or not we create.

There is an enemy. There is an intelligent, active, malign force working against us. Step one is to recognize this. This recognition alone is enormously powerful. It saved my life, and it will save yours.”

Even better, Do the Work is free(!) until April 20th, so do yourself an enormous favor and snag a copy now.

Whatever you do, we hope this list of manifestos helps you manifest your passion; and if you have other favorite creative directives leave us a link in the comments. Now go forth and create!

Kirstin Butler is writing an adaptation of Gogol for the Google era called Dead SULs, but when not doing the work spends far, far too much time on  Twitter. She currently lives in Cambridge, MA.