Thursday, December 31, 2009
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Sunday, December 27, 2009
Sunday, December 6, 2009
I've been on the prowl for Clareview's bumping places.
- Londonderry Mall. We don't have our own, so we go there.
- In the mall is the Library, which hosts programs for tots, childrens and teens, toastmasters, and english language learning.
- Also in the mall is the Tae Kwon Do facility. A crowd of proud parents gather outside the large glass wall.
- In the mall there's a gathering place with leather seating and television monitors. There's a police information station. There's young folks and old. Why aren't the children in school?
- The "Town Centre", touted by a Clareview Outline Plan. This is where we have the Superstore, the big box stores, strip malls, and Wal-Mart. Where in this "Town Centre" can people gather? That plan is beginning to depress me. It speaks of large developers, and land cheap for building affordable housing. Our community has been planned for "basic" from the very beginning. Are we understood?
- The Belvedere station. I see a gang of young black men hanging out by the washrooms and impressing each other with their toughness.
- The Belevedere heated shelter, which has the bus driver's rest stop. No-one in the shelter looks at each other.
- Our own strip mall has the Mac's store. There's a new book exchange store, "Never without a Book." Farther down is a popular dance studio, Dance Theme. This place is swarming with parents on Saturday morning.
- The hockey parents, I imagine, gather around the Clareview arena and Homesteader community league outdoor rink.
- There's usually several bargain hunters gathered around the second hand drop off in the Giant Tiger strip mall. This is a very busy strip.
- All the Tim Horton's are busy. The now defunct Conversations cafe is closed for lack of business. Why? Does name recognition carry that much weight?
- The Belmont town centre has vacancies. The McDonald's is undergoing renovations. I do know children from the local school swarm the facility at lunch hour. The dollar store is closed. It had dire warnings to the children on the consequences of shoplifting.
- I'm told we have a community garden. I must go see it.
- We host the one of the big indoor soccer fields for the city.
Reading what I've written and observed, it seems that the natural bumping places are Timmy's, Londonderry, and the Giant Tiger lot. Hockey parents rule. Bargain hunters rule. This is a young family community These locations weren't identified on the community plan. Do we build up the natural gathering places, seeking to understand their popularity, or do we build assets within the "Town Centre" that was planned for us?
P.S. How could I forget? Movies 12. I see young couples arm in arm strolling along the grassy curb through industrial Belvedere, groups of friends, families, and caregivers with their charges, all off to the movies. Bollywood is making an appearance, a nod to our growing Indian community.
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
So what is this newest generation? They are scheduled and watched over and cherished by helicopter parents. They run in packs. They dress alike. Think golf shirts, chinos and jeans.
Which got me to thinking about how this newest generation will influence fashion as they hit the work force.
There's another little nugget on how this generation will change us. The girls are continuing to secondary education in record numbers, and boys' attendance is dropping. It will be the girls running our corporations, not the boys. Where will our young men go? I predict they will go to the trades, where there will be flexibility and freedom. It will be the young fathers, I suspect, who will be picking up their children from school.
Another pondering in my crowded brain is the difference between frou frou flounces and suits. Why have men perfected an office uniform, while women continue to flit through the spectrum of color and design? I suspect it has to do with the gender biases regarding power and control. A man in a pack must establish his conformity and dominance early. This means a power suit, which exudes confidence, dominance, wealth, and intelligence. For a man in our current culture, these are attractive attributes. A woman in a severe suit, however, is mildly terrifying. I quote Marlo Thomas, "A man has to be Joe McCarthy to be called ruthless. All a woman has to do is put you on hold." So the woman's attire at the office is a little frillier, sillier, and impractical. The message here is that "I am harmless, creative, and sweet. You want to help me."
But this dynamic will change as women in packs start to take over the office. Power for a woman will be in her ability to work her team. As much as this makes me shudder, think Gossip Girl all grown up, strutting down the hallway with her posse.
So I predict that this next generation of women will dictate a new uniform for the office. It will be softer, it will be easy maintenance, but it will also be more alike. I'm thinking Chanel classics here. Not the latest stuff, but the suits of the fifties and sixties.
I cite two sources for my new-found knowledge, Millennials Rising: The Next Great Generation by Neil Howe, William Strauss, and R.J. Matson and a presentation by Bani Dheer, Futurist.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
So it is a shock to us all when Tiger Woods gets caught up in something silly this past week, and is obviously lying about it.
But does it follow that greatness in one area means greatness in all? I think of what I've learned from other greats, and I wonder. Perhaps for some, after achieving strengths in one field, they are either incapable or don't bother to be good at everything. Consider the diaper toting astronaut, Lisa Nowak, who resorted to extremes to try and get her lover back. Her calculation and intensity of purpose reminds me, chillingly, of the intensity required to be successful in her chosen career.
Then there's Tom Cruise jumping on Oprah's couch. I'd always admired the man before that. Heck, I just admired looking at him. But his ignorant spurtings around that time, like his comments about Brooke Shields did it for me. He is no longer attractive. Looking back at his body of work, I wondered if I confused attractiveness and luck with achievement. Perhaps his greatest achievement was to hire a fantastic publicist.
Anecdotes about other greats have surprised me. The public persona of Bill Cosby as the lovable Dr. Huxtable, and his obvious comic genius is undenied. Comics by profession understand human nature. Great comics understand us greatly. How could someone with that degree of understanding, fail to be great in all areas? Yet I hear on set he can be remote and dismissive of newcomers. I wonder sometimes if my premise is flawed. That even for comic greats like Mr. Cosby, his achievement in one area does not necessarily follow in all others.
Heck, I have been accused of not listening, not caring. I know it comes from my analytic nature, which I resort to in times of stress. Approach me when I am in that state, and I will tell you exactly what I think. Or I might fall silent in deep reflection. When I am in that state, you might as well be wallpaper. I am not being dismissive or mean; this is just part of who I am. When I come out of that state, I may be fully engaged again. For those who don't know me well, might they assume that I am faking my interest?
As a postscript, Albert Schweitzer is on my list of heroes of all time. I hear that starry-eyed visitors were given short shrift if they didn't follow his instructions. Tourists suffering heat stroke were a distraction. Again, I suspect the visitors wrongly assumed that this man's generosity flowed in all directions. His achievement, I am guessing, was rather a result of his intensity of purpose than depth of his warm and fuzzies.