Friday, February 24, 2006

Helping youth from violence

We were invited by a friend, a child psychologist who is on the board of an organization called LOVE (Leave Out ViolencE), to listen to their initiatives in helping young people get out of the cycle of violence by channelling their energy into programs like photojournalism. Eventually these young people help others in high risk areas where they live.

It was fascinating to hear three young men talk about how they belonged to gangs, watched their friends being killed in front of them, stabbed others, were into drugs, drinking, stealing, etc. The good news is: They got out of it through LOVE, and are now helping others as positive role models.

I'm very impressed by the work of this organization. However, it has to rely on private donations to keep the good work going. Our government which tends to fix the problem when it happens rather than fix the roots of the problem, apparently spends $100,000.00 a year to incarcerate a young offender, money which could be used in a more productive way by providing support and guidance to youth at risk. If you want to be part of a movement to eradicate violence, click LOVE to get more info.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Le plaisir

L'homme est né pour le plaisir: il le sent, il n'en faut point d'autre preuve. Il suit donc sa raison en se donnant au plaisir.

Pensées - Blaise Pascal

Mankind is born for pleasure. It feels it. It does not need any other proof. It follows its common sense when it pursues pleasure.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Night life in Toronto

On Saturday, saw The Second City comedy show, and laughed till my throat was raw. There is something comforting about seeing common frustrations being vented out with the explosive voice and funny, contorted face of a comedian. Rogers cable got its share of abuse.

Before the show, we ate at Gretzky's, grilled salmon on rice which looked more like a brownish porridge, the whole thing topped with a slab of butter that won't melt. When later I walked by the bar, it was filled with men holding pints of beer, loud, laughing while watching a hockey game on a large TV screen. This is where all the fun happens. Food? What food? This restaurant happens to be connected to Second City through a passageway.

The night before, we saw The Boyfriend, a fluffy musical about some girls in a finishing school on the French Riviera, of course looking for boyfriends. It's full of innocence and pastel colours, and peppered with French, with exaggerated accents and all. It was a refreshing show in its contrast with today's reality, reminding us of how blasé we have become.

Leaving the Royal Alex theatre, we walked along restaurant-lined King Street, mingling with the crowd of people looking for a place to stop by for a drink. We passed by Forget About It!, Fred's Not Here, and St. Tropez where Napoleon stood by the door, looking cold and gloomy. Settled for Kitkat, a long, narrow restaurant with low, soft lighting, sat at the bar, drank wine, munched on bruschetta, and chatted with our friends until the place emptied and the tired look of the bartender told us it was time to head home. It was only 12:45 am.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

On books and love

Some books I've been reading lately: Chuck Palahniuk's Fight Club, a compelling, fast-paced writing style that suits the graphic violence in it; Joan Didion's The year of Magical Thinking, a very lucid account of a shattered life after losing a husband of forty years. (Teri, thanks for the recommendation); Marguerite Duras' Le ravissement de Lol V. Stein, an intriguing story, with a cinematographic quality to it, about the strange behaviour of a jilted woman.

Never meant to focus on such depressing topics, but the books were inspiring, and have put me in a mood for experimenting with different writing styles. Come to think of it, these books all have to do with love. In Fight Club, it's a lack of it that leads to violence. In the other two, it's all about the loss of loved ones.

Après avoir souffert, il faut souffrir encore;
Il faut aimer sans cesse, après avoir aimé.
Poésies - Alfred de Musset

After having suffered, there is more suffering;
After having loved, there's a constant need to love.