Back in May M’Guphynn media created the super-awesome Cosplay Quarantine Music Video. This time cosplayers have submitted their videos showing how donning a mask is an important way to help curb the spread of Covid 19. My jellyfish friend Clara and I (as Tsukimi) joined in, as you will see. Check out the resulting Heroes Wear Masks Cosplay music video below!
This is by far the most special art project I’ve ever done . The Art of Conversation is a project that brings artists and seniors in our community together, made possible through a partnership between the Arts Council Wood Buffalo and St. Aidan’s Society. The idea is that the artist hosts a conversation with their partner and the resulting discussion becomes the muse for an art project.
Before I first called my partner Libby I was nervous- what if we didn’t click? What if I didn’t get any ideas for my piece? Happily, my fears were unfounded, as we had a great chat and I had the initial ideas for my project before we were even done talking. This project was a joy and Libby was my inspiration.
This video includes some audio clips from parts of our conversation, and video from my process creating the artwork.
With the protests happening in America right now, us friendly Canadians may like to think that we are a more welcoming country unburdened by the problems of our neighbor. In school they taught us that we are the mosaic to the US’s melting pot— aren’t we setting a good example of inclusion and diversity? Don’t we have welcoming immigration policies? Aren’t we above what is happening in the United States? It’s a sentiment that I’ve seen being bandied about in recent days. The trending hashtag #meanwhileincanada popped up and at first was being used to contrast us to our neighbors south of the border with viral images and videos like that of a moose taking a dip in somebody’s swimming pool— hah, good ol’ Canada eh?!
Fellow Canadians, talk to your Black neighbors and you may learn that this “friendly Canadian” label is nothing but a dangerously convenient facade. We cannot grow complacent because we think we’re “not racist in Canada”. There are many things I love about our country, but we have a long way to go and it is always our responsibility to educate ourselves the best we can about the realities in Canada so that we can actively work toward a better tomorrow.
Below I have collected some information on articles, books, and videos with anti-Black racism in Canada in mind. However, there is a further wealth of information available on how individual and systemic racism is very much alive in Canada in many forms. Such racism is rooted in our colonial past and impacts many people every day, including people of colour, immigrants, and our Indigenous peoples.
Note to reader: I am a white Canadian woman and I am not in any way an authority on racism in Canada. I hope that these resources may serve as a jumping-off point for personal learning and an introduction to some Black Canadian voices. These resources are not exhaustive; please feel free to share any resources that you feel should be added.
Jen Katshunga; Notisha Massaquoi; Confronting Anti-Black Racism Unit, City of Toronto; Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants (OCASI); and Justine Wallace for Behind the Numbers: Black Women in Canada
Today, more than ever, urgent and sustained action is needed to tackle persistent and profound barriers to change and to challenge entrenched norms and stereotypes. Success will only be achieved if Black women are equal partners and leaders in this work.
Claire Loewen for CBC, 2020: As Premier Denies Systemic Racism, Black Quebecers Point to their Lived Experience
They put their knee on my neck, like they did to George Floyd.Alexandre Lamontagne
Benjamin Shingler & Simon Nakonechny for CBC, 2020: Montreal Protestors Aim to Drive Home Message Racism is a Problem Here Too
For years we said there’s racial profiling in Montreal, and now it’s a message that everybody has to hear us.Will Prosper
Eternity Martis for Chatelaine, 2020: 5 Black Women Talk About Their Lives In Canada– Past, Present and Future
In Canada, Black women are still discriminated against in the healthcare system, where we face alarmingly high rates of maternal death. We continue to be victims of police and state violence, and in the workplace, continue to be paid less than both white men and white women.Eternity Martis
Annette Henry for The Conversation, 2017: Dear White People, Wake Up: Canada is Racist
Those who do not experience racism may be unaware of how it functions in Canada — perniciously and insidiously.Annette Henry
Carl James for The Conversation, 2019: The Crisis of Anti-Black Racism in Schools Persists Across Generations
Black students say they are “being treated differently than their non-Black peers in the classrooms and hallways of their schools.” They say there is still a lack of Black presence in schools. There are few Black teachers, the curriculum does not adequately address Black history and schools lack an equitable process to help students deal with anti-Black racism.Carl James
Janaya Khan for Flare, 2017: Don’t Kid Yourself, White Nationalism is on the Rise in Canada Too
Canadians have a deep investment in seeing themselves as more enlightened than their counterparts to the south, as if racism and bigotry suddenly stop at the U.S./Canada border.Janaya Khan
Stacy Lee Kong for Flare, 2018: If It Feels Like Racism In Canada Is Getting Worse, That’s Because It Is”
Every time we hear about another example of blatant racism, we tend to be shocked, as if we’ve collectively agreed that sure, things happen here—but it’s nowhere near as bad as it is there. That’s B.S., obviously.Stacy Lee Kong
Tayo Bero for The Guardian, 2019: Canada is Overdue For a Reckoning With Its Anti-Black Racism
Young black men across the country have spoken for years about being surveilled and criminalized simply for existing.Tayo Bero
Andray Domise for Hazlitt, 2015: White Supremacy is Not a Black Problem
The message now is that white comfort is worth more than black lives. This has to change.Andray Domise
Maija Kappler for Huffington Post, 2020: Racism in Canada is Ever Present, But We Have a Long History of Denial
It’s tempting for Canadians to fall back on the idea that we’re not as racist as Americans…Maija Kappler
Byron Armstrong for Now Toronto, 2018: Dining While Black
Sometimes, I just want to order an artisanal handcrafted lobster roll without getting the feeling that it’s somehow unusual for me to do so. Or be able to sit in a dimly lit speakeasy while a gentleman in a bow tie and handlebar moustache concocts a $16 cocktail for me, without becoming more of the show than the actual show.
Now the controversy over Hong Shing restaurant comes along to remind us that it’s not just white-owned establishments practicing discrimination against us, but also other people of colour.Byron Armstrong
Neil Price, Radheyan Simonpillai, and Chaka V. Grier for NowToronto, 2019: Black Futures Month: Five Torontonians want to make 2019 the year for change
I want Black children and youth to no longer feel ashamed of crumbling school buildings, or be afraid to drink the water, or experience unbearable physical and distractive cognitive challenges due to sweltering heat in their classrooms. The nearly $4 billion backlog in school repairs must be fixed. Schools must become fully accessible, infused with colour, arts and green space.
In my dream, roaming the mall for a new pair of jeans or for a knapsack is no longer hazardous for our kids’ health. Shopping while Black is a carefree experience. So is interviewing for a job while Black.Jill Andrew
Robyn Maynard for The Star, 2020: It’s Long-Past Time to Talk About Policing of Black Women in Canada
It is clear that combating the violent policing of Black women remains an urgent necessity for all of us.Robyn Maynard
Various Authors for The Star, 2020: Racism Exists in Canada: These are the Stories From People Who Have Lived It As Eyes Turn On The U.S. After George Floyd Death in Minneapolis
(Monday) morning, the day before I earn my Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of Toronto, I awoke to an online comment which stated “I would never let her treat me.”Dr. Chika Oriuwa, MD
Vicky Mochama for The Star, 2018: Systemic Racism in Canada is Real, Folks
Questions about systemic racism are less about our personal interactions but rather about how the institutions that govern our lives have internalized and implemented racism.Vicky Mochama
Desmond Cole for Toronto Life, 2015: The Skin I’m In: I’ve Been Interrogated By Police More Than 50 Times– All Because I’m Black
There’s this idea that Toronto is becoming a post-racial city, a multicultural utopia where the colour of your skin has no bearing on your prospects. That kind of thinking is ridiculously naïve in a city and country where racism contributes to a self-perpetuating cycle of criminalization and imprisonment.Desmond Cole
The Skin We’re In: A Year of Black Resistance and Power
Desmond Cole, 2020
Until We Are Free: Reflections on Black Lives Matter In Canada
Rodney Diverlus, Sandy Hudson & Syrus Marcus Ware (Editors), 2020
Talking About Identity: Encounters in Race, Ethnicity, and Language
Carl James & Adrienne Shadd (Editors), 2001
In The Black: My Life
B. Denham Jolly, 2017
Policing Black Lives: State Violence in Canada From Slavery to the Present
Robyn Maynard, 2017
Blank: Essays and Interviews
M. NourbeSe Philip, 2017
Queer Returns: Essays on Multiculturalism, Diaspora, and Black Studies
Rinaldo Walcott, 2016
Desmond Cole for CBC, 2017: Firsthand Episode 2: The Skin We’re In
Acclaimed journalist Desmond Cole explores what it is to be Black in 21st century Canada. Do Black Lives Matter here?
Roaring River Films, 2019: Our Dance of Revolution: The History of Toronto’s Black Queer Community
Our Dance of Revolution tells the story of how Black queer folks in Toronto faced every adversity, from invisibility to police brutality, and rose up to become a vibrant, triple-snap-fierce community.
Yamikani Msosa for VAW Learning Network, 2018: Roots and Resistance: Sexual Violence and Anti-Black Racism
Roots and Resistance is a webinar that explores in depth conversations about the connections between sexual violence, state violence, and healing from collective and individual sexual abuse and trauma for Black survivors.
Cosplayers around the world who had been working hard on their costumes have found that the cons they were preparing for were cancelled thanks to Covid19. Cosplayers, however, are nothing if not creative. My friends at M’Guphynn Media, who usually bring their fancy equipment to cons each year and make cosplay music videos with the resulting footage, put together this awesome Cosplay Music Video: Quarantine Edition, made up of submissions from cosplayers (including myself as Rize Kamishiro at 2.36 and my doggos as Harry Potter and Mario at 0.24 and 3:04 respectivelty!)
Check it out! ❤
I was previously working on a meandering post about all of the ridiculous items that W**h ads try to sell me (medical tools? cheese? drugs? impractical lingerie? blood worms?) until I realized that:
- My mom was getting similarly weird items advertised to her too— I guess I’m not a unique flower like I thought I was? (Or, if I am, I got it from my Momma!)
- I’m now pretty sure that is their strategy: get people sharing the wacky stuff to create a buzz to bring in more sales
- I don’t really want to promote a site that sells cheap knockoff junk of questionable quality
- It’s a fricken global pandemic right now and I just want to write something else.
Oh, one more little thing before I get into the post: my new domain is live! You can now access my blog at hidengoshauna.ca .
So—pandemic time. How’s everyone doing?
Most of us are isolated in our homes just about 24/7 right now. It’s a strange time. I’ve seen a lot of posts urging people to make the best of this unforseen stretch of time to learn new skills, do the things they’ve been putting off, to not be idle and see this time as an opportunity.
To this I say great, if you can.
But not everybody can.
This message has been going around on social media: “If you don’t come out of this with a new skill, you never lacked time… you lacked discipline”. I call major bullshit on this one! This little bit of tough-love “wisdom” ignores the fact that people all live in vastly different situations with entirely different responsibilities, struggles, obstacles and means. To declare that this time should be an opportunity for skill development comes from a place of immense privilege and completely disregards the living experiences of others.
People are scared: for themselves, for loved ones, for the world at large. Some people are in isolation 24/7 with their abusers. Some people are facing racist attacks, unstable income, and falling into declining mental and physical health. Some people are looking after dependents who require round-the-clock care, and with their usual supports cut off suddenly.
Alaa Hijazi shared her insight as a trauma psychologist:
I feel lucky. I’m safe at home with my husband and dogs. I still have a job. My mental health is currently OK. My physical health is currently OK. I’m doing alright for now. I’m keeping busy and trying to make the best of my situation, but some times I have bad days and just float along as best as I can- and that’s okay.
I hope you are also doing alright, reader. Take care.
It’s been a crazy week in a month that is flying by and a year that nobody was expecting. The world is on edge with the coronavirus threat, people are hoarding toilet paper (?) and while many of us are preparing to spend more time at home than we’re accustomed to, others around the globe are putting their own lives at risk working extended hours to help keep this thing under control.
Some things will change suddenly- it’s unlikely, for example, that the cosplay project I’ve been working on will debut at Calgary Expo in April as planned, as I highly doubt that it will be safe enough by that point to have such a huge gathering of people in one place. My sister’s Worlds Cheerleading competition has been postponed, as have peoples’ trips, weddings, exams, surgeries, and other important events.
In a time when plans are being dashed, trips cancelled, work halted, and unprecedented stressful situations are unfolding daily, it is important to ensure we keep some normalcy in our day-to-day. It’s good for our mental health to have things to rely on, things to look forward to, things to distract us and give us some calming rituals and routines. For me, this will include activities like creating art, playing with my dogs, spending time with my husband, and reading. It will also include, in four days’ time, Animal Crossing: New Horizons.
It’s been a while since I’ve awaited a game so excitedly. In our current goings-on, a new Animal Crossing game is just what I need to give my brain a break from the constant Breaking News.
If you’ve never played an Animal Crossing game before, they are extremely easy to recommend to just about anyone. The family-friendly series is known for being popular with everyone, their mom, and their grandma! The irresistible recipe of customization, decorating, crafting, improving the community, and making cute little animal friends gets better and better with each new installment. New Horizons offers so many cool new features, like landscaping, that I can’t wait to try out.
Sometimes, when the real world feels crazy, it’s nice to have a gentle, encouraging, somewhat predictable little oasis to call your own. I hope that Animal Crossing: New Horizons will be that for myself and many others.
Happy gaming everyone, and stay safe!
Hey friends, remember like… 9 months ago when I shared the first episode of a show my friends and I had been working on with Shaw Spotlight?
We’ve since filmed content for several more episodes. A lot of lifey-technologyish-scheduley stuff got in the way of getting out episode 2 in a timely manner, but it’s finally here, and in two parts!
And so, we present: Nerds at a Table, Episode 2, Parts 1 and 2- featuring a rousing game of Exploding Kittens, an unexpected near-death mishap, and yours truly donning the Cone of Shame!
Laugh with us! Cringe with us! Explode with us!
Happy Halloween, boils and ghouls!
My library has just started a blog, and I wrote up our first post, all about strange tales and occurrences in Wood Buffalo (in and around Fort McMurray).
If you enjoy local ghost stories, please check it out here!
Something heartbreaking happened recently in my home community in New Brunswick- it has been weighing heavily on my mind for quite some time and as such I considered writing about it earlier on, but it wasn’t my story to tell.
Now that Maddy’s family has opened up about what happened and urged that her story be shared publicly far and wide, I feel comfortable writing about Maddy today and passing along the Murphy family’s message. I’ve included her father Mike’s post below: Maddy’s Story.
I live away from home now, so I only had a handful of opportunities to spend time with Maddy, but her life has touched my own. Maddy was a kind, funny, athletic girl, and my sister’s partner. She has left behind hundreds of people who fondly remember her dorky humour, love of animals, and easygoing attitude.
Her story is important not only because of her lasting legacy of kindness and love, but also because the way she left us was so shockingly unexpected, revealing the often silent yet intensely deep depths of depression. For a brief but agonizing time we were all waiting on breathing tests and brain scans, holding on to a slim hope that she would wake up in her hospital bed and have a chance at recovery, but we lost her.
It is immensely hard for the people left behind after suicide; I feel the pain of my sister so strongly, as well as that of my parents who have seen their beautiful daughter, who battles with mental illnesses of her own, crumble in response to the terrible news. Everyone struggles with a helpless feeling and the many painful questions that have no answers. I don’t know what to say or do other than to tell my family that I love them and I’m here for them, because there’s no getting around it- this is a horrible time. This is a new and painful reality that is hard to face- my father lost his best friend Jeff to suicide, so he understands the pain, and I hope he and Mom can help my sister heal. I’m very grateful for all of the friends, family, acquaintances, coworkers and everyone else who is supporting my sister right now as she grieves. I also hope my family can feel my love from afar, as I am thinking about them, and Maddy, constantly.
I’ve also wept for the people I’ve never met who are dealing with Maddy’s loss- her mother, her father, her siblings, all of her family and friends. I’m so sorry that this happened. It was overwhelming to see the huge number of people reaching out and sharing memories of their time with Maddy- clearly she will never be forgotten in the hearts and minds of so many people.
To Maddy’s family, and to my sister, thank you for sharing Maddy’s story. My heart is with you.
At the bottom of this post I have included some links, both Canadian and international, which offer support if you or someone you know is contemplating suicide or has been affected by a suicide loss. Please know you are never alone.
Be strong, everyone. Rest easy, Maddy.
My beautiful, vibrant, athletic, zest for life daughter Maddy Murphy has a story to tell. You all need to hear this and share with everyone you know because it’s so important as this affects so many people out there who are struggling with issues that we do not even know. Her story goes something like this…
From the moment she was born she was special, being a twin, she was the unlucky one who endured having her twin brother Mack sitting on top of her for the full term. I will always remember how we made jokes of her bent ear, crooked neck and cone shaped head from Mack. She was just amazing with those quirky features that went back to normal overtime, they were both healthy kids born at 7lbs4oz (Maddy) & 6lbs4oz (Mack). They both had a passion for all sports and excelled at everything they tried as they grew up together.
Maddy had a niche for hockey, her skating was strong (forward skating anyway), she quickly excelled playing for KVMHA in her early years. By the time she reached the age of 12 she earned a spot on the boys Pee Wee AAA Rangers Team. Maddy had a great year with the boys, this made her more determined as she set out to prove girls can play the game just as well. Maddy & Christina Rombaut were the only girls in the EDZA Program in the KV Area at that time, and the two teammates developed their talent that year, it was the beginnings of her crazy slap shot. Once Pee Wee was over the fun really began as the first Bantam AAA girl’s hockey team named the “Hericanes”, here Maddy developed bonds with her friends that are even stronger today than ever.
On the 2nd year of playing hockey something happened that changed her life in a moment, Maddy went to bed one night and woke up a different child. Maddy developed severe Tourette’s at the age of 14 with no explanation, this was the start of her first long battle that contained components with embarrassment, shame, ridicule and DEPRESSION. Maddy had to draw deep within herself as she focused on her sports with even a more determination than ever as she excelled to the top of her game. At the age of 15 one of her highlights was to play on the U18 Team Atlantic in Calgary for the Canadian Women’s Nationals, all along still dealing with Tourette’s and the silent disease of Depression. Maddy had many weekly sessions with Natural Path Therapy to try and ease the symptoms of Tourette’s & Depression, it was a battle. I still remember her always calling Tracy and asking to get in right away to help her, at least Maddy recognized she needed help and reached for it.
As Maddy began her high school years at KVHS in grade 9, she played hockey on the girl’s team while still playing for the Hericanes, there was a lot of running around to support the amount of hockey games. Going into grade 10 Maddy had the most fortunate opportunity to attend the elite school of Rothesay Netherwood ( RNS ), here she felt so welcomed she would spend so much time forming bonds with the girls in all sports. Maddy represented RNS in Hockey, Soccer, Rugby & even Volley Ball ( didn’t like ) sporting the number 9 ( #9 rides the pine ) the girls always cheered her on. This was every parent’s dream having their child immersed in such a great atmosphere.
Maddy was so happy or, so we thought….the disease that no one is aware of and what this whole story is about appeared for the first time.
She was a kid of the times on top of her game but Maddy was holding a secret from everyone, this would weigh heavily on her Mental Health issues even more. That underling Depression finally showed itself for the first time when Maddy thought the best part of her escape was an attempt on her own life in the form of pills not only once but twice this happened. This took us all by surprise that we were dealing with a young daughter that was displaying a smile on her face & a unmistakable laugh, the whole time was hurting so much inside. Taking the pills was a cry for help, although the help was there she needed something more. Maddy spent the night in the hospital for observation and released to follow up with a clinical phycologist. She always knew she had a problem, she would often text Kelly see if time was available to see her, Kelly always made time for Maddy.
When I was a kid, we didn’t get out for spur-of-the-moment shopping trips much since my Dad did shift work and my Mom, who also worked, was a homebody who would plan driving routes and trips carefully in advance with some anxiety. She would stress the need to be home within a couple of hours lest the dogs spontaneously combust in her absence. My parents are totally wonderful and I had a happy childhood filled with books and comics, but it didn’t really include comic shops.
In my teen years, I would sometimes visit the Chow’s Variety shop that was a 20 minute walk from my house, but it was more of a specialty magazine shop that just so happened to have some comics (alongside plastic-wrapped nudie mags, fish bait, and baseball cards), so the pickings were slim.
Today I’ve finally become familiar with my local comic shop, Nerdvana- it’s a little gem in Fort McMurray with comics, manga, graphic novels, figurines, and kind, attentive staff.
Nerdvana staff teamed up with some local filmmakers and friends in the last couple years to create a really cool web series that recently won an award for Best Ensemble Cast at the Miami Web Fest! The first season has been completed and hopefully a second season is forthcoming…
I’ve got a couple of ongoing comic subscriptions at Nerdvana right now (Snotgirl, The Crow, Isola, Lady Mechanika) and it’s fun to pick them up and chat with the staff about nerdy things. I also enjoy the serendipity of browsing a physical store, and I’m happy to support a small local shop run by friendly people who do cool stuff in our community!
Long live our comic shops!