How to…

I have a “Daily How-to” feed on my iGoogle. This one caught my eye, and I wanted to share it.

How to Live in the Moment

WikiHow, like all WikiSites, is awesome. You can honestly learn anything from this site. Some of the how-tos are badly done, but some are priceless. While you’re at it, check out How To Get Closure or How To Look like Sarah Palin (or anything else on the featured articles sidebar).

The Fire Gospel

The Fire Gospel was a must read for me for two reasons: 1) It’s by Michael Faber, who wrote The Crimson Petal and the White, one of my favourite books and 2) It’s the newest book in the Myth series that I love so much.

It’s based on the myth of Prometheus giving fire to man. Loosely based, I’d say, since the links aren’t too obvious - but that’s not really a bad thing.

The premise for the novel is that Theo has found these secret fifth gospel while in a museum in Iraq. This fifth gospel essentially emphasizes that Jesus was very human when he died on the cross. When Theo translates the gospel from Aramaic, the book sells like wild fire. And, as the book’s jacket says, “Like Prometheus’ gift of fire, it has incendiary consequences.”

This book was very plot driven, easy to read. Which is different from most of the myth series books I’ve read so far, like Weight, The Helmet of Horror or Girl Meets Boy. I do love all these books which are suddenly taking re-thinking the bible as a theme (I haven’t read DaVince Code.. but the newest Jodi Picoult book talks about the Gnostic Gospels).

I’ll say that the book wasn’t what I was expecting, thinking about the Crimson Petal and the White, and also based on the other myth books. But it was still pretty good. I really like the idea of it, most.

Favourite line:

“And that is our misfortune, brothers and sisters: we speak of things that cannot be spoken. We seek to store understandings in our gross flesh that gross flesh cannot contain, like a madman who would snatch a moonbeam and put it in his purse. We try our best to tell a story, so that others might be led towards Jesus, but Jesus is not a story. He is the end of all stories.”

Journalism as activism

I went to the Science and Technology Awareness Network conference this morning with my science reporting. We were there to watch the speech of Adam Bly, the creator and editor of Seed magazine. It cost us $25 to go (plus parking) and I was not impressed at having to get up even earlier and get downtown for it.

But I honestly really ended up enjoying it. Entirely because of Adam Bly. He gave a very powerful presentation about science globally. He emphasized that everyone should be science literate. All 6.7 billion of us.

This is interesting to me because I don’t do science. I don’t get it, normally. I will never be a scientist (unless maybe you count an archaeologist). But the truth is that science effects everything. It’s the reason life is so different from the way it was just a hundred years ago. We have learned more about the world in the last hundred years than humans had since the beginning of civilization. Science is important to me, even though I’m not doing it.

The other thing he talked about reminded me, for the first time in a long time, the reason I went into journalism in the first place. He has this ideal of journalism being the vehicle for change. He won’t accept less than perfect from his publication. It isn’t lazy journalism, deadlnie journalism, where you write shit 364 days of the year, and write one good story one day. It’s not tired journalism.

Adam Bly said journalism, for him, is activism. And that’s why I used to want to be a journalist. To make a difference. But four years of j-school have taught me to expect the media to be mediocre. To expect that as a journalist I could never change the world.

I don’t want to be a journalist, because there are too many things wrong with journalism right now, and I don’t have the energy to change it. I know that makes me a bit of a coward, but I’ll leave change in the hands of people like Adam Bly and Barack Obama, to create “a world connected by science and imagination.”

What’s in a name?

I’m thinking about changing my name.

I think names are very important. I think they create a part of who we are - they are the language with which we identify ourselves and each other. I think last names say where you came from, how you’re linked to your past. Some people might not fee this way about their name, but I do. I’ve always said I’m not going to change my name when I marry. This is, in part, because I plan to already have an established career when I get married, which would make changing my name a nuisance. But it’s also because I feel like changing my name would say that I’m changing myself. I’m not just going to be Mrs. SuchandSuch. I was Heather Montgomery for the first 25-odd years of my life, why should I be someone different after?

That’s how I feel about names, in general.

My mom never changed her last name, something I’ve always respected. My mom is still a Francis. But the other day it struck me that while I fee very connected to my mom’s parents and to the Francis side of my family, I’m not a Francis.

So, I’m thinking of changing my name to Heather Catherine Francis Montgomery. Not hypenated. My name, in any relevant way, would still be Heather Montgomery. But my full name would include my mom’s family name.

I don’t know how to make a decision like this. Is it just silly? Should I actually legally change my name or is that too much hassle?

everything must come and go…

Have I ever mentioned how much I adore Regina Spektor?

Again the sun was never called
And darkness spreads over the snow
Like ancient bruises
I’m awake and feel the ache
I’m awake and feel the ache
But I wish I’d see a field below