braking teeth

soon come
Friday 24 July 2009, 16:30
Filed under: family

I was going to catch up on the spectacular week I’ve been having using video evidence of Illfit Outfit recording for Nik Kozub‘s students at MacEwan again and snapshots of a hella rad double blog launch at Steel Wheels last night…

But I am too angry.

My Aunt “Tootsie” from Jamaica whom I have never met was supposed to visit my mom here in Edmonton for the next three weeks. Her application to visit was denied.

You may be repeating that phrase as a question, “application to visit?” Three months ago I asked the same question then realized that it’s really not so strange, especially considering that my aunt is coming from a developing country. What I didn’t expect was the rigmarole she had to go through to prove that she has an established life in Jamaica and wouldn’t defect during her three week vacation in Edmonton. Aunt Tootsie had to provide the Canadian Embassy in Kingston with the following (as far as I know): bank statements, proof of employment, vehicle registration, the title to her house, a written invitation to visit from my mother, and more. Fine. She provided all of those items.

My aunt should have been a perfectly acceptable tourist to inject money into our economy. She has a doctorate in English, has been a teacher for 32 years, her husband works in law enforcement, and they own a large house in a good neighbourhood. I should also mention that she has a 10 year visa in the United States and often tutors in Florida for 6 months at a time no hassle. On paper she’s doing a hell of a lot better than my mother, a Canadian citizen for 14 years, who has lived and worked damn hard in Canada since 1981.

As I found out this afternoon, my aunt received a letter of rejection citing a “lack of assets”.  Really? What exactly would qualify as an acceptable level of wealth for a Jamaican to visit Canada? I have certainly known people from the Caribbean who lived in Canada illegally but they have nothing in common with Aunt Tootsie beyond the sing-song accent and brown skin.

Oh, to add insult to injury, the immigration official who wrote the rejection letter felt that it was necessary to add a little personal touch at the end of the letter to the effect of, “if the situation of your assets does not improve, don’t bother re-applying.”


I’m pretty floored by this situation.  I don’t have enough information to make a big stink yet, but I will soon. My mom, who booked vacation time that in my opinion she totally can’t afford to take (sorry Mom, hey if you know my mom, don’t mention this) is of course exponentially more angry than I. She has already called the offices of her MLA and MP. She can’t file a formal complaint until she has copies of the rejection letter and a letter of complaint from Aunt Tootsie. When we have the proper papers we plan to contact the ministers of Immigration at the provincial and federal level too.

Worse things happen. I probably wouldn’t have reacted so strongly to the news

1. if had eaten lunch prior to the revelation. Ugh. I totally teared up in frustration while explaining the situation to my coworker Carolyne. I think I may have pre-meal syndrome.  Google can’t find me a link, so maybe that means this type of PMS doesn’t exist. I’m just saying that I get increasingly irritable when meals are delayed.

2. if the unnecessary and insulting conclusion to the rejection letter had been graciously spared

3. and if Shamira and I weren’t expecting visits from friends & family hailing from England in the coming weeks who certainly didn’t face a single obstacle (at least on an official level) in preparing their vacations

I need a nap.


he’s a bird dog
Sunday 21 June 2009, 10:39
Filed under: absorb, family, projects

Sean Nicholas Savage

i can’t stop singing his songs. with their simplicity, ease and abundance i can entertain myself for an entire afternoon intimating bites of snack length tunes.

today is my dad’s birthday. it is also father’s day. sean’s music reminds me of my dad. gerald “jerry” roberts could conjure a jaunty (if not raunchy) song from his memory of living in the days before radio, the days before rock, and the days before music needed to feign cynicism or style.

studying a performing art especially in a classical style can lead a performer to believe that the execution of something particularly difficult in a “perfect” manner validates their training. it does. it doesn’t mean that impeccable intonation, theory knowledge, timing, chops, or unending convoluted verse will effectively express the loneliness of a city, the thrill of biking in summer, of the loss of love.

pop is a battlefield. i often feel that i should be creating something more serious, more experimental, more challenging. then i listen to sean’s music and remember that proficiency should not be confused with relevance.

*           *           *

today is my dad’s birthday. it is his third posthumously. it will be the third that has come and gone without me scattering his ashes in Coaldale as i had planned. apparently a 6 month time line for mourning was too short.

i am working on something. so far it is only in my mind. i’m gathering memories or forging them from scraps of family annecdotes to create a project that will hopefully shed some light on how my father’s side came to be the way they are. we are. i am calling it Sugar Beet League.