Anakana Schofield – Author of Bina, Martin John and Malarky

October 22, 2007

Slan to Brendan

Sad news today for weather intrigued folks the great Irish meteorologist Brendan McWilliams has died after a short illness. His ruminations and knowledge will be missed.

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October 11, 2007

Bouger Maria

A story in William Trevor’s new collection Cheating at Canasta bought me back to the summer of the moving statues. I can remember the discussions “There’s too many has seen it now for it be anything other than truth”.   Anyway, I, 14 at the time, believed in them, but I was fairly misguided on most fronts, including it would now seem basic facts about the shape of the planet and the possibility of marrying Boy George.

 For those who want to relive it here’s a radio documentary 20 years on.

 Here’s a link to the review I wrote of William Trevor’s new short story collection in The Globe and Mail

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April 8, 2007

Spotted: iceclimbers on global warming

Mountaineers are bringing back first-hand accounts of vanishing glaciers, melting ice routes, crumbling rock formations and flood-prone lakes where glaciers once rose.
The observations are transforming a growing number of alpine and ice climbers, some of whom have scientific training, into witnesses of global warming. Increasingly, they are deciding not to leave it to scientists to tell the entire story.
“I personally have done a bunch of ice climbs around the world that no longer exist,” said Yvon Chouinard, a renowned climber and surfer, and founder of Patagonia, Inc., an outdoor clothing and gear company that champions the environment.

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February 20, 2007

Take it to the source

Here’s a man who took his feelings to the source (Dick Cheney) and said what many people may have rehearsed to deliver to any number of gobshite politicians. This, however, was the bullseye of all possible recipients. 

this clip features the part of the movie where Ben Marble, M.D. says “Go F*ck Yourself Mr. Cheney”

 This clip is from Spike Lee’s When the levees broke — a four part requiem. If there was any justice a great deal of the people in that documentary would actually be elected representatives for you’d be hard pressed to find a more articulate and dignified group of people. When you see the indifference these people have suffered it would make you wonder if “to have known some kind of real suffering” should be a prerequisite before you can stand up and represent anybody. Just the way you can’t operate a blood pressure cuff without showing you’ve grasped biology. There’s a great soliloquy in one of the final acts from an activist Fred Johnson (?) where he points out who these politicians work for. It’s bang on because even now in the aftermath there’s next to nothing being done to help these people and throughout the film you get little sense of the people through the politicians. You hear the words: business, resources, state guard, federal, city, you even get the mayor describing taking a shower in Air Force 1, (verging on blasphemous in the context of what’s happening outside in the streets), yet very little reference to their people.

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February 2, 2007


Seismic scientists say there is a greater probability of a major earthquake on B.C.’s South Coast in the next week, following a series of minor quakes that have worked their way up from Washington.

Books become all powerful in the event of the shakes as they rain down from the shelves. Put on the bicycle helmets.

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January 12, 2007


So wind chill and minus 16 turned out to be quite anti climactic. Small Puffin and myself dressed to the top of the hill, exit the building. Small Puffin exclaims in view of my front bite warning that’s it’s a bit steamy inside this get-up. Seconds later declares he’s blinded with the heat. I look across the road and see a bloke wandering along with his jacket wide open and no hat nor gloves.  I have to declare the whole episode an over reaction as we fling off the face wrapping. Further confirmed later when I spot a woman working as a flag person (traffic director?) stood in this wind chill doing a crossword. I stop for a chat with her and we discuss roadworks. Do you know, she says eventually, I should have had my ex evicted out of the house we shared when we split because I’ll never be able to own another house. I wonder can it be possible to have this much clarity, if it really is -16 in the wind. Then note there is no wind which makes it only -6.

In the soiree we get enthused about the sledging potential. On the road I think small Puffin looks strange: why’s he got two thick hoods on back of his head? Closer examination reveals he’s accidentally placed two big winter coats on. I must have forgot he says mystified. I cannot fathom how he physically managed to get them on, not least because one is two sizes too small for him.

The park is strangely empty, except for two snowboarders. When pulling Puffin from one side to other to reach some semblance of a hill I finally understand what it is to be a horse travelling the roads of Derbyshire in some Jane Austen tome. It’s beautifully quiet though, snow shifting away from the wellies like flour. It’s not that dreadful slushy snow. Powder, I think they call it.

 Since this blog has largely turned into tales of the Puffin and I walking along the road, due to the uneventful nature of anything literary, the use of the ‘s’ word in first paragraph will cause all kinds of problems, as sometimes people arrive at this blog with the most alarming search terms.  It’s like a form of censorship. Have had to remove an article to try to divert the owners of that group of brain cells to some other corner of the web. (i.e the corner they are actually trying to reach!)  Certain adjectives have me on edge. I am faint hearted. I’m sure people would say that’s the nature of blogging. Indeed there are far better candidates for it.

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January 11, 2007

Pinter and wind chill

Here’s a link to a photo gallery showing the damage heaped upon Stanley Park, our big downtown park (should that be rainforest?) I’m not fluent in the West Coast vernacular, but the gallery gives a good indication of what happens when the wind shows up with this much gusto.

The latest meteorological wonder is the threat of -16 windchill in the morning. Since I’m not even sure what wind chill is, had to inquire of a person who is familiar with it all up in Yellowknife (she stated it was minus 40 up there at the moment) and then gave an apt description of exactly what one must don in order to make it intact to lunchtime. Essentially you exit the bed and wear the equivilent of a continental quilt head to foot with pertinent holes for the eyes. A sort of arctic burqa look.

It’s one thing looking at these astonishing numbers in other places on the map of this gigantic land of frozen puddles, it’s quite another when the numbers suddenly shift left and threaten the old doorstep. We aren’t equipped. The last time the temp dipped to -4 the Puffin had a fire alarm at school and had to stand outside for twenty minutes with no coat on, because obviously we never have cause to think about such things.

Anyway amidst learning this new dialect of the chills, I did chance upon a most uplifting interview with Harold Pinter  from earlier in the year. Listening to him made me excited about being a writer, or perhaps more significantly about being a human being, which is a fairly rare sentiment. Or perhaps I was also excited about the fact he’s still alive, given he’s nearly died twice. I hope it has the same effect on you if you listen to him. At the end he reads from a recent piece about mobile phones, which is both funny and eerily familiar. I find him to be a very hopeful man, (because of his clarity and his integrity), who filled this listener with a great sense of purpose, rather than my usual bumbling fogginess, amply demonstrated in previous post about wiggly tooth.

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January 10, 2007

Gummy nausea

The small Puffin had the momentous event today of losing his first tooth. He’s an extremely mature Puffin not to have lost a tooth ’til now, as most small Puffins his age have long had the smile like they could give but a mere gummy nip to an average apple.

 Due to this delay have been able to avert dealing with the major nausea that overcomes me at the sight of a tooth being wiggled. Akin to the Sealink Ferry in high storms. To think I once considered a career as an autopsy attendant should give an accurate indication of how well we know our capabilities. That a wiggle should be so discomforting is perhaps sweetly ironic or perhaps explained by having had both my jaws broken in my twenties and four operations on the pesky crunchers.

The actual event happened only because he yanked it out of his mouth, while reading Pippi Longstocking. I suggested he yank it because the room was spinning everytime I saw it protrude from his lower jaw by the poke of his tongue. When he shrieked it’s out, it’s out. I shrieked oh Jesus I am going to get sick. Then got practical and declared open your mouth. Saw blood and shrieked Good Jesus it’s bleeding, they’re not supposed to bleed, in 1975 teeth didn’t bleed, something has gone wrong, you shouldn’t have yanked it. Had post-operative moment of inspiration. Cotton wool wadges. We don’t have any. Stuff mouth with flannel. All the time Puffin calmly declaring it’s fine offering scientific comparision to 47 other Puffins, who have lost teeth in his classroom company.

Now I am going to have to google number of teeth in mouth to figure out how many more times this must be endured. I tried to suggest to Puffin that hopefully only front sets of teeth fall out, since I never recall the big square fellas exiting my mouth, maybe that’s why I had several pulled as an adult. Puffin insists nonsense they’re all coming out.

He’s also determined tooth fairy won’t get her mitts on it. Firstly dissing it as improbable before suggesting I lock it someplace safe.

I recall being quite stoic when he had heart surgery as a young baby or perhaps because of heart surgery I am no longer stoic. Just like because of jaw surgery cannot tolerate sight of wiggly tooth. Still adequate distraction from the 100kph wind storm outside the window. I feel like we are auditioning for Global Warming on this coast for last 2 months and we keep getting a recall.

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