Thursday, July 30, 2015

#CecilTheLion

So, the internet exploded this week - and with good reason. An American dentist killed a protected lion, leader of his pride and local celebrity in Zimbabwe earlier this week.

Newseek posted this article about it.

Jimmy Kimmel had this to say:



And Hollywood actress Sophia Bush posted this to her Instagram, along with a majestic photo of Cecil:

I couldn't sleep last night thinking about this face. Let's be clear about something. There is not one cool thing about murdering a creature like this. There is not ONE. COOL. THING about sport hunting. I say this as both an animal lover and as a woman who counts time on the shooting range as one of her favorite hobbies. I say this as a human being who is so fucking appalled that a guy thought paying an insane amount of money to shoot this majestic creature in the heart and kill him was a neat way to go on vacation. People. Wake the FUCK UP. Wake up. To the loser who felt like this act would bolster his manhood? Find another way to prove that you could win a big swinging dick competition (which we all already know from your embarrassing cowardice you never could in the first place). To anyone else out there who thinks this shit is cool, do a little research on the devastating effects of poaching, not only on incredible animals but on the people who live in the communities being destroyed. And again, I implore you, wake up. This is not our planet to pillage. These creatures are not here for our enjoyment. Coexistence isn't some lofty ideal. It's the only way we are going to survive. It's the only way we are going to pull ourselves out of the trenches of our most repulsive tendencies. #Cecil #FuckPoaching #ScreamForCecil #BeOutraged
A photo posted by Sophia Bush (@sophiabush) on
Cecil was part of a long-term study carried out by Oxford University. The study group had been watching and getting to know Cecil and his pride for the better part of 12 years. Now that Cecil was killed for sport, the consequences for his pride are ... innumerable and unforeseeable. You can find an interview right here with Dr. Andrew Loveridge from 2012 which gives basic information of the research they were doing with Cecil and various other lions and prides.

Have you watched the Lion King? When Mufasa died, we all saw Scar take over. Simba was run out of town and it wasn't for Timon and Pumba, he'd have died and Nala gave Simba the courage to go back and take back the pride from Scar.

Except this time, Disney isn't going to come to the rescue.

I normally don't get very political on here, but the killing of Cecil really, really pisses me off.

First of all .. who kills a fucking lion?! If you've been paying attention at all over the last 10 years or so, or seen any Discovery Channel documentary in your life ever, you know that lions need to be a protected species and their numbers have been in jeopardy for longer than I've been alive.

Second of all, it's a LION! Why on Earth would you want to kill an animal like that!? How does that conversation even go; how does that idea even come up in your brain?!

"I wanna go on vacation and kill something."
"Why don't you go to Africa and kill a lion?"
"Yeah, lions are pretty cool. I haven't bagged one of those yet."
"Cool bro - and take your bow with you too. It'll show the lion just what a manly man's man you are."
"Aww dude, you're so right bro. I need to look as macho as possible when I take pictures."
"Yeah man, like ... totally pose with it and shit too."
"Oh yeah bro, I totally will. But what am I gonna do for a souvenir though? I can't bring back an entire fucking lion."
"Bro, just take the most impressive part with - take his fucking head!"
"Oh my god, bro. Dude. You just blew my mind!"

WHAT?!

What.The Actual. Fuck!?

Surely God, I'm not the only person who thinks that a lion looks way more impressive and awe inspiring in the wild than fucking mounted on a wall somewhere, right?

It's not hunting that I have a problem with. I get it. There are lots of really valid reasons to hunt - population control, basic food and survival .. and there are a whole slew of sociological and economic reasons that we could get in to as well, but for the sake of the Internet let's not get too academic here.

Cecil led his pride, a modern day Mufasa. I don't know how many cubs are in his pride, but once a new alpha male comes in, those cubs are dead. Cecil's brothers will be driven from the pride if it's taken over by a more dominant and stronger male.

This American dentist has just unleashed Pandora's box for the Oxford research team. Not only will this directly affect the group in very profound ways, but it will also no doubt affect conservation efforts as well - but given the outrage that's been posted on-line this week, one can only hope that the Oxford team will see a boost in funding, an increase in awareness, and maybe even harsher penalties for poachers, and increased responsible sport hunting.

The Oxford team that was heading the research for lions in Africa released their response to Cecil's death today. You can find the full article here, but I thought the follow few paragraphs were worth sharing:

"Cecil's apparently illegal death is tragic, but many people have asked us if any good can come of it. First, it is amazing that this episode has heightened awareness of lion conservation worldwide. Supporting conservation is the purpose of our work – conservation involves huge challenges, both in the science and the practice, and we are deeply grateful for the public interest and support. Second, people have asked if they can support our work through donations – the answer is yes, urgently, and we rely entirely on philanthropy. Donations could support the purchase of more satellite tracking collars, support of our field vehicles and field staff, also, very importantly; we train wonderful young Zimbabwean conservationists, bringing some of them to Oxford on scholarships for world-class training in conservation.

The modern world is a hostile place for large carnivores like lions. It will take all our ingenuity and determination to secure their conservation alongside the development of local communities. Conservation solutions depend on the best possible science, for the benefit of wildlife and local people, and the WildCRU's work is dedicated to undertaking that science and working with policy-makers to implement it. We desperately need support – millions of people have been affected by Cecil's death – and by the plight of lions in general - and imagine they are powerless at preventing further lion decline. However, those millions can make an immediate and real difference – if each of them made a pledge of support to the WildCRU this would revolutionise our work for conservation, and hugely improve the long-term outlook for lions both in Zimbabwe and elsewhere. That would be a worth memorial to a lion as magnificent as Cecil, who has provided so much to WildCRU and the world."

They aren't wrong people. We so often think of ourselves, human beings, as being the top predator on the planet, that we're at the top of the food chain. In reality, we are not. We're just ignorant and arrogant enough to think so. There are so many more species of animals out there that are capable of killing human beings without a second glance. Lions, bears, snakes, sharks, spiders ... humans have and will continue to die because of encounters with these animals. And we still think we're the top species on Earth?! Get over yourself. We're just the only species to have a better devleoped brain and we somehow figured out how to make tools. We are not the only species to use language - dolphins and whales use they're own system of language to communicate over great distances. We just don't call it a language because we don't understand it. We are not the only species to hunt - have you familiarized yourself with the definition of a carnivore lately? We are not the only species to live in social groups.

We are the only species to build tall buildings - the taller and bigger it is, the better it must be. We are the only species to pillage the planet of it's finite natural resources operating like they are, in fact, infinite. We are the only species to build roads to get to more places. We are the only species to build a military and spend billions and billions and trillions of dollars in weaponry to blow each other off the face of Earth because neither of us knows how to share very well, or communicate or accept differences.

And we think that somehow THIS - our destructive tendencies and general "fuck you" attitude - makes up the top species on Earth?! Are you kidding me?!


I'm sorry Cecil.
I'm sorry some jackass dentist thought you were more valuable as a trophy.
I'm sorry you suffered.
I'm sorry your gone.
I'm sorry humanity let you down.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Late Night Muse





The nights are unusually long without Dev. Most nights I stay awake as long as possible, so I am sleeping as few hours as possible without him.

I know, I know that sounds weird and maybe a little over-the-top in love, but it's true. I hate sleeping without him.

I miss coming home at the end of the day, and having our condo filled with delicious aromas of whatever higgly-piggly concoction he's whipping up in the kitchen. I miss the lazy Sunday afternoon's we spend on the couch, watching movies - even the times when they were either Hindi movies, or Malayalm movies (with no subtitles) and I would watch them anyway to try and figure out what exactly is going on. FYI, the amount of times that I was actually accurate is eerie considering I don't speak either language.

That will be a challenge in and of itself - learning Hindi and/or Malayalam. I srsly shudder when I even think about trying to do that. It's gonna be so hard. And I've always felt awkward speaking another language - how messed up is that?! I used to take French in high school and a little bit in University, and I wasn't that bad at it actually but I've lost most of it now, mostly because I don't know that many people who speak French conversationally so I really wouldn't even know where to start .. and now, when a scattered French word or phrase comes to mind and I say it out loud - usually to Dev, who's pretending to be French because he saw it on TV and thinks it's cool - I feel SO weird!

It's just French! It's a beautiful language, and really a "gateway language" to Spanish and Italian, just to name a few. Srsly. I think I'm wired a little wrong some days.

However, I do know a few colorful swears words in different languages so that's always entertaining - just don't break out the really bad ones at dinner parties.

I miss him rolling over in the middle of the nights, limbs all heavy with sleep and feel the soft thud as his arm slides across my back. Or the way he curls in to me sometimes, arm wrapped around me and will give me a little tug to get closer together.

I miss the mornings we sleep in together, and wake up over mugs of coffee in our Star Wars mugs in bed. We never really say much, but there is always some part of our body touching the other.

I miss the way he kisses me on the forehead when I'm still sleeping, after numerous attempts to get me to wake up and I keep saying "Five more minutes!" I can promise you that almost every single time he chuckles at me, tells me to "get up dirtbag," and will put a mug of coffee on the nightstand. And on the days that I'm really lazy he'll usually give me a smack on the butt, or jerk part of the blankets and tell me to get up it's a beautiful day and that it's "DEV AND ALANNA'S DAY OF FUN!!!"

Fuck.

I miss him. Which probably accounts for why I've been on a bit of an emotional roller coaster the last week or so. I'm keeping myself busy so that I don't have time to acknowledge the fact that I miss him.

It's funny the coping mechanisms the mind and body come up with.

If I ever get back in the hot room I'm gonna be a mess. Jeez Louise. To all my teachers, I will apologize in advance.

I do need the yoga again though. I took a break before Dev left to spend time with him and get some time for us and time for myself to gain perspective and just process what a crazy year it's been. But the pieces are coming back together.

Everyone is happy and healthy. Dev is with his family and he's busy nearly every single day. It's hard for us to talk like we used so I'm judging by the few photo's he sends me on FB and the scattered Skype dates we have that everything is going well for him.

Alright internet ... it is late. I have to adult tomorrow. I don't want to adult. But adults are supposed to be good at adulting - they don't tell you that when you're a kid and you're anxious to grow up. So. I shall leave you with a favourite skit of mine between sweet JGL and NPH.




Monday, July 27, 2015

To The Day

It's been almost a month to the day, maybe a little more, since Dev left.

It was hard at first, coming home to the house and not having him here. Getting to sleep at night was the worst! It took me a week or two to actually fall asleep before 2am. Even now, I still have nights where the absence of him in our bed leaves me restless and I toss and turn all night long until I finally fall asleep out of sheer exhaustion.

I'm adjusting slowly to him being gone a little more every day. The week ends are usually the hardest. But the Universe has put some amazing people in my life and the last 2 week ends have been absolutely amazing. I'm also starting to adjust the fact that my entire life might be turned upside down in the very near future - the sheer enormity of possible changes catches me off guard at the weirdest and oddest of moments sometimes.

Like today -  I was driving to Calgary to spend some time with a few friends and get in some shopping when a song came on  - Bright Lights, Big City by 30 Seconds to Mars - and I just started to let my mind wander and think about moving to the other side of the world and everything THAT entails and out of nowhere, I just started crying.



Did I mention that I was hurtling down Highway at 120kms/hr?

Yeah ... kinda of makes crying while driving a bit of a dicey game.

"WTF is wrong with me?" I asked, myself as I wiped away a streak of tears, merged in to the other lane, and passed some guy in a jacked up truck who - if he was looking - would have thought that I was totally crazy person.

Living in Alberta is awesome, don't get me wrong, but it's still tough to see my family. My parents are coming for a visit though later in August which will be fun. But I haven't seen my nephews or nieces in years. And with a possible move to Dubai on the horizon, who knows when I'll see any of them again.

It's been 2, if not 3, years since I've seen Daddy, and even longer still since I've seen my brothers.

Man .. have I really been gone from home that long already?!

It seems like it was just a year ago that I packed my life in to my little Chevy Cobalt with my brother and sister in law and drove across the tiny little Island on Newfoundland to meet Dev in Halifax, Nova Scotia to begin our first road trip together to our new home in Timmins.

We've been in Red Deer for a year and half already.

If it turns out that I am moving, maybe I'll see if I can arrange my travel plans so that I get a couple of days back on The Rock to see all my monsters and siblings and the few friends I still have there before getting on another plane and heading in to tomorrow - literally!

You cross the International Date Line when you travel to Dubai so they're living in the future. How's that for a long distance relationship for you?

It's funny how your life goes sometimes. Never in a millions years did I think I would end up in the places that I've been. I'm a small town girl from little ole Newfoundland. And here I am, the youngest and only girl in my immediate family living away in Alberta - not unlike a bunch of other Newfoundlander - who's now entertaining dreams of moving to the other side of the world! Granted, my family doesn't have a penchant for moving. I think of all my aunts, uncles and cousins, you can probably count on one hand those of us who've moved from NL to go and explore the great big blue orb that we're on and settle down elsewhere - although "settled" is definitely not the word I would use to describe my life at all right now.

Sometimes Dev doesn't get how big of a deal it is, all this moving stuff. He's used to moving around from place to place. The town I'm from, people don't do that. They're born and raised there. They get married and raise they're kids there. They live their there. The die there. They get buried there. Sure, they may take exotic vacations every once in a while, but they always come back to the place they call home. Moving is so foreign to me. I have to ask myself if it's really want I do - to pack, and compartmentalize my life and cart it from one place to another. Unpack it all, and start another life in a new place and build new relationships and collect all these memories and experience, and then box it all up again and start somewhere else.

Sometimes I wonder if I have a home.

There's just so much of this big planet that I want to see, and experience so many different things, and learn and grow and meet so many people. I can't imagine - my brain can't even fathom - the idea of seeing nothing more of this world other than the world you know just outside your doorstep.



And I know that really, the song is about Los Angeles, but for me ... Dubai is my LA. Dubai is where my life changes. Again. I think it'll be the third time I'll have moved, but it will be the biggest move if I've ever made in my life (if and/or when I go). In the meantime, I'll still dream and stress out over potentially moving to the other side of the world, and just let the Jared Leto and 30 Seconds to Mars be the soundtrack for those dreams ...