Between the Zombie Marches (or walks depending on who you ask, either way they should definitely be combining the zombie theme with occupy Wall Street.  It would be appropriately symbolic on so many levels), our own rez’s oddly planned Halloween projects that should go great, and Montreal’s general artsy ways, Halloween here should be spectacular… and coupled with the beginnings of our spectacularly miserable winter weather.  Montreal stomachs Halloween extremely well, diving into the parties and costuming whole heartedly (or that is how it seems it will be at this point).  One of my teachers even dressed as a never ending loop in Java, and it isn’t even Halloween yet (he wore a 150lb coffee bag that said ‘Answers to midterm on back’ on the front and ‘Answers to midterm on front’ on the back, topped off with a pair of bug wings and antennae to represent that he was most definitely a bug).  It seems odd that a city that was once so deep in a religious system, particularly one as restricting and sterile Christianity, would be so delighted to dress up as witches and gouls and dance naked around fires.

Rather, it seems odd until you remember that you are in Canada.  Religion manifests itself very differently here  Canada rewrote their Christianity very differently than the way America did in that Canada usually disregarded passages that restricted their daily loves and lives whereas America disregarded most of the Bible’s passage’s details but think they know them well enough to go ahead and restrict daily life.

The way the Canadians do it… Love it!  No nonsense about Halloween being some evil holiday, no muttering about witches being related to Satan.  The fact that we can celebrate death rather than fear is a nice change… which is what Halloween’s all about, by the way.  It’s not about trick-or-treating, it’s about the end of summer and the gods of death.  I don’t really like the way our society deals with death, especially not the way leaders use the dead to manipulate the populations political views.  As it is, it is almost as though death is an inappropriate topic of discussion, almost as much so as sex, politics, and religion.

There’s lots to think about on death, particularly with all the different opinions on what happens after death, if anything.  How you think about death tends to sum up how you think about life, I think.

“There are many things worth living for, a few things worth dying for, and nothing worth killing for.”
– Tom Robbins

It would be nice if everyone looked at death that way.

For myself, while everyone is celebrating death and candy, I’m going to be in an exam.  However, I may be taking my computer science exam as Charlie Chaplin’s The Tramp. Sir Charles Spencer Chaplin has long been a hero of mine, even moreso after watching the move Chaplin a few years ago.  If you haven’t seen Chaplin, you most definitely need to. It was directed by Richard Attenborough and stars Robert Downey Jr. (a very young Mr Downey Jr) in a role that I would not see anybody else attempt (except maybe Johnny Depp, who often lists Chaplin as one of his greatest influences).

Another reason I would like a Charlie Chaplin outfit is to wear it randomly to class.  Probably the ultimate highlight of my lecture experience came from a guy who walked into our class dressed in a full rabbit suit.  Oh, and our Comp Sci professor may be giving us bonus points if we come to our midterm in full costume.  Charlie Chaplin usually had a twinkle in his.

It also has to do with my view of death, since I don’t believe there is much anything interesting after death.  I have a limited amount of time to enjoy myself, and laughing is one of the best ways to pass the time to get to the dying bit.

Now, I’m headed off to go find an old coat that is two sizes too small and a pair of shoes and trousers that are two sizes too large, a combination that made life fit wonderfully with laughter some decades ago, even in the middle of war.

One last quote (this quoting thing is so awesome and convenient):
“Albert Camus wrote that the only serious question is whether to kill yourself or not.
Tom Robbins wrote that the only serious question is whether time has a beginning and an end.
Camus clearly got up on the wrong side of bed, and Robbins must have forgotten to set the alarm.
There is only one serious question. And that is: Who knows how to make love stay?
Answer me that and I will tell you whether or not to kill yourself.”
― Tom Robbins


Calem is a wonderfully misdirected student who has never had much idea what he wanted to do with his life but has insisted on enjoying it whether a particular purpose comes or not. He works on numerous online projects and is generally willing to help out with whatever he can. Working together with people on projects is something he's found profoundly adds to his life. For any question, comments, concerns, etc, please email calemjbendell@gmail.com.

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