home of katherine, queen of hell

Historical and legal writings about America that are based on the belief that Columbus discovered the lands of millions of Indigenous Peoples deny the rights of these people…The right of Indigenous Peoples in the Americas to continue determining their way of life was denied through the acceptance of the doctrine of discovery, and this denial persists to this very day.

-Sharon H. Venne, Treaties; Negotiations and Rights

Ah yes, the good old Columbus Debacle. While set a bit ahead of the time period we are studying, it is still relevant to both the Aboriginal Relations with the French and British in the 1800s, and the current treatment of the Aboriginal people.

The article deals with the history of treaties with the Canadian Aboriginals, and their relations with settlers who came to their land.  It stars with the question of “why did the British assume they had sovereignty over the Indigenous lands?” Though the Aboriginal people had a full culture ad hierarchy, and clearly were the dominant peoples of the land., the British seemed to assume that because thy seemed less sophisticated, by conquering their lands they were bringing “civilization and prosperity” to the people.

When both peoples, the Aboriginal and the British, assumed that had sovereignty over the land. communications and treaties became tense. In later dealings, when the British were “allowing” the First Nations settlements, hunting grounds, health care and education, it begs the question: when did the British assume the title of leaders of the land? It certainly was not a First Nations decision.

For me, this topic correlates with section B2 of our prescribed learning outcomes in Socials, which speaks about “critiquing the rational for treaties”. Since this article is so clearly about how the ratio of power in the treaties got distorted, I thought it fit nicely.

Canada: Land of the Strong, Free, and Blind

Canada. Land of the strong, free, and ever-polite. Look back on our history and you see all the glorious “Liberation!!” “War of 1812!!” “We let the slaves come to us, America!!” “Wheeeee igloos and maple syrup!!”

But really, where has Canada been? What about the lovely racism and was against our aboriginal neighbors? And by neighbors, I mean the people we forcibly ejected form their homes and lands. Don’t forget Canada’s 200 years of slavery, and it’s oppression against the Metis. While Canada’s reputation is mainly lily white and “rightfully so”, let’s not be getting a god complex here.

Where we have been may have been bad, but where we are going may be terrifying. The future is coming and Canada is changing. New laws, new illnesses, probably not a new government (let’s be real). We have the lovely Trans-Canada line causing buckets of controversy. Canada, especially Vancouver, has some of the highest living cost worldwide, while the homeless sleep right outside their doors. Food waste is growing until the average person wastes $300 worth of food each year. Our household debt is growing. Racism against Aboriginals has not been stopped, merely hidden. If all these problems increase, Canadians are in for a rocky ride as the years go on.

Canada might be needing a map to the future right about now.





I Had A Great Trapeze Pun But I Forgot It And Couldn’t Think Of Another Title

This week in trapeze: Katherine’s titles get increasingly harder to understand.

So, the bad news is, I was only able to go to class once in the past two weeks (Tuesday was not the best day). Good news is, the week I DID go was pretty productive. I learned this new trick, called “Drop in front of the bar” (real original, i know). It’s similar to the drop I do where I stand on the bar, then fall off, catching it with my hands, EXCEPT for this one, I do it at the front of my swing. For those of you unfamiliar with trapeze physics, most tricks are done at the back of the swing, right before you go forward again, Doing tricks at the front is harder because you are propelling yourself forward, which is a much greater chance of falling off. Add that to the fact I’m literally PLUNGING OFF THE BAR TO MY DEATH (over-dramatic? i’m not over-dramatic), I was more then slightly scared. Still, I managed. Go me.

The other weird thing: Student Instructor. I have no clue where he came from, but last class he showed up and Scott had him spot me. Getting used to another person operating the harness was weird and hard to adjust too, but it actually helped me with my balance because I had to focus on how I was transitioning between positions in order to keep the swing steady.

As for conversations with my mentor, there has been some mild progress. As my class ends just as another begins, it’s kinda hard to actually talk talk, but I have tried. It usually consists of me asking questions about my technique or equipment, such as “What foot wraps should I use” or “Which side does my head go for this position”. My mentor prefers to explain moves and positions as I’m swinging, since he believes in a learn-as-you-go approach (which I will admit can be terrifying). He also likes having the other students do moves, and then questioning me on them when it’s my turn. We’ve both gotten a bit better at conversations, once I stopped being terrified of saying more then two words to him, and while the 1 minute it takes for me to be harnessed it doesn’t leave much time, we make it work. As I’m growing more confidant, I’m asking a lot more questions while in the air, which is really helping me improve my positions.


Ending note: go check out Vanessa’s blog because she did makeup on me. Also expect some super rad photos next week.

Welcome to Pullups

I believe last week I left off saying I was going to post a list of my new trapeze tricks and their explanations, seeing as I have learned a bunch recently. Though I unfortunately don’t have photos yet, I’ll try to tell you how they work.

Seated Back-flip: While this trick is basically all in the name, it starts with the acrobat sitting on the bar, legs together and pointed forwards at a 90 degree angle from the hips. The acrobat will then snap their legs over their head as they lean backwards, then back-flipping off the bar to dismount.

Front Flip Dismount: This move was kinda problematic for me, as the day I did it we were trying a one-legged harness, which puts a lot more pressure on the stomach. the acrobat will hang off the bar with their hands, swinging their legs back and forth to gain momentum until they snap their legs over their head, throwing their arms forward. This caused some problems and I kinda got stuck upside down on my second front flip down, which was not comfortable.

Splits Underbar: In this trick, the acrobat will do a knee hang, then grab onto the bar with both hands. They then extend both legs, one in front of the bar and the other behind it. By putting pressure on their back leg, they can arch their backs.

Pullover: Ooooh boy. This move was not my friend during practice. The concept is, hanging from the bar by their hands, the acrobat will pump their legs back and forth until they can swing them up and over the bar, so they end in a hip balance on top of the bar. Now, I don’t quite have the core for this, so my efforts were mostly met with failure. Finally, in the next class, I managed to do one, mostly with my mentor using the harness to basically haul me over the bar. Even then, I somehow got my legs stuck in the ropes . . . nevertheless, I did it.

Lune: This pose is when the acrobat sits sideways on the bar, grabbing one rope with both hands and placing both feet against the opposite rope. Then, the acrobat will gently extend their arms, until their body is in a curved shape below the bar, being held up by the feet and hands.

Plank: This is a move I used to do in silks, so this was easier. You simply sit sideways on the bar, put your hands behind you to grab the rope, and walk your feet up the other rope until your body is vertical, a foot above the bar.

Man on the Moon: this pose used my neck a lot, which hurt. It is also terribly complicated to explain without pictures, but I will say that it uses your head and neck on one rope to keep you in place and a leg draped across the bar. It’s harder then it looks.

Leaning Stag: This move has one arm holding a rope, the other arm extended straight up. One leg is on the bar, pointing straight out, while the other leg hangs below the bar so that your toe touches the your other knee.

Tah-dah, the moves I have learned. Sadly, I had to miss this tuesday’s class, since I’ve been sick for the last couple days. Luckily, I’ve gained a lot more confidence in class, when it comes to being self-directed. For example, I no longer wait to get into the harness in class, and I can do up the harness myself. In order to get momentum, each time you go up onto the bar, another student holds a rope below you and “hauls you away”. I now don’t wait to be asked for this, even though it still scares me. Scott knows I watch the other students while they go up, because he will sometimes ask me to do the moves they showed me. While we don’t have much of a communicating relationship other then him yelling instructions as I contort myself on the bar, we both have a pretty good understanding of my limitations and how far he will push me.

Now, for the grand finally: fitness projects. Yes, I am aware I promised you one each week and I have failed, but I am finally catching up. In order to get into shape, I’ve been using the standard fitness test from my PE class, which has three components: how many sit-ups you do in a minute, how many push-ups you do in a minute, and how fast you can run 1 kilometer.

As I’ve been doing them in gym class, my last record was:

  • Pushups: 41
  • Situps: 73
  • 1k: 5:13

Now, though I’ve been sick, I’ve been keeping with a routine of 60 push-ups and sit ups per day, in segment of 20. My next fitness test is scheduled for next weekend, so perhaps expect a little post then on my progress. Until then, adios.

With a Flying Start, We Begin.

The second post of eminent has arrived. Welcome to my old friends, the trapeze calluses.

The past three weeks have taken quite a toll on my. I have been taking weekly classes at the circus school, every Tuesday from 7-8.

DAY 1: The first class went something like this: showed up early, foot wraps on, nervous at the totally unfamiliar yet familiar setting. did the warmup. Met the other student in my class, two girls about my age and a 25-year-old named Brad. My mentor from last year, Scott, remembered me, and stuck me up on the bar first. Climbing up the rope again took some getting used too, as my arms forgot whats its like to pull yourself up a 30-foot rope. Nevertheless, I managed to get up, and only has a small embarrassing moment when I forgot how to properly hold on for Haul-Away (haul away is when the acrobat on the bar hold onto a rope, and another student below them uses the other side of the rope to give them 3 big pulls to get momentum). I remembered how to swing, thought I had to get a crash course on my old moves (bird’s nest, angel sequence, mermaid). Backflipped off. Same old routine.

I went up 3 time the first class, until the third time when, my arms burning and about to fall off, I found myself unable to swing onto the bar. I was stuck below, holding on the rope with my legs, my hands to sweaty and sore to get a proper grip on the bar. This was, needles to say, highly embarrassing. Scott eventually had me go back down after flailing about for a good five minutes. My arms burned and I had to soak my hands in ice water for the calluses after, but it was well worth it.

DAY 2:  

Second class was much better, by the fact I actually got on the bar all three times. Both pf the other girls in my class were sick, so it was just me and Brad for the day. I worked on my ankle drop, which is when I stand on the bar, then shove my heels down and grab the bar with my hands as I fall. Its just slightly terrifying. Scott spent a lot fo the time going over my old moves in sequences, so I remembered how to get in and out of them all.  I was kind of glad we didn’t learn anything new, since my arms were hurting enough after three times up (gym, musical theater and then trapeze? not a good combo)

DAY 3: 

Ah yes, the great day 3. The day I learned like 7 new tricks, totally failed at one, became Brad’s biggest fan, and impressed a small child.

As per usual, I went up first. I’m getting much better at climbing the rope. Scott taught me a new trick, the half pike/leaning tower (to be honest, i’m not entirely sure what he called it I was too busy contorting myself). We worked a lot more on my ankle drop, which still scares the bejeezus out of me. We tried a front flip dismount, which was fun except for the time I got stuck upside down. He tried to teach me splits under bar/pullover/hip balance maneuver, yet I still don’t quite have the upper arm muscles for that. Or the core for that. Or any muscles for that. Eventually we gave up and instead he taught me the man-on-the-moon sequence, which require a lot of my neck holding myself up, which hurts a lot. and feels awkward.

How to have a Beautiful Mind:

So, reading the chapter on agreeing, disagreeing and differing (is that a word? differing?), I reflected on my relationship with my mentor. See, the thing with mine is we have less of a mentoring relationship, more or a student/teacher one. On the agreeing side, I agree with basically everything he says. Since he’s an expert and I am mostly clueless as to trapeze, I trust him and follow his lead.  I don’t have much of a choice, seeing as he is working my harness and telling me when to do my moves. As for his teaching style, I agree with that a whole lot. Basically, he won’t go easy on me, or anyone, but he’s a wonderfully nice person that doesn’t care how long it takes me to get a move, or if I have to take a break, as long as I finish it. The only possible thing I could disagree on is the fact that I can’t always hear his voice when I’m swinging which leads to some confusion.

Next week, I plan to post a list of all my current tricks and moves so you can understand what I mean when I say I did my angel sequence followed by a half side-pike. Also, expect pictures. Lots and lots of pictures.

Haiku, Haikme, Haikus, Haikthem

You guessed it, more bad poetry from me that I wrote at 2 am. Enjoy.

Rainfall on the ground

Unaware of tears that fall

Mingling water

Well-worn paths of hard

Pressed dirt, work-boots so heavy

Weary from the day

Abstract art and minds

Difference between beauty

And those who are lost

Finish what you star-

ted they told me, yet I can’t

Move another inch

360 Degree Leader: Challenges

Challenge 1: How do you deal best with tension in a stressful situation?

In stressful situations, I find it most helpful for me to let someone else lead temporarily, as when I am stressed I can make poor decisions. I do have some troubles extinguishing control at times. If I must lead the group, then I deal with tension but calming others down first and reassuring my group. then, I go for the route that will be the most easily accomplished route with the least additional stress.

Challenge 2: What should you do when you find yourself following a leader who is ineffective? How do you continue to add value?

Firstly, continue to do whatever tasks the leader addresses you to your greatest ability.  Do not try to undermine to leader, as that will sow dysfunction in your group and promote unhealthy relations. build a strong rapport with the leader, and make suggestions in friendly tones. Phrase them as ways to improve the already good plans in place. When you deal with an ineffective leader, try to figure out if they are aware of their shortcomings and would appreciate help, or are oblivious and need to be reminded.

Challenge 3: How can you determine what hat you need to wear in a given situation?

Address your situation. Are you in a follower, leadership, or middle role? What are your relations with the people above you? What are your current tasks? Do you need to delegate information or tasks? Who do you rely on/relies on you in this situation?

Challenge 4: Do you tend to focus more energy on production or promotion?

I personally tend to focus more attention on production. In this way, the things my group does, and produces, will hopefully speak for themselves and act as promotion instead. If you spend more energy on promotion, you will have less produced and those who find you through promotion may be less interested in you. That being said, you cannot ignore promotion and hope for people to find you by chance.

Challenge 5: List some of the advantages and disadvantages of being out front.


  • More influence on your groups direction
  • Ideas are more frequently heard
  • Recognized as a good leader and respected
  • Greater decision making choices


  • Easily blamed if things go wrong
  • Greater responsibility forced on shoulders
  • Forced to make compromises
  • Have to try to please everybody

Challenge 6:  What would you rather do: see your own vision put into action and come to fruition, or help others fulfill theirs? Explain.

This case is very dependent on circumstance. While doing your won ideas can be more self-satisfying and rewarding. helping those around you can lead to greater satisfaction throughout. Also, helping others is a good leadership trait and builds good rapports, so others will be more willing to help you with your visions.  On the other hand, you may not fully understand someone else’s vision, so it may be more productive to work on your own. In the long run, I believe that doing your own tasks is personally rewarding but seeing someone’s else’s vision come to fruition, knowing you helped with it, will be more rewarding in the end.

Challenge 7: Describe the qualities of a leader you trust. Do you posses these qualities? If not, how can you become more trustworthy?

Some specific qualities of a leader I trust are: confidence, showing others you are in charge and understand the situation. Being well-informed and passionate about your talks also helps. Someone who is friendly and talks to others, hearing their opinions also helps.  Trustworthy leaders usually learn their team’s strengths and weaknesses, so they can delegate tasks to those that will accomplish them well, or need to work on that section.

I believe I posses the qualities such as friendliness, though I do have trouble with shyness at times. I can be quite confidant, and I enjoy hearing others talk. but I need to work more on understanding situations and learning my team’s strengths better, so we can work more cohesively.

360 Degree Leader

Myth 1: What has a peer taught you in the past year?

In the last year, one peer really taught me something about listening. When we were working in a large group, she was the leader, and made a big effort to hear everyone’s suggestions. She took the time to ask everyone and hear their opinions, but this took up so much time. People were bringing up options that had little relevance, and eventually she was forced to start cutting people off and taking away their chances to speak so that we could finish on time.  She taught me that while leaders have to listen to their group, they also have to know when to reign them in.

Myth 2: How do you become the person I desire to be?

To become the person I desire to be, I find role models I other people, find the qualities I desire in them, and strive to show them in myself. I find the qualities that are not helpful in a leadership position and ask my peers to point them out to me when they notice them. This way, I can mold myself into a better person and leader.

Myth 3: What prompts you to follow someone else?

The things that prompt me to follow someone else, first of all, is their position. When I am introduced to my boss or someone above me, I will follow them. Secondly, I look for someone with good socials skills, who is charismatic an easy to talk to. Thirdly, I look for someone who knows what they are doing and understands the situation. Lastly, I look for someone confidant, willing to listen to others and show the way at the same time.

Myth 4: How often do the people in your quad/committee question or criticize the decisions your quad leaders make?

In my quad, often. While we respect the leaders have more experience and understanding of the situation, and more resources, we often question their decisions. We think that, as the people doing to work, we may have a better understanding of what should be done. While we prefer less to criticize and more to bring up our questions  to the leaders.

Myth 5: Do you agree that as you move up in an organization, the weight of your your responsibility increases? Explain.

Yes.  While each role in important in a group, the leader in responsible for delegating and leading the group, so there are higher repercussions if they fail. Also, as you move up in the chain of command, those above you will put more pressure on you, since they no you can handle more. In addition, those below you can use you as an excuse if things go awry, so you must be more prepared to deal with consequences.

Myth 6:  Eleanor Roosevelt said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” How does that idea relate to allowing a title or position to limit your position?

This quote applies in the way that having a low position in a group does not mean you cannot contribute and raise the value of the work. Though you may not be a leader, or high up in the chain of command, if you use your position wisely you can add just as much to the group as anyone.

Myth 7: The reality for most people is that they will never be the CEO. Does that mean they should give up leading all together?

Not at all. Though not everyone can be CEOs, CEOs in turn cannot oversee everyone. That means there are still numerous leadership roles out there for everyone. While CEO’s are seen as important, they would fail quickly without those delegating beneath them.



An Array of Aerial Acrobatic Arts . . . Again

Nice alliteration, right? (I am ashamed of how long it took em to come up with it)

So, indepth is back with a bang this year. As you may have gotten with the “again”, I am doing a kinda-sorta continuation of last year’s project, circus. Except this year, I’ve narrowed it down to one section: Trapeze.

That’s right, ladies and gents and those in between, I will be spending five months harnessed onto a 20-foot-high bar, doing flips.

Why trapeze? Well, I did a bit last year and really enjoyed it. Not only was it good physical activity that made me a lot stronger, it was amazing fun. On trapeze, you swing nearly horizontal with the ceiling, dropping off the bar trusting that you’ll catch it and if you don’t, your spotter will catch you. Last year, I took classes only for a month and learned so much. This year, taking classes for three months, I believe I can do so much more.

My mentor and instructor, Scott, is actually the same one who taught me last year. We meet every Tuesday for an hour of training at Vancouver Circus School. I had my first class last Tuesday and let me tell you, not doing trapeze for a good 8 months makes your forget how hard it is.

In addition to all the circus madness, I’m taking ti upon myself to do a fitness challenge every week. After last Tuesday’s rope incident (which I will explain in later posts) I realized exactly how out of shape I am for this line of work. If I want to really get as much out of this project as possible, I have to be in top condition. Say hello to my new best friend, pushups.

So, I’m excited, nervous, terrified, and slightly annoyed at myself for picking this project. Sounds like the perfect combo.

The Aftermath

Ahh yes, the Night of the Notables is over. While I am in part relived, sad, and totally exhausted, I am mostly pleased with the amount of improvement since last’s years Night of the Notables.

My initial goals for this project were: Find a good person (better then last year) who I understood and intrigued me, have my speech completed at least three days before eminent, and improve my public speaking/relations skills with my speech and learning center. I definitely accomplished the first one. The second one, however . . . I actually more started my speech three days before eminent. In my defense, I had ideas, I just hadn’t written them down. The speech went amazingly, though. The third, well, I had fun talking to people at my station; I don’t know if they did.

As for the night itself, it was kinda stressful. With everyone rushing to complete their learning centers, and I had a whole costume/makeup/wig getup to get into (I had to go to choir dressed like that; not fun.) I barely had enough time to set up  my learning center before we were all being called down for speeches.

That, is what I am most proud of, the speech. If you go on the TALONS flickr page, you will see several shots of me yelling angrily at the crowd to fight me.  Unfortunately, the minute the speeches were done and we were all in our dazed, “what? speeches are done?” mode, we heard the doors opening and the crown coming out. Well, it was a mad dash for learning centers after that. Luckily, we all got to our stations in time. I had a lot of fun talking to people and occasionally sword fighting them, if they requested it. I was a lot busier then last year, though that might not so much have been me as the cheese that I had on my table. The best question I got asked was by this one guy who said “But why was she so . . . tense???” 

One of the main things I learned during this project was about getting into character. I thought this project was more about finding out thins about your person, researching them, but when I started writing my speech and really got into her character, acting like her, I understood her a lot better and it showed in the rest of my work.

I could not have completed this project without a whole lot of help. First of all, the biggest and brightest thank-you goes to my sister, Emily. When I told her who I was going to be for eminent this year, so was immediately intrigued and, as she has both a talent and love for sewing, offered to help me with my costume. Now, as I am quite hopeless with sewing and the more crafty things, her “helping” was more me showing her pictures of what I imagined, and her creating me the best costume I could have imagined. The end result was a shirt, vest, hat, scarf, gloves and jacket that turned me into the most swashbuckling opera singer ever to swashbuckle. She also gave me so much encouragement for both learning center and speech alike, turning my piddly small-stemmed ideas into an amazing garden. Thank, Em.

My other thank-yous go mostly to my friend in the TALONS class (namely Vanessa F, Emma and Alison) and my parents, both of whom gave me ideas, prompted me, encouraged me, and told me to get off my butt and start actually doing things. I received a lot of help with my learning and my speech. Another thank-you to whatever other poor souls I dragged down and forced them to listen to me repeating “FIGHT ME” over and over.

The best thing I will remember about this eminent night was the big group hug backstage, right before grade then speeches. Each of us were a bundle of nervous energy, having repeated and edited our speeches over and over as the day went bye. You could see people muttering lines, or practicing gestures, or teh few that gave up and were sitting down trying to sleep. Eventually, though, after we heard everyone sitting down and w had all gone over our transitions so many times, we had a big group hug backstage and just wished everyone the best luck. Because we just want everyone else to do well. It’s a great group dynamic. And you bet every time someone came off the stage from finishing their speech, they were surrounded by the rest of the class, being told how good they did.

And now, it’s over. And I know I did good because for once, I don’t want to redo it.