Year: 2012

Year in Review: Ekostories 2012

Ten Months. Thirty essays. 61,218 words, give or take a few. I’ve learned a lot since the launch of Ekostories. I’ve come to respect good blogging as both art and a discipline; it’s a challenge to generate original content that strives to be useful, entertaining, and relevant on a consistent basis. I would like to thank you all for your readership along with your thought-provoking comments and suggestions over the past months. Ekostories has surpassed 20,000 views, which is not too shabby for an essay blog that gets updated once or twice weekly. Here are some interesting facts and stats: Dinosaurs still rule the earth: A 90’s Flashback: Dinosaur’s Changing Nature is the runaway most popular Ekostory, receiving over 4,000 hits. I am a little surprised, but glad. I like the piece myself, so it’s nice that it’s getting a lot of attention, even if most of it is probably from dinosaur-loving spambots. A double dose of Miyazaki: Both My Neighbour Totoro and Princess Mononoke proved to be consistently and enduringly popular. I’m not surprised …

Time’s End: Majora’s Mask Remixed, by Theophany

I love soundtracks. To me, they play a crucial part in my enjoyment of stories in films, television, and games. Done properly, a soundtrack dynamically complements and enhances a narrative’s ability to resonate deeply with us. Good atmospheric music set the emotional tone of countless scenes, while pieces rich in memorable melodies and rousing leitmotifs can instantly transport us back to meaningful moments of the story, long after the tale itself has faded from our memories. Today, I want to return to the world of Termina with Time’s End: Majora’s Mask Remixed, an album by Theophany that was appropriately released on the Mayan End of Days. Even if you haven’t read the Majora’s Mask Ekostory and know nothing about videogames, the music is worth a listen. Theophany’s tracks capture the rich and terrible world of Majora’s Mask and the elements of grief, apprehension, mystery, and wonder that colour it. Terrible Fate and Time’s End are my personal favourites. Have a listen while living life in the first exciting days of a “post-apocalyptic” world!

Reflections of Nepal: Escaping Kathmandu

Despite its relatively small size and landlocked location, Nepal is a staggeringly diverse country in terms of geography, ecology, and culture. Six weeks are insufficient to experience everything the nation has to offer. Nevertheless we tried our best. We sampled daily life in modern Kathmandu, trekked through the intensely beautiful Annapurna Conservation area, become immersed in the culture of an indigenous people in the mid-west plains of the Terai, and explored a myriad of unique habitats within Royal Bardia National Park. Here is the first of our stories. The writing style is inspired by one of my favourite pieces of travel literature (and a future Ekostory), The Log From the Sea of Cortez by John Steinbeck and Ed Ricketts. Like The Log, this upcoming series of essays represent a collaborative effort between my partner and I, borne out of the collective ideas, conversations, anecdotes and impressions that sprang forth from the trip. I hope they prove to be interesting and insightful.

Botanicals: Environmental Expressions in Art

BOTANICALS: Environmental Expressions in Art, by ArtPlantae Today “Isaac Sutton believes in the importance of integrating a garden and art into daily life. They transport us from the rigors of an urban life and nurture us in body and spirit. Through observation, education, cultivation and practice, we learn to be more aware of the importance of a symbiotic relationship with the natural world, and we realize that we must value and protect it for future generations.” – Co-curator, Alice Marcus Krieg, Integrating the Garden and Art Collection I recently discovered a great website called ArtPlantae Today that seeks to connect artists, naturalists, and educators through the art of botanical drawings. Having little personal talent, I find myself consistently awed by the detailed intricacies of these illustrations and their ability to convey the ethereal and delicate beauty of the plant world. It is on this website that I came across Botanicals: Environmental Expressions in Art, an exhibition showcasing the largest private collection of contemporary botanical drawings in North America.  In his introductory essay titled A Passion …

The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask

Zelda’s Twisted Tale: Majora’s Mask

With the end of 2012 and the Mayan calender on people’s minds, I thought it would be topical to explore one of my favourite stories revolving around the end of the world: The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask. Many consider it to be the most creative entry in the Zelda videogame franchise. Released after The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time, one of the most critically acclaimed game of all time, Majora’s unique narrative and deeply human characters help to convey mature themes of grief, loss, and mortality with a sophistication not normally found within the medium. Drawing upon elements of the fantastic and the grim, the disturbing and the absurd, Majora’s Mask shares many similarities with traditional fairy tales and ancient myths, evoking a rich full range of emotional responses within the player.

Ekostories Back from Hiatus

“And day to day, life’s a hard job, you get tired, you lose the pattern. You need distance, interval. The way to see how beautiful the earth is, is to see it as the moon.” –  (The Dispossessed, p. 190) Hello all! I’ve just returned from my six-week trip to Nepal. To be quite honest, I had no idea what we were getting ourselves into, but it turned out to be a fantastic trip, full of opportunities to explore varied landscapes, immerse in local cultures, and be exposed to very different worldviews. Nepal gave me a chance to break away from the routine, to see things from another vantage point, and to build appreciation and understanding not only for others, but for myself. At the expense of sounding clichéd, I suppose that can be attributed to the transformative power of travel: One can’t help but see the world a little differently afterwards, to come away slightly changed. What those changes are and how they will affect me I can’t say. What I do know is …

Reconnect 6: Ekostories of Wonder

“Here, I’ll prove to you that there are no tiny moments, no dull moments, no little things, only a general failure on our parts to see the wild and amazing slather of miracles that come unbidden and will for each of us, too soon end..” (The Slather) Published in the September/October 2012 issue of Orion Magazine, Brian Doyle’s incredible short story revolves around the small wonders that occur all around us, if only we can pause long enough to appreciate them.