Spider Monkey is pot - bellied, spider - limbed, worried - faced and
independent. They have very long legs and tails and are extremely agile.
In the tropical rainforest of Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Brazil, they
live in communities that can break into sub-groups of 3-4 individuals.
Spider monkeys live in trees up to 35 metres above the ground. Probably
only gibbons exceed spider monkeys in agility in the trees. Acrobatic
and swift, spider monkeys move through the trees, with one arm stride
covering up to 12 metres. They have a prehensile tail, which acts as a
fifth limb, able to grasp objects or hold their entire body weight for
They eat fruit, nuts, seeds or leaves but they will take insects or small
animals if they are readily available. Maturity is reached at around four
years, with females coming into season every four weeks. Gestation is
7-8 months. Newborns cling to their mothers' abdomen and then travel on
her back until independence. The average life span for a Spider monkey
is around 20 years. They are closely related to the other monkeys in the
family cebidae, including capuchins and howler monkeys.
They have been known to shake a vine occupied by a predator to cause them
to fall. They have also been seen breaking off dead branches weighing
nearly 5kg and dropping them on the predator.
Reasons for their decline include hunting for food by locals, the use
of infants as pets, and habitat loss due to clearing of forests for agriculture
and human habitation. They are vulnerable because they have low maturation
and reproduction rates. Their habitat, mature rain forests, is being lost
to farming at the rate of 35,000 acres a day. Preserving the rainforest
in South America will help save them from extinction.
welcome to winnipeg, manitoba, canada. this is the city
that i was born in, grew up in, and i will probably die here, too. there
are a few things that outsiders know about winnipeg. we have a lot of
talent - the guess who, neil young, and the weakerthans are all examples
of musicians who had based their career in winnipeg. winnipeg is often
known as winterpeg by locals because of the extreme weather. it is not
unusual to have a range of temperatures in a year of +40 C in the summer
to -50 C in the winter... with wind chill. those people 'lucky' enough
to have a car and avoid a frigid walk to wait for the bus, need to have
a block heater. this allows them to physically plug their car in to electricity
to prevent it from freezing. then again, some residents are 'lucky' enough
to have a heated garage.
temperature is not the only thing that is diverse. the line between the
haves and have-nots is very clear. we have the rich areas of town, the
yuppie reservations as my friend calls it. these are often walled communities.
when i lived in wolseley i used to walk to a diner to get breakfast for
$2.00. it was a bi-weekly treat and allowed my friends and i to eat something
we did not have to cook. the intersection of wolseley avenue and sherbrook
avenue is interesting. if you walk one block west, you are in wolseley.
people call this the granola belt and it seems to be full of hippies and
students. if you walk one block north, you are in west broadway. there
are a lot of low cost apartment blocks and homes. if you walk one block
to the south, you are in 'the gates' which is an area of town with giant
houses and properties. even more startling is the atmosphere walking around
the three neighbourhoods.
i used to go walk through the gates to get to the river, to climb up on
a tree and read in the summer. even when it was a beautiful day, you rarely
saw people outside of their homes. people would drive their cars into
their garage. the homes appear to be islands with enormous properties.
wolseley was postively crawling with people in the summer, and it is possible
to speak for several minutes with people you do not know, brought together
by circumstance at a bus stop or waiting to cross a street. west broadway
is a poorer area of the city. as a result, i have noticed that the sense
of community is not as apparent to an outsider as it is in wolseley. there
is still a feel of community, however.
this contrast is apparent throughout the city, with the inner city and
the north end being the poorest areas of winnipeg. businesses are closing
down and being demolished in the centre of the city while the suburbs
continue to grow, filling up green space with more yuppie reservations.
perhaps it is this contrast that gave me my interest in local music.
music, like writing, often reflects society at the time. while some music
can simply be considered as entertainment, some artists use their songs
as their political voice. this can be intensely personal and poetic at
times. the songwriting can also express anger, frustration, and incite
others to change. at the very least, it can build a sense of community.
i can listen to my music, and sometimes the songs become more than mere
entertainment. it can become home. i understand that this sounds like
a cliche. i have felt like a drifter, but my music can make any place
feel like home. sometimes that is all that you have.
songs of a political nature that also have a personal meaning for me.
i am interested in music dealing with class structures, employment, unemployment,
poverty, disillusionment, and community. i believe that music is extremely
personal and each individual can select the songs that relate to their
own situation. i am also wary of the thin line between legal promotion
and copywright infringement. however well-meaning i may be, i do not believe
that i have the means to defend myself and my choice to share music that
i love. it is for this reason that i am being intentionally vague.
the musicians and songs of winnipeg represent bands with members in their
20s and 30s, those of my generation. the majority of the songs were released
in 2000 and later. i can relate to these songs, and to the statements
made by the musicians. this is the soundtrack for my university education.
i listened to these songs as i became painfully aware of inequality in
winnipeg. these are the songs that i listened to and quoted when i went
to my first protest marches... the songs that i listened to after coming
home from a call centre job to try and find some macaroni and cheese,
and as i began to get sick a lot. i was not the only one. my friends were
also working in the youth job ghetto - often unskilled service jobs in
retail, food services, call centres - at or near the minimum wage. some
of us have degrees! even when you work full time, you are still below
the poverty line. i can say that i understand the term 'working poor.'
when i was writing this i had to access a food bank for the first time.
i feel that there is no better place to write about this than in here.
i have been on the edge of needing extra help for a while, now. i was
just paid $368 for two weeks. $200 goes to rent [every pay day], $100
goes to paying for school [every pay day] - the only reason i could even
go was because of a payment arrangement. this leaves $68. okay... what
do i need to do with $68? i need to spend that on transportation so i
can just get to work and to school. that is a minimum of $52. i have been
running out of pennies to put in baggies for bus fare... actually i had
been 'borrowing' that money from my roommate. he gave me permission. i
now have $16 for everything else. i have been running out of shampoo and
deodorant, i need to feed my cat and i need to feed myself. last month
my food budget was $24.
i gave in, and i called winnipeg harvest [www.winnipegharvest.org].
most of this information was obtained from their website. they have an
emergency food program, and this will provide an individual with a 'food
kit' that will supply you with donated food and last about 2 or 3 days.
i waited on hold for a long time. the organization is staffed by volunteers,
and according to their website they make 500 food bank appointments every
"Each month, 36,871 people access food through Winnipeg Harvest."
while waiting on hold for 20 minutes i felt absolutely humiliated. i was
why should i need to do this? i am employed. i have a job that is above
the minimum wage in manitoba. i work four 8 hour shifts a week...
apparently i am not alone.
of their clients [from the website]:
54.5% are female
40% are single people
94% are canadian citizens
19% are or had attended university or college
8% of adults needing food assistance had completed college or university
16.5% work full or part-time or are collecting employment insurance
44.7% go without food at least once a month
the volunteer i spoke with was very nice and he did not make me feel bad
about having to do this. i did not feel judged. i had an appointment for
the next day, although this involved having to go to a completely different
area of the city. for an appointment in my area, i would have had to wait
i still have hope knowing that this is temporary. in the spring and summer,
once i am done school, i plan to have both a full time and part time job.
i don't think i will be going back to school... certainly not until i
can be assured that school is paid for in advance and i know that i can
at least meet my basic needs for the year. i may be waiting a while. it
is hard to save up when you do not have a lot of disposable income.
so i spend my days with my music. i create a soundtrack, and all of the
music is a representation of my life - both good and bad. political music
is an inspiration. i understand that i am not alone, there are other people
who can see what i see every day. some are angry. some provide solutions.
still others are hopeful, or simply create a sense of community.