Thursday, September 30, 2004

canlit canlit canlit

So produces three pretty interesting lists: 50 Essential Canadian Reads, the Honourable Mentions list, and even the stuff that [amazon] wishes was back in print.

Tinka's been blogging about Danish canon formation as of late, which has kept the idea of Canadian canon formation tumbling through my mind. For my research/theory course, I have to present a "research problem" and provide a concise, introductory discussion for it as well as an extended bibliography of what's been written about the subject, and I'm really starting to think that Canadian canon formation may be the way to go. (Second choice will be attempting to throw my hat into the "Is Canada Postcolonial?" ring.) The lists that I've linked to above are only the beginning of why I want to write about canon; and it would likely touch a great deal on cultural politics.

The top 50 list above isn't a great example, though--it lists dictionaries, and other "non-literary" it isn't quite canon-oriented, though it tries. It also chooses some phenomenally poor works--Brian Moore's Blackrobe, for example, is poorly written, and hardly essential reading. (Anyone connected with THSWSNBN knows of the other reasons why I hate this book so much--but one can hate books and still believe in reading them...)

Canada's colonial, postcolonial, and neocolonial nature also auger some interesting concerns when it comes to canon formation. If you assume that Canada has an existing canon, it can reasonably be assumed to be a Eurocentric canon...which means, of course, we should be looking at canonical re-formation.

This week's theory class deals with the peformance of racial identity, and in order to tie it in with my discussion of Canada and canon formation, I give you The E. Pauline Johnson Archive, Representative Poetry Online's Emily Pauline Johnson page, and her Gallery of Poets page.

Johnson, also known as Tekahionwake, was a very famous woman in the late 19th/early 20th centuries for her performances of poetry. She would often dress in full "Indian" costume (including a scalp attached to her waist, and a skirt "with silver ornaments, hammered from coins by the native silversmiths of her tribe, four of them being made from brooches plundered at the extermination of the Huron tribe and the twenty Jesuit fathers, under whose influence they had come") before changing into the proper clothing of a Victorian lady for the second half of her performance.

More meanderings on this subject once I've actually read the articles in question.

I am a tool of the establishment

So, after i have posted about clothing and its relationship to the life of the academic, I sit here at this computer and suddenly the realization that the sweater that I'm wearing is ON BACKWARDS besets me.

Please send help, as I am now clearly no longer capable of dressing myself in the morning.

I should probably go eat lunch, and buy books.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

straittohell is CUT

Once upon a time, my mum threatened to put me on What Not To Wear as I apparently commit several fashion crimes on a daily basis, not the least of which is wearing predominantly blue clothing and/or clothing in dark, sombre colours. This may help to explain why I am drawn to academia--it isn't my love of English, after all, it's the clothes.

The weekend was wonderful, though I must state that King Arthur's craptacularity exceeded even my own expectations of such; but spending time with people again was a very good thing for me. Straittohell and I did the T.O. thing, followed by the Goo thing (interspersed with a bus losing its transmission and me being late for class on the way back from the t-dot as a result)...which brings us to the reason why Straittohell is cut.

We were talking about something, he made an off-topic comment, and followed it up with, "I'll just put that in the parking lot."

Jeebus, Mary and Joseph. See, Strait (snerg) is currently employed by the government of Ontario. The Parking Lot is this insidious concept developed by the government to refocus or redirect their meetings; insomuch that whenever someone starts talking about superfluous things, the meeting's chair will put that train of thought into "the parking lot" where it can be come back to at the end of the meeting, if there's time. And it's the government, so really, there never is.

Having worked for the government for the last five summers, I've experienced my fair share of the parking lot in training sessions, and I must say that it's a term that I absolutely loathe. I don't loathe the idea, perse, just the term. it sounds so...grade three, I think.

We found a jukebox that would play Crowded House for us, though, and that made it all better.

Thursday, September 23, 2004


So it turns out that I am not actually sick in the way I feared (strep throat), but rather I have a very enlarged lymph node that is pressing on my throat and part of my ear canal, thereby making everything extremely sore. Since the cause is likely viral, there isn't much I can do for it, other than pop ibuprofen like they are candy.

You mean to say they are not candy?

I teach in fourteen minutes and three floors up, so this will be quite short, and it is unlikely that I will be around this weekend, owing to the visitor. Today I am teaching the wonderful world of thesis statements, wish me luck.

Greg called from England yesterday, which was quite possibly the best thing to happen to me in quite some time. He is doing well, and will be home (to other London) for Christmas, so I may see him for the first time in nearly two years.

much debauchery to be had next week, as straittohell makes his way to the t-dot. I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

lying in the depths of your imagination

This makes me crazy happy. Timeline of Fictional Historical Events, how my heart has yearned for thee. Via Esther and Tinka.

Long day at school, this is. Class starts in a few minutes. I thought briefly I had something relative to blog about, but it is appearing more and more that I do not.

I have almost finished knitting my second hat. Hurray.

I need to spend more time with music.

Monday, September 20, 2004

halls cough drops=the breakfast of champions

Just a few minutes before class to say that I think having no fewer than FOUR active email addresses is a bit much; and that I think I need to start some consolidation on that front.

Thanks to all who have emailed, your thoughts have been appreciated.

I got my feminist groove thing on again; one of this week's articles dealt with that word which translates to "writing about prostitutes" and staging of the female obscene body.

This weekend, I will have a visitor, which is quite exciting. Hurray for company. The downside is, I will still have a crapload of reading to do. Ah well. Hopefully the visitor is a patient type, as I have at least two books and three theoretical articles to plough through.

Happy birthday to the three whose birthdays are tomorrow.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

blogger triumphant

Still no access at the house, so am still blogging from the school. Oh public computer rooms, how much do I hate you. Though this one *is* virtually empty.

I taught my first class today. It went reasonably well, though my throat was dry, my armpits weren't, and I spoke as though I had just hit puberty, my voice cracking all over the place. I trust that it will go better with time. The class seems evenly divided between those who took the class because they wanted to and those who are taking it because it's a degree requirement for them. We reading some Ursula K. LeGuin and some bell hooks this week, we are doing Yann Martel next week, which is pretty exciting. It's a CanCon heavy course, which I dig.

My classes themselves are going reasonably well. One of my profs is from New Zealand (!) and we are reading all sort of interesting things; the other prof is a Governor-General's Award-winning poet, among other things, and we are also reading all sort s of interesting things. Unfortunately, her course has been changed from Topics in Commonwealth/Postcolonial Literature to Topics in American Literature, but it does help to diversify my CV a bit more, I guess. I am now taking classes in two things I have never learned about before.

There is much reading to be done for next week: James Ellison's Invisible Man (clocking in at a mere 561 pages), Olive Schreiner's Life on an African Farm, and Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon; as well as whatever other theoretical stuff I have to read for the approaches to research and theory class...i think that one of reading for this week is Foucault's "Docile Bodies." Yeesh.

At least since I have no friends here, I've got a whole weekend to do it all in.

Monday, September 13, 2004

bloop bloop beep

I have Sam Roberts' "Taj Mahal" stuck in my head. Now, as some of you know, my love for Sam Roberts verges on the unholy, mostly because, well, he is just that damn good and I really can't get enough of his music. And some day, when I have my own computer and internet access in my living space, I will summarize the precise reasons why he is the best thing to happen to Can-rock since Loverboy broke up (Loverboy did break up, right?) but that is a post for another time, I suppose.

So. Class the first (of TAing) is down. My staff advisor appears to be the awesome, and apparently when you TA, you get the course books for free. There are very few things in this world that give me the inordinate amount of pleasure that is free books. Especially when one of them is a hardbacked Handbook for Writers, 3rd Canadian Edition.

Class the first of my MA career, which called Approaches to Research and Theory, takes place this afternoon, in about...four hours. It's a module-based course, and for the first one we are reading a working model of a 19th century minstrel show, and some pretty complex theory pieces, including Slavoj Zizek's The Desert of the Real which is available at and is about September 11th as spectacle. It's pretty interesting reading (especially compared to Deleuze's writings on the Rhizome) and I hope I can contribute well to a class discussion of it.

The Imaginus poster people are on campus today; I think I am off to give them money in exchange for beautiful decorations. They have prints of Le Petit Prince that I positively covet.

Saturday, September 11, 2004

dashboard confessional

So, after a week and little bit of living in Guelph, this is what I have observed:

+McLaughlin Library is what the kids these days refer to as "the awesome." (Or, they would if kids these days actually went to libraries.) It has 6 floors, 300+ computers, and a freaking Williams Coffee Pub. Oh, and a self check-out. How cool is that?
+The bus system here actually makes sense. How weird is that? It also seems to be on time.
+There are squirrels everywhere here. As my sisters will tell you, squirrels are evil.
+The recycling program here is crazy good, although confusing as heck to newcomers.
+The downtown farmers' market might be one of the best things ever.
+When you live alone, cable TV can actually be a good thing.
+This is a very pro-activism community.

Things are still going well, I think. I spent yesterday with my mom and my dad is going to be up tomorrow (for work) so I'll get to see him, which makes me quite happy.

Classes start Monday morning at 8:30 with that class that I'm teaching. wish me luck!

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

portrait of the scholar as a shadow

Thus, the Great Grad School Adventure is begun. So far so good, aside from a few minor hitches--the phone company lost the work order for my landline; I had a bit of an incident with the bathroom in my apartment (apparently I *am* a claustrophobe! who knew?) and a pesky sore throat. Living alone is hard with no outside accoutrements like telephones and emails, and I remain hopeful that some of these will reappear by the weekend at the absolute latest.

I am so frigging homesick and lonely it's not funny.

I am current in the basement of the library, chattering away on a nice computer that is nestled among the government publications. The library here is a thing of tremendous beauty...I adore it already. They also will photocopy stuff for free for the grad students, which I dig. A lot. I have a mailbox and an office...and no doubt, more to report tomorrow. :)

I miss you guys like crazy.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

you can't be twenty on Sugar Mountain

This may be the last post for a while, as I depart for U-Goo tomorrow morning, bright and early. All my usual fears have come flooding back to me, but I trust that it will be alright.

I'll be back as soon as I can; depending on how soon I can get the internet set up.