Monday, December 27, 2004

it's been a while, indeed

The holidays always take so much out of me. this one in particular has been odd. Owing to the lateness of my return home, I haven't been in much of Christmas (nor, indeed, holiday) spirit, and I haven't been sleeping well either, so the holiday has physically felt as though someone has been kicking me.

It's been an odd day here. We've been without power for 7.5 hours throughout the day--a three hour stretch this morning and then another four tonight. Mercifully I was able to escape--first to Barrie, where I purchased the gorgeous, decadent, marvelous The Museum Called Canada, by Charlotte Grey. Aside from glorying at some THSWSNBN-related information--found in Martyrs' Hall--and the Rights Auditorium, the book has made me smile quite a bit.

I also spent some $60 on yarn and such. Quite a lot of it was on sale, which made me happy, and I got more bamboo needles. I made two sock monkeys yesterday (my family's latest thing) and now am busy outfitting them in the best of knitted finery. In the spirit of the sock monkey book, I am contemplating writing stories for Alfred and Alfrieda.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

my marks are in.

And I did reasonably well, I think. Certainly better than I expected. Perhaps that PhD is not so much of a pipe dream as I have been fearing.

Home=where the heart AND the snow are

We currently have about a foot, and counting. It should apparently bring us about another six inches by tomorrow. At least we bypassed the freezing rain. I'd forgotten how much fun shovelling snow off the drive way is. Or rather, isn't--although when the whole family does it, it goes much quicker.

Unfortunately snow+poor driving conditions means no friends today. :( We saw The Series of Unfortunate Events last night, and I must say, Jude Law, you can call me any time.

Off to do a puzzle with my dad, A Hard Day's Night-style

Sunday, December 19, 2004

getting there

Finally done all my marking. I have a meeting with the prof tomorrow, one more exam to mark once I get it from Special Needs, and then I get to enter my marks on the computer, and then I'm really done, but I'll take what I can get for right now.

I got to go out for lunch, dessert, and coffee with the Mathman and his new lady friend. It's good to see old friends, and to hang out with people in my (now mostly clean) apartment. I also finished the pair of mittens I was working on, and if you are interested in my knitting capers, you can go see the end result over at Knot Again. I'm pretty happy with them, all told, although the second one's thumb is really wonky.

My dad's father usually gives us each a sum of cash for Christmas, and this is what I'm thinking about getting myself with it; kicking in a little extra on my own if need be.

Friday, December 17, 2004

questions of science

Finally, finally back in Guelph. It has been an eventful few weeks, but as i stumbled off the bus in Guelph at 7:45 a.m. on Wednesday (having caught a 1:00 a.m. bus up north) and made my way to the MacKinnon building to hand in my paper on Ethics and Motherhood in A Yellow Aster, I realized that my first semester of grad school is finally over. A sobering but uplifting thought in a lot of ways, I suppose. I am grateful for the break ahead (though I still have to proctor and mark the final for my TA class finish marking the exam for my TA class), especially as I have received mysterious Christmas cards from the cats telling me that they want me to come home. Who can say 'no to two such enterprising kitties?

I've had a few really nice days as of late. I've spent a fair bit of time in Toronto, particularly in and around Queen West, checking out the Silver Snail, Lush, and various bookstores. I've also returned to the Royal Alex to see Mamma Mia for a second time, and quite enjoyed it. When you can get 8th row Orchestra tickets for $26, there is something very right with the world.

So yesterday was the day of exam proctoring and such, which involved a LOT of walking around the room and glaring at students for two hours...surprisingly not as painful as the other exam I proctored, but then I wasn't trying to frantically write a 12 page paper. Postexam, we had an exam marking party, which was ridiculously productive--I have about 8 exams left to mark, which makes me crazy happy. Thus, I will be able to devote an appropriate amount of time to cleaning my apartment (oh, my poor bathtub) and organizing my affairs (read: wrapping presents), with a visit from everyone's favourite Mathman thrown in to boot.

I think there will be a sizable roast beast, Yorkshire pudding, mashed potatoes, and miscellaneous vegetable type dinner tonight. Mmmm...

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

verb the adjective noun

Still up north. It has been a reasonably uneventful few days, for which I am thankful, although I would have been much happier if my Topics in 19th Century paper would just bloody write itself already, because I am just not in the mood to deal with 3000 words or so today. Especially since there is so little written about New Woman stuff (er, comparatively with the rest of Victoriana, that is) and on my chosen text, A Yellow Aster in particular--it's not even bloody in print anymore. Hey Broadview, if you'd like to take a chance on a rising young scholar with absolutely no credentials and no intention of specializing in the nineteenth century, I would *love* to do an edition of A Yellow Aster for you.

Here's the Dictionary of Australian Biography entry for Iota. (She's the second one down.) Bloody hell--if she wrote 17 books, some of which, it looks, were relevant to the New Woman...and there's nothing academic done on her? Hmm...

Here's the Literary Encyclopedia's entry on the New Woman novelists.

My arm is itchy, and I really don't want to write this paper.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

if it isn't chickens, it's feathers

What a grum couple of days. (Grim+glum=grum.)

And, of course, it bloody never ends.

I'm back up north for the weekend. It's part of the static.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

oh it meant nothing to ya

I've been on a bit of a Pulp kick lately, which is funny because I really don't think I had much to do with them when they were actually making music. There's just something about "Disco 2000" that I really enjoy, I guess. I've also been on a bit of a techno kick lately as well, which is totally weird for me--but I have a friend who is introducing to me to some of the less mundane, not-so-mainstream-club-oriented stuff, and I'm surprisingly enjoying it quite a lot.

I have two papers due this week and no particular ambition to write either of them; as they are due quite soon perhaps I *ought* to pick up some of that ambition.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

RIP, Pierre Berton

Because I forgot to post this yesterday: Rest in Peace, Pierre Berton.

For the non-Canuck readership of this blog (ha ha...oh...) Berton was a popular history writer who was able to make the opacity of Canadian history presentable to the Canadian public. His work will certainly be missed. I think the first Berton that I read was either Vimy (about Canada and WWI) or The Dionne Years (about the Dionne quintuplets, and one of his best). I would have been about eleven or twelve at the time, and I think it is a testament to the man's skill that I would find those books engrossing at that age, and be able to turn to Marching As to War when writing about the Canadian war experience in a history class at university.

Apparently he was a cat lover with approximately 17 cats. (warning: it's a PDF, but it is worth it.)

I think I like what J.L. Granatstein (from the Globe and Mail article linked above)said best of all:

Mr. Berton approached history very differently from most academic historians, Prof. Granatstein said. "He chose good subjects and wrote them up in a way that people wanted to buy them. The academics, by definition, picked obscure subjects and wrote them terribly, and nobody wanted to read them. It was inevitable that there was a clash between the two."

As the decades passed, the academics looked much more favourably on Mr. Berton's work as a popular historian. "Without Pierre Berton there would scarcely be any Canadian history left," Prof. Granatstein said. "For the last 40 years he has popularized Canadian history in a way that nobody else was doing."

get a haircut and get a real job

I have a new job! I finished TAing ENGL1200 today, and got my letter of appointment to ENGL2080, which is fantastic as it is a "real" English course. (Real pretending to mean one that is based in literature; where my seminar segment is one that will be based on the texts that we are reading rather than grammar.)

And check out the booklist:
Aiken, George. Uncle Tom’s Cabin (in course package)
Austen, Jane. Pride and Prejudice. (Broadview P) *
Behn, Aphra. The Rover. (Broadview P) *
Glaspell, Susan. “Trifles” (in course pack)
Hansberry, Lorraine. Raisin in the Sun. (Spark Publishing)
James, Henry. Turn of the Screw. (Dover)
Joyce, James. “The Dead” (in course pack)
Milton, John. Selected poems (in course pack) *
Poe, Edgar Allan. “The Purloined Letter” (in course pack) *
Woolf, Virginia. A Room of One’s Own. (Broadview P) *

One of my favourite things about TAing is the free books. And after all the raving I've done lately about the prettiness of Broadview's books over at Tinka's, it's pretty exciting to know that soon I will have almost a full shelf of them. The * are to indicate stuff that I've already read, or in the case of The Rover, stuff I should have already read...damn Studies in 18th Century and Restoration...I'm excited about the Woolf, as well, I was trying to explain it to a friend the other day (specifically the Shakespeare's sister segment) and it'll be good to go over the text again.

Which reminds me, if any of you haven't seen Eileen Atkins's turn as Woolf in A Room of One's Own, you really should. Then watch The Hours to see her cameo as a flower shop owner. Such a lovely moment.

And I am, at last, all Christmas shopped out.