Thursday, December 29, 2005

this land is whose land?

As those of you who live in Canada know, the city of Toronto has been plagued in the last year by an increasing amount of gang and gun violence, which culminated in what many are terming the truly horrific: the murder of a 15 year old girl on Boxing Day.

This event presents a particularly interesting juncture for my province and even my country. Jane Creba is not, as I mentioned above, the first person to die from apparent gang violence in Toronto. A two-year old was caught in the crossfire earlier this year; gunfire erupted inside a church at a funeral. Though these crimes were reported on (and have resulted in the election issue of gun control for Paul Martin's Liberals), nothing seems to have had the impact of young, pretty Jane Creba.

There is one reason for that: She is white. The other victims, and indeed, the criminals, are not.

The issues of race and class are often hidden issues in Canada. This country prides itself on this ridiculous notion of the 'cultural mosaic' in which everyone lives their own lives and own cultures in a way which creates beautiful harmony in the whole. This is one of the worst lies that we tell ourselves, because it allows us--the dominant white, British culture in which I include myself--to avoid seeing how race and class polarize our country. The very forces of prejudice that we continually congratulate ourselves for being above are so ingrained in our lives that we don't see them.

Much like what happened in Kashechewan earlier this year, race and class find themselves at the fore of my thoughts today. I am sorry for the Creba families loss. I am sorrier for the society that has brought the young men thought to be the shooters to this point. To say that it is society's fault is an over simplification--but can we deny what choices society gave these men? Can we deny our own role in this: at best, that we ignored what happened before; at worst, that all we did was talk, and not act for change?

For the first time in my life, I am saddened to be a Canadian. Because this is my fault.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

and so happy Christmas

Happy anything else if you are celebrating that, too.

I realize posts around these parts have been scant as of late. I don't really know what to say about that, except that the last few weeks of placement and school where exceptionally full; I am still not sure how I managed to get everything done. My dad's father passed away, as well. He was 86, and had a pretty good run of it, I think, but it is still a difficult thing for all involved.

Christmas was an epic adventure this year, between balancing my mother's bizarre 11-3 shift at the hospital, running down to Toronto for dinner, and then making our way back home in some nasty driving conditions. All in all, a pretty fun day, though. I got the sewing machine I have been coveting these last few months, and a new winter jacket. (And snow pants!)

I also got the source book for the A Game of Thrones RPG. It's behemoth. I can't wait to DM a campaign.

With any luck, I will be able to return within these next few days and make some sort of year end wrap-up post about books, music, movies, and memories.

I hope that you and yours are well, Readers. Be happy.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

What remembrance really means.

Today is the anniversary of the Montreal Massacre. On the 6th of December, in 1989, Marc Lepine entered the Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal, Quebec, separated the men from the women, and began to kill the 'feminists' that he hated so much before turning the gun on himself
Please note that if I am committing suicide today ... it is not for economic reasons ... but for political reasons. For I have decided to send Ad Patres [Latin: "to the fathers"] the feminists who have ruined my life. ... The feminists always have a talent for enraging me. They want to retain the advantages of being women ... while trying to grab those of men. ... They are so opportunistic that they neglect to profit from the knowledge accumulated by men throughout the ages. They always try to misrepresent them every time they can.

Attached to the letter was a list of 19 prominent Québec women in non-traditional occupations, including the province's first woman firefighter and police captain. Beneath the list Lépine wrote: "[These women] nearly died today. The lack of time (because I started too late) has allowed these radical feminists to survive." It was, instead, dozens of ordinary women at the École Polytechnique who would bear the brunt of his fury.
(from's Case Study

This is one of the most important events in Canadian history. It is tempting to dismiss Lepine as a madman, but we should take care not to do so, because that absolves him of any personal responsibility for this. These crimes were deliberate, planned--not random acts of violence.

The CBC has impressive archives in general, but their video and radio footage of the Massacre is particularly affecting. When this happened, it was something that Canada was unprepared for it. No one wants to deal with sexism in the way that the Massacre forces us to, and that's very apparent in the footage.

Monday, November 21, 2005

what's real and going on below

I haven't written much lately. You might have noticed. Or maybe you've noticed that I have a ridiculous amount of comment spam. Guess I ought to turn on those filters.

I can't write effectively right now, so instead of doing normal stuff, I will make a list of the things I would rather do with the rest of my life than teach:
1) Write a series of mystery novels about students of English literature
2) learning to weave cloth
3) Painting houses
4) Designing Gothic jewelry
5) inventing something to make people (specifically ME) stop picking at their nails
6) Adapting Shakespeare for different audiences
7) Pro-tour of Magic: the Gathering

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

celebrity culture

The Squidge takes any number of interesting courses for her degree, and she is currently in a Gender, Representation, and the Media course that she has to talk about alternative media for, so she's asked me to write a little piece analyzing celebrity blogging. To be honest, this isn't something I've thought about a great deal, but it does tie into a number of things I have thought about frequently, so I'll try to keep this organized and pithy.
1) Why do celebrities blog? I think they blog for the reasons that most of us blog, because it's interesting, it's self-actualizing, it's fun, and it gives us written records of stuff. It's also trendy. For celebrities as well, it helps to keep them 'in touch' with their fans. I don't read a lot of celebrity blogs (though you can bet if Neil Finn was writing one I would not only be reading, but memorizing and possibly having pieces tattooed variously about my body) but part of the goal does seem to be direct communication with the people who care about you. Possibly it also implies a degree of intelligence because, well, blogging is a written medium and it can be hard to hide your stupidity when you're your own editor.
2) Why do we care that celebrities blog? We're interested in celebrity culture. It's not just "oh, she's an incredibly talented actress/ he has an amazing voice/ she's a great soccer player," it's "she's an incredibly talented actress, I want to know every detail of her life". There are a number of possible theories I have about this. The first is the scopophilia angle. I know that scopophilia is really about looking and is maybe more applicable to our relationship with celebrity pictures, but blogging is visual in that it's written, and you do have to look at it to understand it. We like knowing about celebrities because of what it does to us: it gives us someone to look up to, or it gives us someone to look down upon. Either way, we are the lookers, ergo we are powerful. Observing celebrity life and celebrity culture in this way keeps us in control: celebrities only matter as long as we say they do, as long as we keep looking at them. Blogging becomes another way to engage our interest.
3) Celebrity culture has spawned the really weird offshoot of celebrity political culture, where celebrities attempt to transgress the boundaries of the all-important scopophilial relationship by actually using their "power" for good. (Keep in mind that their power only exists because we care. If we weren't looking at them being political, we'd be watching something else.) Using their power in this way is often coded in the language of the visual--"drawing our attention to", "making people look beyond their own backyard" etc. Politically involved celebrities make us feel good about ourselves. "I was really proud of Kanye West for saying that George Bush doesn't care about black people, he really cut through the bullshit." Because he said that, I feel proud--proud that I like a celebrity who had the guts to say something like that.

Ultimately, celebrity culture becomes actualizing for us; in the mundanity of "real" life we are able to live vicariously through our matinee idols.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

that was by far the best time that we ever had

A busy week for the academia nuts, who are are no longer so much oriented to academe as they are currently enrolled in a professional school. This is a small difference, though, mostly in terms of what happens right now. Once I am finished being schooled, there is enormous potential to take the academic world of education by storm.

Project Blog was presented on Monday. I am not sure that the presentation went well, as it has disappeared into that hazy part of my brain that deals with presentations--I seldom remember them after the fact; but that is not the point--the ideas are now out there.

Last night, I took back the night along with about one hundred other people from the University and the community. It was a wonderful night for it--cool and crisp without being too much so. The Squidge wrote a poem for the reception. I am very glad that I went, and more glad that I will be back for the candlelight vigil on the 6th of December, for the anniversary of the Montreal massacre.

Mostly I'm glad that I can finally be involved in these things; that I know now why it is important to be.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

more david bowie in my head

Having thus returned to North Bay Rock City, I find myself anticipating this deluge of homework...but at the same time I'm not entirely convinced that it's going to come. Be that as it may, it is good to be back here. North Bay in fall is a very beautiful place...and right now it's exactly the kind of fall that I like: crisp and cool. I like winter a lot too. Perhaps I am a northern girl at heart.

My birthday is in eight days; I am hoping a copy of Atwood's new book, The Penelopiad might find its way to me. My mother is usually pretty realiable for that; Dad likes to buy me Atwood paperbacks at garage sales. Or, if worst comes to worst, it'll hit the best sellers' list soon and then it'll be less expensive. I gifted myself with Michael Cunningham's Speciman Days a few days ago, after everyone's musings about it. And November 8th is George R. R. Martin's A Feast of Crows, for everyone's favourite fantasy not-quite-filler.

As I have been writing this, the day has changed from the cool crisp fall that I apparently love to snow. And quite a lot of it, from the looks of things.

Friday, October 14, 2005

poetry is not the opiate of the masses

I wound up talking about music and poetry with some of my students during class yesterday. I surprised myself by admitting that I do write poetry. Apparently, to those who are some seven years younger than myself, I look like a poet, or at least someone who writes poetry. I am pleased to know that teenagers listen to, variously, Tom Waits, the Postal Service, Elliott Smith, Leonard Cohen, and the Mars Volta.

So during my prep period, I was helping the youngest skylark with an English paper on our old friend Mr. Rex, and one of the students came up to me, holding a book of poetry. I hadn't heard of the author (John Hicks?) and asked the student what he knew about him. He admitted to having just picked up the book, but added, "I've read, you know, Robert Frost and Leonard Cohen before." He paused. "And there's a feminist anthology back there that's pretty good."

Such earnestness!

The upshot of all this is that I may attempt to put together an anthology of student poems. We did one when I was sixteen, and I know it's in the library at the school somewhere. The few students I talked to in the library seemed pretty interested...

easy like a sunday morning

I worry a lot about whether I will be a good teacher. Variously, this tends to drive my boyfriend crazy, as he tends to think that I am worrying a lot about things that are beyond my control. (This is entirely likely.) He may feel differently when he steps in front of a classroom next year—or, perhaps, when he steps into a university classroom and faces the 800 things that he has to hold in his head simultaneously that relate to teaching. And all this before he even gets close to the subject matter that he’ll be teaching.

I understand that this will get easier for me; that at some point the balancing act becomes seamless and invisible even to the user. But right now it seems like it’s all I can do to keep from being crushed by that. It’s hard to explain to someone who isn’t living this life right now…perhaps I ought to do semiotic or deconstructionist analyses of some of the legislature and documents that surround what I’m doing right now. I think it would make more sense then.

I’ve taught three lessons this week. The grade ten history class has gone pretty well so far; I will be showcasing my sweet PowerPoint skills tomorrow. The World Religions class is chatty as all get out, and I think I am the most afraid of teaching that class.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

mount pleasant

I spent a good portion of yesterday in Toronto, on Mount Pleasant Road. Now, those of you in the Crowded House loop know what I'm refering to...and I know that tecchnically the Finn reference is Mount Pleasant Street (rather than Road) but this still amused me (and mon pere) to no end. We were up in the 600s, but I have been down to the far end and i am very sad to report that there is no #57.

We went to the wedding of a cousin on Dad's side, which was interesting, as we don't really know that side of the family all that well. The ceremony and bride were beautiful, and the food was quite was a Catholic wedding, though, which brought out the gender equalicists in my family.

It's back to Toronto today for turkey at one of the sister-aunts' and then I can spend all day tomorrow getting ready to teach my first lessons.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

a past we've been passed out of...

I won't say where this came from, but I was pretty bored last night, so I did some digging. There was something specific I was hoping to find, but it didn't turn up. What did turn up, however, looks a little something like this:

Name: fineskylark
Nicknames: Snail, that girl who likes Sloan
Usually Seen: ranting about something that no one cares about; wearing colourful vintage choes; playing euchre in the caf; quoting obscure songs; making up crazy plans for eternal happiness
Favourite Memories: meeting (and being touched by) Matt Murphy; endless card games in the caf; France and the 'peg; perogies; slurpees; Lauren and the cornfield; cruisin' Essa Road with Jewels in the Beamer singing Cheap Trick's I Want You To Want Me; Neil Young at Molson park; being that freaky 80s girl every year on retro day; Jouvence; falling down the stairs at the Juno Awards; being on the Jumbotron; camping in the fields; the rain, the tears and tea in the morning; Sloan at the Palais Royale; having people mock my locker and my Star Wars pencil case.
Future Plans: Nipissing as an Honours Arts English major and then my B.Ed.; or meeting a guy in a band and embarking on a glorious career of being my generation's Linda McCartney; or finally finding financing for my movies and becoming a promising screenwriter and director.
Probable Fate: becoming an embittered French teacher and spending the rest of my life teaching the subjonctif to a bunch of kids who don't care.


The above information actually appears in this year's [2000] yearbook as my grad write-up.

Here's a little more information about me:
I'm 18.
I'm an OAC student, and future English major at Nipissing University in North Bay, Ontario
I have red hair and grey eyes.
I'm a rock and roll kind of girl, but I also like punk and folk, and alt. Country
Some of my favourite bands and artists include: Sloan, the Beatles, R.E.M., Fleetwood Mac (natch!), Elliott Smith, U2, Crowded House, KISS, Rufus Wainwright, Paddy Casey, Blue Rodeo, Joni Mitchell, Sarah McLachlan, the Guess Who, Wilco, the Pretenders, the Clash, Neil Young and the Flashing Lights, plus more whom I've forgotten to list.
I belong to Girl Guides of Canada, Students Acting for Global Equality, the Students' Commission and the Society for the Normally Challenged.
I'm the editor of the yearbook and vice-president of the Writers' Club
my favourite colour is blue.
my favourite Beatle is George, and my favourite New Kid is Ringo.
I play guitar badly and sing even worse, but I play both flute and recorder passibly.
my favourite piece of classical music is Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf; or some Tchaikovksy
I'm a big fan of the James Bond movies and books.
my favourite movies are the Star Wars Trilogy+1, Trainspotting, Shallow Grave, American Beauty, Life is Beautiful and the Watcher in the Woods.
my favourite foods include steak, potatoes, raspberries, green beans, feta cheese and tacos
I've lived in France, Ontario and Winnipeg
I'm fluent in French and passable in pig latin
I have a dystopia obsession and I've read The Handmaid's Tale (Margaret Atwood); The Chrysalids (John Wyndham); 1984 (George Orwell); Walden Two (Skinner); Brave New World (Aldous Huxley); and Utopia (sir Thomas Moore)
I have 4 cats-Jasper (Jazz Purr), Kinsey (Kibben the Hutt), Padmé (Wicky-Wack) and Minou (Mini-nou)
I have an industrial strength ego.


This was me at 18. Five, almost six years ago. Maybe next post I'll tell you what I can remember now.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

morning has

School marches on this week. It's my last week of classes before I head back to my parents' house for two weeks of practice teaching. As much as it'll be good to be home (as there is much afoot in the Skylark household at the moment, and I'd like to be able to stem the tide of the chaos at least a little bit) I will miss the North Bay. As always. It's hard to describe the hold that this place has on me, sometimes. Certainly, the BEd program is FULL of people who wouldn't understand it.

It has been a busy couple of weeks here. I don't think that I have really done much, per se, although I did go for a sweet 14-km. hike in the back woods of Northern Ontario. I have also leveled my orc hunter up to 20 in World of Warcraft.

I'm getting excited about blogging again, and how it can be applied to educational contexts, so I'm devloping a couple of learning modules that combine blog technology with Reader Response Theory. It's nice to be excited again about something...even if it is just making fourteen year olds critically literate.

Everything is coming up feminist lately--North Bay is a city with a large French population and a large Catholic population, which translates to a wickedly militant Right To Life movement. They've taken to protesting at the bottom of the hill, with a large billboard of what appears to be an aborted, bloody, nearly full-term fetus. It's pretty graphic, and disturbing. I'd also like to note that that type of abortion is not legal in Canada. Not sure how I feel about this...

On a more cheerful note, the CBC ended their lockout of employees after seven long weeks.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

on the nature of feminism

Over at Bookish, Kristen Marie has some really interesting things to say. Granted, I tend to have a lot of conversations about feminism, what with the Gender Equality and Social Justice major that I have for a sister, but there are some aspects of them that never get old.

Cait (who would like me to tell you that she responds to Kristen Marie by saying "Feminism is the radical idea that women are people too.") recently bought me a button reading "This is what a feminist looks like." It sits on my backpack, and surprisingly, I haven't gotten a lot of flack about wearing a button like that. For me to wear that button is more declarative than I usually like to be, but it's important to me now in ways that I never imagined it would be. I know that especially once I start teaching, it's something I will be called on to defend again and again...but I'm okay with that.

Because feminism is important to me. It's important to me to show people that there is more to feminism than "angry, bra burning dykes" (though if that's the feminism people want, let them have it): feminism, to me, is tied to basic human rights, to debate, argument, contradiction, and realizing things on a personal level. How's that for vague? It's all true, though.

(As a side note, I should add that the feminism button is beside a keychain with a rubber chicken attached. Only a few of the feminists I know look like rubber chickens.)

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

this scar is a fleck on my porcelaine skin

I have a confession to make. I--I--haven't been listening to a lot of music lately.

It's like my whole world has come to an end.

There's been a lot of music in my head, if by a lot of music I mean "two songs by the postal service, a couple by stars, and the theme to Clone High." Frankly, it sucks. Don't get me wrong...I like both bands. But what happened to my music?

It's a lot of stuff, I guess. I don't have a CD player, or a tape player right now. I don't have the bulk of my CD collection in North Bay. I can't put filesharing software on the Major.

I miss music. Anyone care to give me some recommendations?

Saturday, September 24, 2005

unchained harmony

Last night and this morning, despite the cold/flu/sinus infection, I played baseball with my section. I skipped one game last night to come home and sleep, and I do feel somewhat better today...but not much. We played reasonably well, for the most part, though most of the other teams played better. I managed to bounce a ball off my glove onto my face, which hurt like you wouldn't believe, and still feels kinda weird.

Back home now, I am off to sleep. I hope.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

I heard he sang a good song

I've had bits of various Karaoke Revolution songs running thorugh my head as of late, which is I suppose is a nice change after x-number of days of The Postal Service...except not really, because The Fugees just aren't my thing, so much.

No clone High for me yet, nowhere in North Bay ordered it on time...the only good thing is that they will be selling it for a low price when it does get here.

This sickness thing is totally kicking my ass (as is the laptop keyboard) and I want nothing more than to go home and to bed. But I can't...not for another 2 hours. Stupid library orientation...orientation to a library I already know how to use.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

let me tell you 'bout the way she looked...

Colour me happy: Clone High is currently number one on's Hot 100 DVD Sales list. Not bad for a little show that ran for one, thirteen episode season and then was cancelled. I can't wait to buy it. Also, I recommend it to everyone who likes a) things that are funny, b) dead people, and c) JFK accents.

I have a wonderful head cold at the moment--wonderful to the point where I've started to develop a "man voice" according to my boy because my throat hurts so much. But, there is no time, and no room, for missteps of sickness this year.

Monday, September 19, 2005

odds, sods, and dirty bits

If you're in need of a laugh on this particularly bleak Monday, may I recommend to you the minutes (if not hours) of fun that is Chubby Productions. It's run by Bryan, a casual acquaintance of mine from around Midland way, (who once starred as Margaret Atwood in a play I wrote, if you can imagine that, and was absolutely luminous). For the first time viewer, I would recommend Poetry by Brendan (who is a good friend of mine, and likely the most talented writer I will ever know) called The Cool Lagoon. If you like what Brendan has done, I should point out that he will be published in an upcoming issue of Grain, and that you can find his music project Vampire Killars online. He is the Slampire Thrillar, yo.

it's a karaoke revolution!

Monday morning may not be my best time, at least not this week. I have a small headcold, which at this point is more inconvenient than anything, but at least my nose has stopped running. For now. Today I am at the school for nine hours, I think, only six of which will be spent in class. I am definitely going to bed early tonight.

I had a pretty good weekend. My boys came over from Sudbury to do all kinds of crazy stuff, which amounted to one night of crazy stuff (split between the Wall and Fionn's) and one night of relaxing stuff, consisting of watching movies in our pyjamas. I love the boys--one brought me candy, the DVD of Classic Albums' Rumours episode, and a boatload of books for a girl who only had two. the other brought Karaoke Revolution 3 and introduced me to the hilarity of Amazon Women on the Moon.

Karaoke Revolution is the craziest stuff ever. It's sort of the same idea as Dance Dance, except that you are singing instead of dancing, and the game measures you on your ability to match tone. All in all, a pretty good time, right? Then you have to add in the songs that they choose...Wham's Careless Whisper, guys! Wham! Featuring George Michael, featuring you! Also: Phil Collins's Against All Odds! (Really loving the Postal Service's cover of it, too.)

Not too much else is new in in Rhi's world, except to note that Clone High (!) comes out on DVD tomorrow, and I am mega-excited for that. Also, where does one draw the line with a prof who chooses to teach and control through humiliation? Is it worth it to make a complaint, or is that only drawing unnecessary fire in my direction?

These are the things I ponder.

Monday, September 12, 2005

monday, monday

Six hours of class today, but I'm at the school for nine. The three hour break is a tricky deal--travel time between the school and my house runs me about an hour (only because of the bus system, mind) and sometimes being home for two hours just doesn't seem convenient. so instead, I will stay at school and maybe play WoW for a bit. Or, you know, do my homework so I can actually do something tonight.

English class this morning--senior and intermediate classes. There is a box on one of the tables that has Robertson Davies's The Manticore in it, and that excites me to no end. I should really read those books again--if I went on Canada Reads, Fifth Business is probably the book I would champion. Well, that or Margaret Laurence's The Diviners.

I'd love to do Timothy Findley's Headhunter, but the idea is to propose a book all Canadians should read, and I don't know that most Canadians could handle Headhunter. How's that for a tangent? I guess I should start behaving like a proper student now.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

where we belong

Having finished my week of placement, I find myself back in North Bay Rock City. I finished moving in this morning; my room is pretty much set. While it is the smallest room I've had since that first year in residence, it's still a pretty sweet setup, with the laptop and the new laser printer I got for $149 from the future Shop. Hurray for the laser printer/scanner/copier, which will undoubtedly make my life much, much easier this year, and be more cost effective than my stupid inkjet.

After much encouragement from the boys, I finally bought into World of Warcraft, and I've gotta say, it is a pretty good time. I am playing a female hunter Orc. I'm only level 8 at the moment, but I imagine that will change. The whole MMORPG thing is really new to me; if I felt more academic at the moment, there is easily a book's worth of material to be written about them as a video game genre. Because it's me, the book would probably be mostly about representations of gender.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

the first day of the rest of my life?

Today was my first day of school as a "pre-service teacher" (Nipissing's term; I much prefer "apprentice teacher"). It was decidedly busy yet simultaneously empty day. I am only in the class until the end of this week, then at Nipissing for four weeks, and so on until the end of this semester. I did, however, luck out in a number of significant ways. I will be teaching three classes: grade ten Canadian History (20th Century), grade eleven World Religions, and grade twelve Canadian and International Law. The World Religions class should be marvelous--I am already plotting ways to show Python's The Meaning of Life as part of the course, though I suppose that it may be too risque for even the public school board.

IIn some ways doing my placement at 'my' school may have been a mistake. I know the school too well; I can think of stupid teenage things I did at the school (or, more often, watched my friends do). Many of the older staff members taught me once upon a time; some of the younger were my classmates and even my babysitters, once. The students I am teaching are the siblings of my classmates, and the friends of my siblings. There are some I have known since they were four and five years old. How odd it is that they are now all grown up.

It is an interesting political climate to be getting into, as well. The school is about 200 students over its capacity, and has enough teachers for about 75% of that population. Many of the students have been unable to get the classes they wanted to take, taking instead whatever they can to fill their timetables. And yet there is a certain magic to it--the school has always been more than the sum of its parts.

Tonight it will be wings at Cellarman's with the lovely Mila. I've scarcely seen her this summer, what with her behaving like a mature adult and getting a real job. It should be grand. I'm tempted to make her see The Constant Gardener with me; it is exactly her type of movie, and for my part, I enjoyed it much more than I had anticipated. It is, in many ways, a devastating movie to watch...which makes watching it all the more important.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

lesson the first: reading directions carefully

When teaching exam preparation last year at Guelph, one of the things that I emphasized to my students was the importance of reading directions over carefully and determining exactly what the question was asking. I even had a really good example to go along with it:

During her literacy testing, my youngest sister (sorry, Ais) wrote a short essay that answered the question "Why Should Canada Join the US?" When she had finished writing, she went back to the start and realized that the question actually read "Should Canada Join the US?" and that she had just written an essay decrying Canada as a nation and would probably fail and be marked by the RCMP for being a bad patriot.**

In the end, she did pass, but it could have been much worse.

So to relate the anecdote back to myself...I came to school on the 7:30 bus, thiking that I would have a nice morning of relaxation before starting school at apparently starts at 9. I could have slept in! Off to class.

**the RCMP doesn't do this anymore. I don't think.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

school days

I am currently making some changes to the way that the blogging happens over here at Academia Nuts, but it is slow going as I get used to my brand new laptop, henceforth known as the Major, after the Ghost In The Shell. Hoopefully stuff will get done soon, and I will adjust to the Major's keyboard overtime.

It was a long day at school today. I bought all but three of my books, and it cost me under 150$, which is quite impressive. I've flipped through the ones for my english elective courses, and they focus a lot on using Reader Response (or, as Mark Lipton would say, Reader Oriented) theories to teach texts to high school students. It is intriguing, to say the least.

I will post more later--right now, I need a nap.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

a note

Why, yes, it is 6:20 in the morning. I love my life.

I'm actually jetting off to Prince Edward Island today for a brief adventure before school starts up for me on the 30th. Prince Edward Island is a lovely place: it is the birthplace of Canada's confederation, despite not actually joining the union itself for another few years (1870, if I remember correctly).

It is also the home of Anne of Green Gables, and most of Lucy Maud Montgomery's other charming, plucky heroines. The whole island is Anne-crazy (ie, you can buy Anne of Green Gables chips) and it is amazing to see how the stories become not only commodified but also sustainable industry.

Anyhow, if you want a postcard (specify Anne or non-Anne), just send a note on my way with your address.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005


Today I found a very old, faded, and, well, laundered $5 bil in my pants pocket. Things have to be looking up.

Monday, August 15, 2005

anarchy for sale

So, as the Writer points out, I lied and didn't update yesterday. To be fair, I was busy moving my junk out of my apartment in Guelph (it has now taken over my poor parents' house here), and going to see The Skeleton Key.

So. As mentioned, the thesis is done. I feel better than I have felt in months--it's no longer festering somewhere in the back of my mind, quietly disapproving when I didn't work on it, and loudly proclaiming my inadequacy when I did. This means that I get today to myself, as well: I get to clean my room, do laundry, pay bills, apply for new student loans, unpack some of my stuff from a trailer, do some role playing, possibly knit and make some jewelry. It should be marvelous.

Seven more days of work left. Once work is done, I am jetting off to Prince Edward Island for five days, before making my triumphant return to North Bay to learn how edumacate other people, and pick up a spiffy new laptop. This is pretty exciting. I also have been hired by the university to be the Lead Technology Assistant for my class...helping people with their computer problems=good times.

I will write more later, but right now I should go be a productive member of my family.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

missing book

If you were a copy of Bertolt Brecht's The Art of Living Together: Poems on Theatre that had a very delicate (some would say pamphlet-like) nature, and I had put you somewhere to keep you safe...where would you be?

a real, live, honest-to-goodness update

I just finished the third and final draft of my summer paper, and emailed it away. I am not sure whether to celebrate or throw up. I can't believe that I am done--oh god, I hope it's good enough.

I would write more but I have to go track down all my errant library books.

I will write more tomorrow. I swear.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

broken glass

I can't seem to win these days when it comes to updating my blog. Every time in the last few days that I've had the opportunity to, I've either crashed the browser/computer, or the power has gone out (as it did for almost two hours tonight). Prior to that, my parents' computer's hard drive went to the great Future Shop in the sky, taking the first draft of my thesis along with it. (Thank heaven and Neil Finn for back ups.)

So I rescued Cortana from Guelph this past weekend; all the better to begin a second thesis draft, right? Right? What do you mean, I have no desire to work on it? Temperatures here have been incredibly hot these past few weeks. While the heat has not bothered me as much this year (perhaps because I am not under the weight of ten pounds of wool clothing), I fully accept that at my heart, I am a winter person.

I have had many discussions on the nature of patriotism lately; this excites me to no end. I think my thesis has the potential to be something I'm quite proud of, but likely will not end up quite there. For someone as concerned with discourses of nationalism as I am (particularly in terms of cultural and postcolonialism discourses), I am very much an unabashed and unashamed patriot; I find myself buying into the propaganda of Heritage Canada, often in ways that I can recognize as ridiculous. For example, a new brewery (Robert Simpson Brewing Company) has opened in Barrie, and one of its initial offerings is a Confederation Ale. This makes me happy to no end, for no real reason, other than that it celebrates the initial union of Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick into the Dominion of Canada. Granted, it would be an even better product if it were Confederation Scotch, but that's really neither here nor there.

Finally, on a Canadian note, here are two celebrity blogs to look at: Rick Mercer (one of the best written and spoken Canadians I know of), and the BareNaked Ladies' blog.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

shopping lists

The first draft of my thesis is due tomorrow. I am eminently not prepared for such an event, and will, accordingly, spend the entire day tap-tap-tapping away here at the computer in hopes of pulling together that at least makes it appear that I have tried. My supervisor has told me that a first draft is expected to be quite rough in content and form, but I am still nervous. Why, why, why did I think that doing live research would be a good idea?

The wee-est of the three sisters embarks upon the path of the sisters today: Ais is on her way to Saint-Boniface, which is the French quarter of Winnipeg, for the next five weeks in an effort to learn to speak French. Godspeed to her, the little doodle. There is no doubt in my mind that she will have fun; it has been seven years now since my own summer there, and I'd really like to get back if I can. Winnipeg is an awesome city.

Watching the Live 8 business yesterday was quite interesting. The Canadian concert took place in Barrie, which is a scant 26 km. away from here, but what with the working and the tickets being sold out, we were unable to go. We did, however, watch a good chunk of it on TV; I particularly enjoyed how everyone at other Live 8 concerts (as well as many of the international performers in Canada) kept refering to Barrie as Toronto...I mean, there's only 100+ kilometeres difference between the two places.

All snark aside, I did enjoy seeing the Pet Shop Boys in Moscow, Gary Dourdan (Warrick from CSI) rapping with DMC in Barrie, and Neil Young's performance of Ian and Sylvia's "Four Strong Winds". There's nothing like obscure Canadian folk music from the 70s when the whole world is watching you...Actually, Four Strong Winds is a great song. (And apparently it's been covered by everyone form John Denver to Teenage Fanclub to Marianne Faithfull, so maybe it's not as obscure as I make it out to be.)

Four strong winds that blow lonely
Seven seas that run high
All these things that don’t change come what may
Now our good times are all gone
And I’m bound for movin’ on
I’ll look for you if I’m ever back this way

Sunday, June 26, 2005

where has all the blogging gone?

Well, cherished readers, if you are still around, I owe you an apology and an explanation.** This last month has been a difficult one for me, as I have been sorting out some personal and health issues, and researching and writing my not-thesis. My first draft is due next Monday, and I'm about half done right now. I've also started working again...and yes, I am at THSWSNBN, but no longer as an interpreter. I'm now the admission clerk.

To be honest, all that exposition aside, I just haven't felt like writing recently. A lot of that has to do with the personal and health issues mentioned above: there are simply somethings that don't bear writing about. There are other things for which I simply do not have the words. That said...I think I have unblocked myself, and hopefully I won't be afraid of words anymore.

If my summer research project should prove to be of interest to any of you, readers, I'll briefly describe it (though I am afraid it's got nothing on Ross's). I am looking at costumed interpretation on historic sites as a performance of nationalism; more specifically, as a performance that reflects social policy and the dominant ideology through its conception of the nation. I'm using THSWSNBN as my case study, and interviewing some of the staff, which has proved to be an interesting experience.

**Consider this a semi-official answer to the important question of "Who do you write for, when blogging?" I am writing for you.

Monday, May 30, 2005

midnight waters

It has been rather a while, hasn't it. Apologies for that; suffice to say, that there are some things in life that simply don't bear blogging about. I am also rapidly approaching my burn out point with my education at the moment, and highly suspect that no one wants to read about the disillusionment of an English student. It just wouldn't be pretty.

Things feel like they are on the upswing today, and I am going to try to keep them that way. Ain' nothing going to break my style; can't nobody hold me down. Or something.

Recap of the last little while: school, school, school, eyes checked (still worse!), Episode III (about what I thought it would be), home for a rest (yay, home), bits of working at various former jobs (yay, money!), 3 pitch softball with a team called Mantackle, and new books by Giles Blunt. Hurray for the wicked fictitious Algonquin Bay!

I've decided that one of my new projects will be to collect at least one published work from each of my professors who have published works.

Monday, May 16, 2005

confessions of a snarkaholic

I have received provisionary approval from UGoo's Research Ethics Board for my summer project, pending a few minor changes to the wording of my forms. Huzzah for that! Now if only I can find out if THSWSNBN will let me in.

I've been doing ghastly amounts of reading (even for me) these last few weeks, including, at long last, a Shopaholic book. See, by rights, I should (and generally do) have a healthy hate-on for chick lit, but enough of my friends and acquaintances read it that I occasionally feel that I should read one just in case I am missing something. (Plus, a friend of mine from school is writing a paper on the Shopaholic series and commodity fetishism, and it's fascinating, so I want to be prepared for that.)

In the end, though, I always remember (after reading something from the chick lit genre) how much I am not the novel's target audience, which greatly diminishes my relationship with the book.

Fortunately, I have lots of other reading that has been more worthwile, including Barbara Kirschblatt-Gimlett's Destination Culture: Tourism, Identity, and Commodity. It's awesome.

I still hate reality TV, too.

Monday, May 09, 2005

A Good Cause

A few days ago, I received an email from a very good friend, my darling Kristabelle. Normally, I wouldn't pass on a request for money, but this is something that is very real (I'll let Krista tell you about that part) and totally legit. Please, please donate if you can--even if it's only $5--and if you let me know through the comments or email, I'll knit you something as a thank you. Oh, and pass this along if you can, or if you know of someone else who might want to help.
Hey everyone,

This year my family (my WHOLE family) is going to participate in the Canadian
Cancer Society Relay for Life. That's right!! Dad, Meredith, Mark, Kayla,
Chad, Steve, Mitch, Aurora and I will be working as a team to participate in the
Relay. Why you ask? One simple answer: in rememberance of my mother Cheryl
Elizabeth Caldwell-Ellam.

For those of you who don't know her let me tell you a little about her so you
can understand why this is important to us.

My mother was an amazing person. She MADE me and my brothers and sister the
people we are today. She inspired us to be the people we are today. When she
looked at us she only saw our potential to greatness in this everchanging world.
My mother worked hard to ensure that we never went without. She brought us up
to care about each other and other people. My mother did not only focus on us.
When the neighbourhood skating building was condemned and torn down, my mother
got together with the other community members and raised the money to build us a
bigger and better community centre. Just for the neighbourhood kids, that was
us. My mother also came to every single softball game Kayla and I ever played
until she got sick. She never wanted to miss a game. She would cheer us on
again and again whether we won or lost. My mother also worked hard to fullfil
our life dreams. I wanted to fly a plane. My mother said yes and handed over
the money. I wanted to go to Nebraska for a drama festival. She said yes
again. I wanted to go to England. She said "Krista, I don't have the money for
that, but if you can raise it yourself I will help with everything else." And I
did so she did. She made me call her right before we left to catch our flight
and she was awake when I got home at 5 am to greet me. My mother was an amazing

We found out that my mother was sick in September 1999. I will never forget
that day. I could see the pain in her eyes as she tried to tell us that it
would be alright. They could fix her. It wasn't going to be that bad. Everyone
cried. Everyone just stopped and cried together. I just didn't know what to
do. No one did. We just sat and cried.

My mother died in August 2000. That was the saddest day in my whole life. I
never got to say goodbye. I woke up one morning to get ready for work to find
my aunt and uncle had come over, teary eyed, to tell us the horrible news. She
was dead. She was never coming back. I would never see her again. The worst
part is that I hadn't talked to her all that past week. She had been in and out
of the hospital for a variety of reasons and I was mad at her. I am sure that
it was something stupid at the time. Regardless, I am sure that my mother had
forgiven me. Mothers forgive their silly daughters unconditionally. Anyway,
that was the longest day of my life. My family gathered at my aunts house and
it seemed like I was living in a dream. We sat around and did nothing. My dad
came over. I was never so thankful to see him. He was the only support I felt
like I had at the time. My rock so to say. I just wanted to go home and go
back to bed and wake up to a beautiful day where my world kept turning like any
other 19 year old's. That was not to be. My life was changed forever. My whole
family had regrets. We all felt like we were responsible for her death. But we
didn't do anything, we didn't kill her. Cancer did, plain and simple.

So (let me just wipe the tears away from my eys), this year my family is
participating in the Canadian Cancer Society Relay for Life. We need your help
and support. I am sending you this painfully personal to ask you to donate
whatever you can so that we can raise money for cancer research. This is
important to me and to my family. So please give whatever you can.

Thanks for taking the time to read this.
Love, Krista

Click here to donate money to Krista's run.

I never got to meet Krista's mom, as Krista and I first crossed paths about a month after her death, but I have met her legacy in her four kids. My dad survived skin cancer, but not everyone is that lucky--cancer research of all kinds is incredibly important.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

sacred cows

Am at home for the next week or so, so expect updates to be sporadic--we are still a one-computer household here. Sort of. This may change when the Squidge gets home, I think.

I've been trying to relax, which has gone reasonably well so far. I've seen both Hitchhiker and the remake of the Amityville Horror, read some very bad books, as well as some really good fantasy. There has also been a lot of listening to showtunes, mostly because I went to Toronto with my mom in her new car, which is the first one that she's had with a CD player in it. Pretty exciting, all in all.

Teen Nerd Squad should also reconvene sometime this week, at a new tea house called Serendipi Tea.

Star Wars soon!

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

news bits from around the world

First, George Lucas does this. I mean, really, a TV series? Will it follow the timeline of Timothy Zahn's Heir to the Empire? Will it be interesting if there are no (or, next to none, if George will follow his own bloody universe) Jedi? Inquiring minds need to know. Let us simply hope that George will not be interested in writing or directing this himself...

Second, Germany sees some real life weird stuff happening, as their toads start to explode for no real reason. Weeeeeird.

Third, Canada's political turmoil continues, as Stephen Harper renews his vow to bring a vote of no cofidence to the House of Commons after the Liberals scrammer together a deal with the NDP. The Globe and Mail seem pissy about it, the Star calls the deal between Prime Minister Paul Martin and New Democrat leader Jack Layton "a life line", the Sun has a bunch of whining from Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty about not being consulted about the deal or the new budget, and the Post has something about Layton defending the deal. (Note: A lot of this stuff is actually Canadian Press stuff, so attributing it to each paper is not etnirely gair; however, it is interesting to note which papers are printing which articles, no?)

Off (hopefully) to see Bride and Prejudice tonight. Skylark out.

I hope I never

So I wrote this post last night, and then my internet connection timed out on me, thus preventing me from updating the poor blog.

It seems to me sometimes, that no matter where I am, what I'm doing, or how I am feeling, Neil Finn has written a song that somehow manages to encapsulate perfectly everything that I am at that moment, in words far more prefect than any I could ever choose. That's not entirely true, I suppose, but still sometimes it is easier to let the Finn do the talking. And right now, when the Finn is talking, he is talking along the lines of I Got You:
I got you - that's all I want
I won't forget - that's a whole lot
I don't go out - not now that you're in
Sometimes we shout - but that's no problem

I don't know why sometimes I get frightened
You can see my eyes, you can tell that I'm not lyin'

Saturday, April 16, 2005

patchwork girl

Apologies for my sporadic blogging behaviour as of late; I remember all too well when blogging was a tool that allowed me to procrastinate on doing work. Never did I dream that one day I would, in fact, be too busy to blog. Things have settled down quite substantially, now. No more papers, no more exams to mark, no more summer research proposal...for the time being it is all good, from San Diego to the 'hood, as someone I used to know (roommate's boyfriend from first year) would say.

I have finally linked to Ross over at randomdanglingmystery. Sometimes these things are much more difficult than they really ought to be.

Went out last night to see what Guelph Reads was all about, after drinking beer to celebrate the end of ENGL2080. It was really good; all of the panelists were quite well-spoken--especially Dionne Brand, who I could listen to all day long. T. Sher Singh impressed me the most (he championed Ishmael), along with Marva Wisdom (the National Policy Chair for the federal Liberals), who impressed me not so much for her defense of Tom King's The Truth About Stories but for her determination to help Canada realize how much attention the "native question" ought to be getting, and how important that relationship really is.

I could post another 1000+ word rant on how Canada has dealt with its aboriginal people, but I will save that for another day, and get back to spring cleaning.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Day the Mine

This is the first day I have to myself in a while, so I am to head to toronto, where I will meet the Momatron (or, as she prefers, Mommy-O) at the CBC building, and we shall adventure from there, before having supper and then seeing a musical that is not about ABBA. Should be lots of fun.

It's exam marking time around these parts. The marks aren't due til Friday, though, so it's all good. Current plans for the rest of the week: marking, summer research proposal, conference paper proposal, major spring cleaning of apartment, driving lesson.

And if I'm really good, some Baldur's Gate II.

Damn, it feels good to be a geek.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

room to breathe

I woke up at 7 this morning. It took me, as it does most mornings, about ten minutes to talk myself out of the warm, flannely bed, but once I was up, the world seemed a little more focused. (relatively speaking, I am still blind, of course).

Then I wrote a 3812 word paper. In 8 hours. It was awesome.*

I then hopped a bus to the school, slid the paper 1/2 an hour before the deadline, and ran away.

Thus endeth the last courses I may ever take in English literature. This is a pretty scary thought. I do not want to be grown up. And yet, I mailed in my tuition deposit to the Northern School just yesterday.

geeks, rejoice!

*By awesome, I mean awesomely stupid. But it's done.

Friday, April 08, 2005

guelph reads

Guelph Reads seeks to uncover books that can result in social and political change. There will be a debate next Friday about this.

more non-postage

Stolen from desbladet

You're stuck inside Fahrenheit 451, which book do you want to be?
Conrad's Heart of Darkness. Sometimes I am afraid that I am the heart of darkness. Very twee of me, but perhaps a bit real as well.

Have you ever had a crush on a fictional character?
I quite like Alex Cross, from the pulpy but lovely James Patterson series. And perhaps a bit of Horatio Hornblower as well.

The last book you bought was:
Hrm. Tori Amos's new not-quite-biography. I think it's called Piece by Piece or some such. It was a birthday present for the lovely Kristabelle. I also purchased Phillip Pullman's The Ruby in the Smoke and Leonard Cohen's Beautiful Losers for myself at the same time.

What are you currently reading?
As Des says, what aren't I reading? Various books on Python, various articles on drag, gay culture, masculinity and femininity, various blogs, Harry Potter, and the Chronicles of Narnia. And the stuff in the sidebar over there.

Five books you would take to a deserted island:
+The Riverside Shakespeare (2nd edition) [pretty plays, pretty pictures, load of critical and source material]
+the Norton Anthology of Poetry (4th edition) [pretty poems, and nearly 1500 pages of them]
+the Bible, King James Version (1611 edition) [pretty language, and I need to finish this--I keep getting stuck after the first five books]
+The Deptford Trilogy (Robertson Davies) [saints, miracles, Jungian psychoanalysis, lesbians, magicians, and Ontario Scots. Could anything be more perfect?]
+1984 (George Orwell) [So that the future society that is created from me will be wary of the dangers that may befall them.]

Who are you going to pass this stick to (3 persons) and why?
The Writer. And anyone else who wants it.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

and now for something completely indifferent

This is in lieu of a real entry, 'cause really, who wants really entries? Actually, the real entries will be forthcoming, once I gear the little rig up and move myself into academic mode. Some neat things are in the works currently, not the least of which is my decision to return to Nipissing for my Bachelor of Education. Thanks to everyone who sent notes of congratulations. I think this will end up being a leave of absense, so to speak, from academia, more than the Exit, stage right that I am sometimes afraid of. TAing this term has really made me like teaching again, so this is promising.

Holy crap, there is a spider in the keyboard. Scary! (Yes, in, not on).

Anyhow. The promised non-entry, before this one looks too much like one of my actual entries:

01. What is the total number of music files on your computer?
I think I've topped out at about 700 right now, but I haven't really counted in a while. My intense downloading days are long passed.
02. What is the last CD you bought?
Tori Amos's The Beekeeper. I'm a bit of a latecomer to the Awesomeness that is Tori, but I'm figuring stuff out.
03. What is the song you last listened to before reading this message?
I'm not sure in terms of actual stats, but the last song in my head was The Beatles' All My Loving.
04. Name the five(ish) albums that mean the most to you. (Not the 5 albums you would take to a desert island.)
i) Twice Removed (Sloan)
ii) Blue (Joni Mitchell)
iii) Recurring Dream (Crowded House) [Yes, I know it should be a real album here and not a greatest hits, but I can't tell you the number of hours spent listening to this on various roadtrips, and it went to France with me when I was fifteen.]
iv) Please Please Me (The Beatles) [Again, could have chosen Sgt. Pepper, but this album is just very me. Very young me, but very me nonetheless.]
v) We Were Born In A Flame (Sam Roberts Band)

05. Name the five songs you are listening to the most right now.

i) When You Come (Crowded House)
ii) Yer So Bad (Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers)
iii) Ain't That A Kick In the Head (Robbie Williams)
iv) The Philosophers' Beer Drinking Song (Monty Python)
v) How to Fight Loneliness (Wilco)

06. Name the first five best lyrics that come into your head.

i) "When you come to cover me with your kisses hard like armour/ the sooner the better now" (Crowded House; When You Come)
ii) "I want you to know I feel completely at ease/ you can read me like a book/ that's fallen down between your knees/ please/ let me have my way with you" (Crowded House; It's Only Natural)
iii) "To those of us who knew the pain/ Of valentines that never came/ And those whose names were never called/ When choosing sides for basketball/ It was long ago and far away/ The world was younger than today/ And dreams were all they gave for free/ To ugly duckling girls like me" (Janis Ian; At 17)
iv) "Rely a bit too heavily on alcohol and irony./ Get clobbered on by courtesy, in love with love, and lousy poetry./ And I'm leaning on a broken fence between Past and Present tense./ And I'm losing all these stupid games that I swore I'd never play." (The Weakerthans; Aside)
v) "I'm in love with the world/ through the eyes of a girl/ who's still around/ the morning after" (Elliott Smith; Say Yes)

07. Who are you going to pass this stick to (three people) and why?
Well, I stole it from The Writer. But it can be passed on to whomever.

Note the heavy Finnfluence?

Friday, April 01, 2005

back to North Bay Rock City?

According to Nipissing's webadvisor, I have been offered admission to the BEd program for next year.


Monday, March 28, 2005

one day at a time

I just finished watching Rick Mercer's Monday Report for the first time, and I've gotta say...I wasn't impressed. It's not that I think Rick should exist only in his nice little This Hour Has 22 Minutes box--Made In Canada is lovely, vicious, and delightful. I guess that it's just that I feel everything he wants to do on Monday Report was simply better when he did it on 22 Minutes. I think Mercer benefits from the group dynamic.

I think my favourite 22 Minutes moment is still the one where Marg Delahunty (Mary Walsh) goes to see Stockwell Day dressed in a wetsuit (playing on Day's recent press conference, which he arrived at on a Sea-Doo). For a reason that escapes me, she then makes a joke about wanting to bring him some milk, but not being able to because all the store had was homo milk (homogenized milk is 3.25% m.f. in Canada) which, of course, Stockwell wouldn't like, being the leader of the most conservative political party. Either that or the time that the very same Stockwell Day said that any issue brought forth to his government (if elected) via a petition with a certain number of signatures would be put to referendum. Rick Mercer proposed a referenda that would compel Stockwell to change his first name to Doris. If I remember correctly, the petition got well over a million signatures.

It's always interesting to see which politicians will participate in shows like 22 Minutes and Royal Canadian Air Farce. Even when it's someone whose politics I don't necessarily agree with, I still tend to hve a lot of respect for someone like, say, Preston Manning, who was just awesome on bits like "I Love That Word Refooooorm".

Air Farce actually has the last five or so seasons available to watch online. If you're interested, I was at the taping of this episode and this one. The Open book With Mary Walsh skit in this episode was filmed when I was there, and features Luba Goy as Margaret Atwood (she does a vicious Atwood) and Roger Abbott as Wary Walsh, dressed in her Marg Delahunty, Princess Warrior.

sad, sad, sad

There really isn't much I can say about this, except that it's quite sad, of course.

May flights of angels sing him to his rest.

Friday, March 25, 2005

here comes peter cottontail

Home for the long weekend, at last--however briefly, as am off to visit Family tomorrow, and then to return to Guelph. I have done a considerable amount of traveling these last few days, and I must say that I am growing tired of it, and I am becoming more and more hopeful that I will soon be able to just stay in Guelph for a bit.

Home is a good place, with cats and knitting and friends. I am reading a couple of new books, which makes for a pretty happy Rhi. I am not doing the homework that I ought to be doing, which also makes for a pretty happy Rhi. Unfortunately the school is open on Monday, so I have to head back. Unfortunately that means I have to finish reading The Rover, too--finally.

I have more to write but I'll save it for after the weekend.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

read me like a book

Yesterday went quite well, actually. I think--the 15 minutes in which I gave my paper have actually disappeared into a black void. I remember the question period, though--I got great questions about webcams and voyeurism, onine copyright, gendering blogspace, and how authority is established in blogs, particularly those those that deal with politics.

I've also been encouraged to think seriously about publishing what I presented, so perhaps that will be part of my summer's work. After playing video games, writing Finn: The Musical, and other such drunken debauchery.

I've been pretending to be Mr. Butlertron (from Clone High) to my sisters this morning on MSN. He gets all the best lines, Wesley.

Monday, March 21, 2005

what's the worst thing I could do?

Well, project blogger is....doing something. The printer and I are still trying to reconcile our differences; if it breaks and I have to buy a new one, I swear to...someone...that I will be a very, very unhappy Rhi.

Which is much worse than a very, very nervous Rhi, which is what I am right now. God, I hate public speaking.

time for bed

My computer is making some pretty grumpy noises as it prints out my fourth and hopefully final draft of the damned paper for the day--and of course, as I write that it decides to crap out all together. It really has some issues about printing longer documents. If only C3P0 were here to talk to it and find out if I've polarized one of the cables or something.

I am absolutely terrified of tomorrow, but I'm trying to pretend that I'm not. I hope I sleep well, but somehow I doubt it. The best part of the whole presentation is that the room we've reserved for the conference is (probably) the only room on the whole stupid campus that doesn't have a network connection in it. So instead of looking at blogs and posting to blogs, I'll be making people look at screenshots of blogs. boourns to that.

Oh well. At least I'm early enough in the morning that I will get it over with and be able to enjoy everyone else's presentations for the rest of the day.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

chained up in a lion's den

Because Ms. Bookish has asked me to, I have decided to post some snippets from the paper that I am currently writing. I have about 1300-1400 words right now. The paper is expect to have a reading time of 15 minutes, but my partner in crime and I are 'playing with the politics of authorship' and providing a joint intro to our papers that we hope will eat up about 5-7 minutes of our time, so I am trying to adjust my paper accordingly. Right now the thing is a mess, full of holes and highlighting about word choice and paragraph order and the necessity of tring to translate what is in essence a specialist paper to a paper being given to a generalist audience. We are being marked on performance rather than content, which helps, but I feel that in order for me to perform well (as I am a notoriously uneven public speaker) I have to have content that is rock solid.

"First, a few words are perhaps necessary as to why I am approaching this topic from the supposition that weblogging can and should be considered autobiography. Weblogging, or more common blogging, can assume a variety of forms. There are blogs for students, teachers, knitters, rock bands, businesses, and dogs. While I do believe that each of these examples does engage the autobiographic on some level, I will be focusing primarily on the personal weblog for the basis of my analysis. A personal blog is written by one person, and is intended to be a general reflection on that author—unlike special interest blogs, which tend to focus on the author’s relation to one specific subject. The personal blog, which can also be referred to as an online diary, becomes autobiographic because it is the writing of a life story."

I'll post more as it gets better--and feed back is *always* appreciated.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

this makes no sense

Guys, I honestly can't believe I outscored the Writer on this one. Seriously--I mean no harm by that--my parents make fun of me for how little I drink. (Though, to be fair, that has changed here in the Goo--I've been to more bars this year than I did in four years of undergrad.) I have nothing against drinking (I have a case of Corona and a few cans of Strongbow in my fridge right now)...I just usually...don't.

Speaking of alcohol, the geniuses at the LCBO delisted my favourite white wine, Piat d'Or. That makes me angry--it was such a good, cheap wine.

Bacardi 151
Congratulations! You're 139 proof, with specific scores in beer (60) , wine (100), and liquor (86).
All right. No more messing around. Your knowledge of alcohol is so high that you have drinking and getting plastered down to a science. Sure, you could get wasted drinking beer, but who needs all those trips to the bathroom? You head straight for the bar and pick up that which is most efficient.

My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:

You scored higher than 86% on proof

You scored higher than 89% on beer index

You scored higher than 94% on wine index

You scored higher than 94% on liquor index
Link: The Alcohol Knowledge Test written by hoppersplit on Ok Cupid

Friday, March 18, 2005

tanglewood days

For all those of you who care about the podiatrical excursion, my foot is only a little infected, and should heal nicely now.

I am anxiously anticipating next week; I need to go home for a bit.

no matter how bad these things can be.

For my paper on the Pythons, corss dressing and constructing masculinity and femininity, my prof suggested that I take a look at the traditions that Monty Python emerges out of, starting with British music hall and moving on to Spike Mulligan. So, I am trying to do that today (instead of working on that paper that I have to present on Monday, of course), and here are some of the interesting things I have found:

Musicals 101: Music Hall
Wikipedia Entry on Music Hall

I think what is particularly interesting (and likely because this is one of my favourite things about the Pythons) is the liminal area between high and low culture that results from music hall.

Two more hours to kill before my doctor's appointment.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

burning and exploding

Term Work Checklist Revisted:

+presentation for Politic of the Cross-Dressed Body on cloud 9, and capitalism and cross-dressing
+2 response papers for same (one on butch/femme and one on something I've forgotten)(butch/femme is done, something still forgotten)
+16 page research paper for same (topic undecided--either Monty Python or Denys Arcand's Declin de l'Empire Americain)(topic decided, it is to be on the Pythons)
+3 more response paper for Lit and Anthroone more left, and is optional
+12 page paper for same (on Jesuit Relations, commodification, and appropriation)
+research presentation on above research (initial presentation complete; follow up set for two weeks from now)
+8 page paper for colloquium on weblogging, autobiography, and the instability of identity (this happens Monday; I have not written it yet)
+online tutorial for Tri-Council policy on ethics in research involving human participants (due tomorrow)
+research proposal for research involving human participants (mock) (ditto)
+response to Meyrowitz's No Sense of Place(ditto)

+actual research proposal for summer research project
+three additional assignments, plus exam, to be marked for that class I TA. (Only two more now)

And just like that, it suddenly all seems that much more manageable. I bought myself a new shirt for the colloquium, to be worn with my suit. I tried on my suit pants this morning, and as I have lost about 25 lbs. since I bought them, it was *not* a pretty site. I have the matching skirt, as well, and it doesn't look bad, so I will still be quite stylishly attired for my paper--and, as we all know, stylish attire is 2/3s of having an excellent paper.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

fighting the good fight

My blipping, blurping, bleeding entries keep getting eaten by the slow internet connection, or by Blogger. I'm not really sure which. My parents came down to visit today, as they're both on hols this week (like small children everywhere, they are!) It was really nice--I got free lunch, and got to spend time with my parents, who amused themselves by poking fun at my "special" sense of direction. They did admire Finn, and my vacuum cleaner, and Dad stole my Finn Bros. CD.

Speaking of Finn, I had to rescue him yesterday since part of his plant decided today. I'm not sure that he's forgiven me for the undue trauma of cleaning out his vase yesterday...apparently bettas don't like being picked up by hand?

In case you couldn't tell, I really don't want to go do work right now.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

missing my family...

The wee one is in Italy for her school break. Before she left, she looked up the names of several internet cafes in each city she would be visiting. She has my digital camera, and a hair straightener of some kind. I hope she is having fun.

Everyone else is just doing what they normally do. Mom might come see me briefly next week, which means cleaning the apartment...but then, I've been looking for an excuse to procrastinate on my colloquium paper...We had to pick titles for them almost a month ago, and now I'm finding that my title doesn't address what I want the paper to. Dammit.

I went to and participated in a reading of Cloud Nine (Caryl Churchill) last week. It was a lot of fun. There was a lot of wine, cheese, and general good company. Being social and productive at the same time is awesome.

My foot is asleep, and I think I'm developing ADD. I either caught it from a toilet seat, or I've been thinking too hard.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

best. internet. quiz. EVER.

I am a d10

Take the quiz at

Here's what it says about me:
Ah, the d10! While you aren't actually a true regular polyhedron, you are the only die that makes logical sense--metrically speaking. Chances are, others see you as over-analytical or a goody-goody. While that may be true, you also have a gift for patience and tolerance. Growing up you probably had a calculator wristwatch that you never really needed to use (since you were faster on your own), and you probably aced all your classes (except for gym). You use the metric system almost exclusively, but are able to quickly convert in mid-conversation for the sake of your backwards Imperalist friends. You've coded in at least two different programming languages, and have created more original gaming systems than you'll ever admit. You're generally not a show-off, but you do take pride in being called either a geek or a nerd.

I would absolutely hate to tell you hwo much of that is true, although I should point out that I don't really get points for the Metric thing, because Canada just is that way already.

Best. Fish. EVER.

Finn has learned to tap on the glass of his bowl when he wants me to pay attention to him. He is so awesome.

Monday, March 07, 2005

writing about blogging about writing

Wheels inside wheels, guys.

I wrote half of my response paper last night, but apparenlty I didn't attach the file correctly and so i am having to start from scratch. This is actually working out quite well, as I am writing much more trenchantly this time, and about blogging, which makes me pretty happy as this may be informative for that colloquium paper I have to give in two weeks. Oh god, kill me now.

I'm actually pretty happy with the way this has turned out--I may post some of it tonight.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

the morning after

Blargh. Every time I think I have a handle on things, something will magically appear on my horizon to upset the balance. Six months in a leaky boat, indeed, Mr. Finn.

School (er, the second term) will be finished in one month + one day. Here is what remains to be done:
+presentation for Politic of the Cross-Dressed Body on cloud 9, and capitalism and cross-dressing
+2 response papers for same (one on butch/femme and one on something I've forgotten)
+16 page research paper for same (topic undecided--either Monty Python or Denys Arcand's Declin de l'Empire Americain)
+3 more response paper for Lit and Anthro
+12 page paper for same (on Jesuit Relations, commodification, and appropriation)
+research presentation on above research
+8 page paper for colloquium on weblogging, autobiography, and the instability of identity
+online tutorial for Tri-Council policy on ethics in research involving human participants (due tomorrow)
+research proposal for research involving human participants (mock) (ditto)
+response to Meyrowitz's No Sense of Place(ditto)
+actual research proposal for summer research project
+three additional assignments, plus exam, to be marked for that class I TA.

I will not implode, I swear. As I collect interesting resources, I'll try to pass them along here. I'm really interested in virtually everything I have added up there; I just don't know when I will have time to sleep, or eat, or knit, or go home for Easter in the next month. Argh!

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

this is the worst.

You Are 50% Left Brained, 50% Right Brained

Thanks to Cait and Mz. T for that one.

At school now. No class for another hour and a half or so. No desire to mark student papers which are to be returned on Friday. Slight desire to read Joshua Meyrowitz's No Sense of Place: The Impact of Electronic Media On Social Behavior. I have to write a response to it and I was thinking about MMORPGs.

Guess I should go, you know, do something. The Spark thinks I'm a man, by the way.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

it's just not practical

I think that in ten years, when I look back at The Great Grad School Adventure, particularly if it ends up being only my MA, there are two things that I will remember learning from the experience. I'll only talk about one now, and maybe make the idea into a different blog post someday when I'm not really having much to say.

So the first thing that I have learned this year is that marks are arbitrary. Completely and totally. Actually, they are neither completely nor totally arbitrary, but there is some elements of those. I say this having just marked five papers tonight for my TA class, my head still full of the difficult negotiation between excellence in ideas and clarity in writing, and how serious mispelling the main characters name throughout the entire paper really is, anyway.

I guess this is also borne out of my experience here. My marks have been good this year, but I find myself wondering if that is because they have to be. I wrote a response to the Radway piece that I talk about below (and I was am quite proud of it) about why the public is eager to have someone make their reading choices for them (and what it means that we are). My prof looked it over and assigned me a mark of B+ (78-79 for the numerically inclined). A B+ is not a bad grade, per se, but it isn't a good one--and I had been so happy with my response.

Then in class my prof mentioned that he had forgotten to tell us that he doesn't give As. ...Oh. He wants us to focus on improving our writing and stuff like that, which is great--god knows I need it. But if you don't give As, doesn't a B+ become, essentially, an A by default?

It made me feel better about the B+, anyway, and he gave me good feedback on my writing. Still lots to ponder, though. Critical pedagogy is so interesting to me.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Freedom to Read

Freedom To Read deals with the issue of censorship in Canada. UGoo will be hosting its own celebration/awareness of Freedom to Read Week on March 1st in the MacLaughlin Library. Should be pretty interesting--they have some of the banned books on display in the library and it's really interesting to see what has been called into question in the past, and what is called into question today. Many of my favourites are there--To Kill A Mockingbird, The Diviners, The Handmaid's Tale (never challenged in Canada, but #37 of the 100 most challenged books in the US, according to the ALA), The Wars, the Harry Potter books, On the Banks of Plum Creek...

They're even encouraging people to read and release banned books through Bookcrossing. It really doesn't get much better than that.

online books

Black Mask . Com.

Could be quite fruitful, I think.

I never tried to grow flowers in the desert

It has been a while, hasn't it? Reading week was busier than I intended it to be; at the same time I feel like I've accomplished very little. potentially because I have, in fact, accomplished virtually nothing. Nonetheless, I am slogging on with my work today, and have 3/4 finished my paper proposal that's due Tuesday morning...though the hard part will still be the tentative Works Cited list, as it will have probably close to 25 books on it. Which, for a ten to twelve pager, is a pretty sizable list.

I still have to write my response to Janice Radway and her Reading the Romance: Women, Patriarchy, and Popular Literature, but that has been burbling in my mind for some time, so I'm hoping that will go will. It's for my theory class on Reader Oriented Theory, if you're wondering, but I did an excerpt of it last year in my Intro to Theory class.

I do actually have more to post, but I should return my work, and make my way back here later on.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

really good conversations I have had lately, part I:

"cut me STRAIGHT to the HEART, now we're getting someWHERRRRRE..."
"This is such a good song."
"Bring it BACK to the START."
"Now we're getting somewhere!"
"When I'm with YOU, I don't CARE where it is I'm falling..."
"This song should be--"
"--on Recurring Dream. Yeah, totally."
"It just doesn't make sense--"
"--that it isn't. Although, Chocolate Cake charted in Canada, and it's not on there either."
"What would you take off of Recurring Dream to fit both of those songs on there?"
"Oh. Good question."
"Not the Girl You Think You Are" (simultaneously)
"That's only one song, though."
"Well, I didn't say Chocolate Cake needed to be on there. I just said that it charted. Actually, it was one of only four CH singles to chart commercially in Canada. So in the conceptualization of the "greatest hits" album, it..."
[smack. silence.]
" Chocolate Cake, then?"

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

off to...never never land?

WAtching MMM's "Listed" which is doing the 40 best albums of the last 25 years. Quite interesting really, inasmuch that I think I have owned two albums between 18-40. Ah well. There are worse things than being perpetually out of step.

The craziness continues on this end; I am definitely thrilled that reading week is next week, but less than thrilled about the amount of work I have left to do before this term is finished. Bleh.

I talked to a friend a few days ago about a paper he has to write for his first year English course at another university. It's a research paper, and he wants to write on Eliot's "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock". "Do you," he asked, an earnest anxiety in his voice, "think there will be a lot of critical stuff on the poem?" Heh. He also wants to talk his prof into letting him right on "The Waste Land" instead, even though they are not studying it. It's just madness.

I've started using TRillian for all my messaging needs. Such a great little program it is. One of the options is that it links to Wikipedia within the context of your messages (ie, certain words will be underlined, and if you move the cursor over them you get a small window with the Wikipedia entry). It's a bit like having The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy on your computer.

Speaking of which, has anyone heard anything new about the movie version?

Monday, February 14, 2005

Introducing Finn

Introducing Finn Posted by Hello

Everyone, this is Finn, the newest member of Castle Skylark. His plant is named Tim. He's actually a much more blue colour than this picture indicates, but he is really fun. And his name is Finn.

Friday, February 11, 2005

I've got the urge for going

Urgh. Just as my sister learns to budget her time better, I completely forget...thankfully I've done so much "how to write an essay" teaching this term I could probably do it drunk and half asleep. I am the latter today, but not the former.

Venturing up north this weekend. Updates may be sporadic (read: non-existent) until Monday. Of course, now that I've said that, you'll probably get lots. Or something.

Sock monkeys are totally the new Build-A-Bear. Which, ironically, is where I'm going today. Go figure.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

knitting is so bad for the wallet

I bought a whole bunch of really fun Icelandic wool at a Lens Mill. So pretty, so's a bit off the beaten track, so I went with an appropriately vehicled friend, and the two of us were just in awe. They have a lot of other crafting notions as well; some days I become quite aware of the fact that I am very much my mother's daughter.

Not much else is new and/or exciting. It's a long day here at school on Wednesday; none of my books are in at the library yet (perhaps tomorrow, if I am lucky?) It is a snowy winter wonderland here in Guelph right now.

I'm tired and I'm sad and I just wish school was over.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

past the second post

Back from the weirdness that is Pilates, now. I actually like the exercise and the class and all, but there is just something about "rolling like a ball" that is just plain weird--though I love the way it makes my back feel.

I'm currently in the process of my intial forays into two new projects. The first is my final paper for Lit and Anthropology, which I could take in a number of different directions. One is to look at EJ Pratt's Brebeuf and his Brethren (that's Trent University's annotated version of the's a long, epic poem) and look at how Pratt turns the ethnographic into the literary. Another appraoch might be to take the ethnographic (specifically the Jesuit Relations) and look at how it becomes literary commodity in both the seventeenth century and today. Or maybe something about Angela Carter? (I'm just kidding about that one. Mostly.)

Project the Second is about the relationship between weblogging and autobiography. I have a partner in crime of sorts for this one (or at the very least a sounding board) in one of my classmates, who is working on theorizing hypertext. Oh, the madness that will come from our geekdom.

I wait in 4/4 time...

I've been listening to a lot of The Weakerthans as of late. The sparsity of their music, grounded as it is in what I'll prosaicly call "post-punk" has been striking the right chord with me lately...the right chord of January's desolation. Except that now it's February, and I'm not sure where that leaves me.

You know, there's that scene in Apocalypse Now where Dennis Hopper is talking to Martin Sheen about Col. Kurtz and says, "He's a poet-warrior in the classic sense." I really like that. I like that a lot. Especially in light of John K. Sampson's lyrics. I think what has been so appealing to me about The Weakerthan's music is that their lyrics are so grounded in Winnipeg--they have this weird, almost symbiotic relationship with the city. Left and Leaving, in particular, is just gorgeous. It's a love/hate letter, a myriadic reflection of what it is to be from Winnipeg...and, arguably, what it means to be from Canada.
My city's still breathing (but barely it's true) through buildings gone missing like teeth. The sidewalks are watching me think about you, all sparkled with broken glass. I'm back with scars to show. Back with the streets I know. They never take me anywhere but here.

--The Weakerthans, Left and Leaving

If I ever wind up teaching Canadian lit, I want to teach this. I'll post more about other goings on later--right now now I just want to think about this.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

ah, it's not my conscience that begs to be untrue...

What a long week. I keep having to remind myself that it isn't over, as I have to teach tomorrow morning...but for some reason I feel even more exhausted when I think about that. Bleh. We're doing Poe's The Purloined Letter, which I am honestly not a huge fan the point where I've just said "screw it" to the lesson planning and will simply make something up tomorrow on the bus ride to the school.

It is gloriously warm here in Guelph; I am loving this southern Ontario winter thing. It's going to kill me to move back to North Bay Rock City in the fall, if I do.

I have spent a good portion of the evening pondering a House Committee on UnCanadian Activities; I find myself wondering who would chair it, who would be on it, and whom it would be investigating. Deborah Grey could chair...with Jack Granatstein riding shotgun. Certainly my loathing of The Tragically Hip would make me suspicious...

It makes me want to read The Crucible again.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

I've got more to say than you but I'm not sure what that proves

Design of this munificence deserves a far better entry than the one below, so here goes:
+drinking at the Pennywhistle is clearly better than doing your homework
+drinking Strongbow at the Pennywhistle is even better than that
+I'm quite happy to be a lit student and not an anthropologist
+gossip is fun
+sometimes being a clueless lit student in a theatre class can be worthwhile
+I still like theory
+I need to start checking my pockets before I do the laundry thing
+Reading week D&D is going to be kick-ass
+get to watch Lost in Translation tomorrow night, and go grocery shopping. I have such a rich life.

the starlight rules

Ms. Starlight gets mad props (as the kids say) for the layout. I love it, I love it, I love it.

Monday, January 31, 2005

sun shiny day

Say what you will about the Norton Anthology of English Literature (and Norton in general)--in fact most of it needs to be said--but their online companion to NAEL is just lovely.

Have started playing Baldur's Gate II; is infinitely preferable to a) my own reading, and b) my marking. This is either good, or bad.

Likely the latter.

Sunday, January 30, 2005


Query: Would it be evil of me to mark papers using a D100?

For those of you not in the D&D loop, a D100 should be, theoretically, a hundred-sided die. Mine, however, is much more practical/clever: it's a large, clear plastic D10 that has a smaller, opaque D10 inside, so when you roll it, you read the 10s column number off the clear dice, and the 1s column off the coloured dice. It's actually really fun. And sadly, I am not actually marking papers that way...

Saturday, January 29, 2005

a wink's as good as a nod

This marks the 5th or 6th time I've tried to update in the last few days, all of which have been abandoned, forgotten, or eaten by my computer. (Predominantly the latter.)

So. Things I will not be posting about include my dad's reviews of the books the sisters wrote as children, marking, teaching, my life in general.

My enjoyment of tea is increasingly greatly this term, as I find myself drinking amounts that are starting to border on the ridiculous--let's just say that if coffee was my hot beverage poison of choice, I'd be absolutely manic, rail thin, and would not have slept in the past two weeks. Actually, you know what's crazy? i find myself occasionally craving coffee now. I hate the way it tastes (and I know that I hate the way it tastes), but I find myself wanting it--same with beer, actually.

I went to an art auction for the Guelph Jazz festival earlier this week, and it was really fun. The food was fabulous (if a bit sparing, but then, I got there late) and the art was as well. It was interesting to see the 'who's who' of the Guelph arts community, in a lot of ways. It was also fun because it was a dressy occasion, and my silk skirt has so few occasions that it can bring itself out for. Sadly, however, a dressed-to-the-nines Rhi means that all of her classmates in attendance won't recognize her.

Lots of reading this weekend, none of which I have any real desire to do. I know plays aren't long, but I just can't bring myself to care too much. And I should care--I have a response paper due this week on that reading.

I'm really hoping next week will be better--I need to cheer up a bit.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

you're sure? better be...Gryffindor!

It's rather a wonderful thing to find yourself falling in love with your new school and city, and actually being disappointed that you only have another seven months to spend there. The UGoo sports teams are the Guelph Gryphons, and our school colours are gold, scarlet, and black--is it any wonder that sometimes I secretly pretend that I am a student at Hogwarts? (Of course, technically I'm a Ravenclaw, but a girl can dream, can't she?)

The sock minkey obsession rages on through various parts of Ontario. I have made two monkeys (with the help of my lovely baby sister) and a socktopus so far; it's really interesting to see how quickly they develop their own characters...although perhaps that is simply my silly, overactive imagination. The socktopus, in particular, who is destined to control the sock minkey army my family is slowly building (even mon pere is involved), has developed a very dictatorial style and several vicious attack strategies. As the Squidge says, this is what you get for naming him General Socktopus. Alfred, my other minkey, is fun too--he's made from a very small set of socks, and has a correspondingly very sweet disposition, and doesn't mind when I forget that he's on the chair and sit on him.

School is soldiering on at the moment. Am not too panicked yet as am trying to save that for a future date (current prediction for this will be in a couple of weeks).