Sunday, September 28, 2008

Salami Bridal and Other Adventures

At times I feel like I live several very separate lives. Family, university friends, SMATH friends, seminar instructor, post-university friends...these segments seldom intersect. So when my friend Jess asked me to be in her wedding party, she was quite surprised to find out that this will be my third time down the aisle (and, by conventional wisdom like "three times a bridesmaid, never a bride", the key to eternal singledom). The wedding isn't til next August, but Jess wanted to get an early start on everything. And that's how we found ourselves on our way to Toronto visit a bridal salon that will forever be known as "Salami Bridal" in our minds and in our hearts.

The day started out well enough, but when we arrived at the bridal salon, it was in a tiny strip mall, directly above, of all things, a deli. Inside, it was small and dingy. There was only one fitting room, and we wound up having to trade off mirror time with another bride. None of this is particularly bad, really, but after we had tried on a number of bridesmaid dresses, Jess wanted to look at their bridal range, and that's when disaster struck. She had on the third dress of the day when our sales consultant came in and told Jess to get dressed: "My next appointment will be here in a few minutes and you have to go." Just like that. Since there were four bridesmaids and a bride, we'd booked a double appointment (or thought we had), and we thought we still had loads of time. As we went out the door, the sales consultant told us we could come back when we were ready to order.

Not bloody likely.

Fortunately the rest of the day was a very good time, even if I ate far too much. I was only a little hungover on the car ride home, despite not sleeping very much last night. Today has been the most gloriously lazy day for both me and the cat, who has worked out a way to lie across my lap between my stomach and the laptop, and who is currently sacked out like a ragdoll. Silly cat.

ETA: When we were at the second bridal store in Barrie, Jess was trying on the dress that she was about 75% sure she was going to get so that we could all see it. No sooner was she zipping it up than Paul McCartney and Wings's "Maybe I'm Amazed" comes on the radio, which is her and Aaron's wedding song. It's definitely a sign.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

I open at the close

The first 'real' week of school has been quite a challenge. I've got seminars in two courses this year (the first year intro course AND the second year British literature survey) and the balancing act required therein has been difficult at best. Add in a little personal turmoil and you've got the makings of a week that I'm quite pleased is over.

I taught scansion in the first year courses and it went from being an unmitigated disaster on day one to being mostly okay by day five, which is excellent since it's something that I'm totally crap at. If you want obscure New Wave song lyrics from the 80s, I'm your girl. If you want to know anything about rhythm...well...*cough*. I get to teach it again in second year next week, so we'll hope that they are able to grasp it. Overall I've been really impressed with my second year courses thus far.

I received an email from an old internet friend that I'd fallen out of touch with several years ago. After adding each other to the key social networking places (as you do) we discovered that since we last spoke, we have continued to share interests. It's hard to explain why that makes me so happy, but it does: the friendship that I treasure most seem to be those that can hang infinitely in the balance, but always fall back into place in the most satisfying way that says: Here we are again.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

someone smudged my Puma

I was late for one of my own classes today owing to some unforeseen circumstances(and that particular sub-section of Murphy's Law that states that if you're already late, more stuff is just going to make you even later.) Talk about embarassing. I really hope that this doesn't get the whole thing off on the wrong foot for the year. Logically I understand that I will probably think about this a lot more (and be much harder on myself about it) than any of my students will, but in the meantime...I'm really mad at myself.

The premiere of So You Think You Can Dance Canada is tonight, and as much as I hate the audition portion of any talent reality show, I'm quite excited about this. The kitten mostly hopes that there isn't a lot of Mary Murphy, because it wakes him up from his naps when she screams.

More class tomorrow, and then I've made it to my first weekend. Hurray!

Friday, September 05, 2008

Why I Can't Give Conference Papers

I've been trying to plan out my academic year for the last little bit; a big part of this involves trying to figure what kinds of scholarship I'm going to engage in. I would really like to attend this year's NeMLA, but most of the topic areas that interest me are ones that I just couldn't give conference papers on. Here's why:

Cheering for the Bad Guy: The Rise of the Anti-hero in Popular Culture: From Sweeney Todd to Darth Vader, some of our culture's most iconic characters stem from our darkest vices. Why do we find ourselves rooting for the bad guy in literature and popular culture so frequently? What is it about these characters that appeals to us? What does our acceptance of these characters say about contemporary society as a whole, if anything? Submissions should focus on the answers to any or all of these questions.

Here I would want write about either Noah Bennett and Sylar in Heroes or Snape and Voldemort in the Harry Potter franchise, with particular reference to the role of the internet/fan culture in their success. Unfortunately, that's about all I can think of to say, unless I were to extend the Heroes talk by talking about the bad dad complex.

History, Memoir, and Comics: "History, Memoir, and Comics" invites papers on recent graphic narratives. The panel seeks papers that investigate (1) why the comics form lends itself to the representation of tragic events; (2) the strategies by which graphic narratives simultaneously invoke personal and public history; and/or (3) why studying the interaction of verbal and visual narratives matters, especially today.

This paper would go something like this: "OMG, Maus, you guys. Maus! It's so awesome. "My father bleeds history." That's not seriously the coolest thing ever written? [pause] Blankets is pretty cool, too.

[As a side note, I would add here that I'm not sure why we STILL need to discuss the questions of "why studying the interaction of verbal and visual narratives matters, especially today." Srsly.]

Lost at NeMLA: Mapping TV's Most Elusive Island: One of the most remarkable television series in recent years has been ABC's Lost. Beginning with an archetypal premise of castaways stranded on an island, the show has evolved into a complex network of obscure connections, esoteric mysteries, literary and pop cultural allusions, and baroque experiments in narrative temporality. The objective of this panel will be to contextualize the television show within diverse but complementary critical perspectives.

Say it with me, kids: Bad dads, bad dads, bad dads!

Those Who Do Not Study History Are Doomed to Watch Repeats: This panel solicits papers on remakes of television shows such as Battlestar Galactica, Queer as Folk, and The Bionic Woman. What do these remakes say about the cultures that produce them? Are these shows indicative of any obsession with history? What are the intertextual implications of the narratives? What narrative techniques do the shows employ that differ from those of "original" series?

[taps mic] So...uh...has anyone here seen Degrassi?

Don't get me wrong, I would actually like to write these papers. I just don't know that I could come up with a full fifteen minutes on any of these topics: my position as fan situates me in a place where it's very difficult to write critically. We'll see, though.