Monday, February 28, 2005

Lazy first years

The prof that I TA for thought it would be a good idea to announce in class this morning that any student who needs an extension on their papers should approach their TA's. So far I have received three requests for extensions.

One student said her reason was not appropriate for email correspondance and should I wish to know we could meet in person or speak on the telephone.

One student said that during reading week, due to a "stupid misunderstanding" he did not have access to his resources while at home.

The last student claimed that he just didn't have enough time to do it because he has three other midterms this week. But he planned to write it, he really did.


Lucky for them I don't care so they all got extensions from Friday the 4th until Wednesday the 9th. Am I incredibly generous? No, I'm just too lazy to come into school on Monday or Tuesday to get their papers and I have office hours on Wednesday.

What's with students these days? When I was a youngster (heh) I would never ask for an extension. I would stay up all night the day before the paper was due like everyone else. Maybe these kids are the smart ones because, with me anyway, you get what you ask for.

By the way, I didn't bother to find out the first student's secret reason. I wonder what it could be.

I'm back

Whewf, what a bad day. My blog fell off the internet! I don't exactly know what happened, but one minute I was adding new links and posting about them and the next minute my blog was blank. Upon further investigation I found that my template was missing all the coding for text. I have no idea how that happened.

I emailed Blogger support but grew tired of waiting for them to step in so instead I took matters into my own hands and reset my template. So though I've lost all customizations, at least my blog is readable. I'm just nervous that my site meter will have to start over at zero and I was making such good progress, but I'll see what I can do.

So, sleep easy, my friends, for I have not disappeared just yet.

An update

I have updated my links section to include those bloggers who entertain me and waste my time that should be spent studying or working. Thanks guys, you make blogging fun.

Be sure to check 'em out. I'll give you a quick rundown:

Korea Life Blog: Shawn is the king blogger teaching English in Korea. I spent an entire weekend a few months ago reading his archives. He has published books and provides a very interesting description of life as an English teacher in Korea.

What Not to Do in Asia: I've been reading this one for a while now even though it's mostly only about drinking and having to wake up early. He's also in Korea but I'm not exactly sure what he does there...

Blake's World: Blake is leaving for Korea (from Canada) any day now! Check out his blog ASAP to be included in the adventure.

where the ocean meets the land: Rob is not related to teaching in Korea at all, but I came across his blog and it's good. Read it.

larry's blog: If you don't know larry yet then you're nothing.

And I wouldn't necessarily bother with Zach Braff's blog because he never really posts and when he does it's not so interesting, but I just can't help checking it.

That's all for now.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

The last leg

I don't think Kwinter has made it online yet, so here she is! Isn't she lovely?

I'm back in Hamilton for the last month of school. Things are good and I'm ready for this last stretch. Last night I went to see a play and it wasn't very good. What frustrated me most was again the name dropping that I complained about the other day. At one point a character listed a whole number of authors; T.S. Eliot, Salinger, Fitzgeral... a whole long list... and then listed some classical musicians. It had no bearing on the storyline and it really annoyed me. So often this happens as if playwrights and novelists think that by including the greats in their work it will somehow improve the quality of that work. In contrast, the movie Sideways took a different approach by including the lines of a book (that I didn't recognize but my brother did). This way, those who are familiar with the material can feel warm and fuzzy for being well read and those who are not can appreciate whatever message is being made. Name dropping is good for nothing. NOTHING, I say.

In other news, I also went to a party where some guy had brought his guitar. I am always drawn to music like this at a party because I know lyrics and love singing. Probably 'cause I like to be on display. But another guy at the party equated guitar at parties to group masturbation. He didn't further his point.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

So lovely...

Friday, February 25, 2005

Seething mad

Here's the scenario:

My mother and I go out grocery shopping this afternoon after a day of running around. (An important piece of information for this story is that she and my father have started seeing a nutritionist and are trying to lose weight. She has always been trying to lose weight and he is kind of being taken along for the ride though he's a stubborn man who only likes a limited number of healthy foods). Okay, so my mother decides to try making my father a meat loaf (this sounds so suburban...) that she finds in a weight watchers magazine. We buy the necessary ingredients and go home.

Both parents are tired but as per usual my mother is the one in the kitchen while my father plays with his computer. I decide to help my mother out instead of standing firm on my 'equality' ideals. We make the meat loaf, with mostly ground beef but also some vegetarian or some such faux-beef.

Dinner is served and my father piles a whopping serving of meat loaf onto his plate. He bites into it and says "this tastes like shit". He proceeds to be rude about it for the rest of the meal, scraping it off his plate and heating up some leftovers from the other day. I basically wanted to rip his eyes out. What the hell. He could have said "thank you for trying to make something for me that I'll like (since no one else would ever really want meat loaf - EVER) but I don't actually like it" or something along those lines. I don't blame him for not liking it but what a goddam asshole! If you read this dad, which I don't think you have been anyway, I'm sorry but that was the rudest thing I've heard from you.

My mother puts up with so much shit, and so many women do. It really rots my socks (you heard me) when men expect women to serve them this way. My father will say "Mar, will you make me some jell-o?" calling out from the other room. My father will ask my mother to make toast, and she will. And they're not even that bad compared to many households! My mother asked my father last night to make her some toast while she was watching tv in the evening and he gave her a hard time about it, not two hours after he demanded jell-o be made. ROAR!

If I ever end up in a marriage where I am treated with such blatant disrespect I will have failed as an individual with beliefs. I'm all up for helping each other out, but there has to be some courtesy, respect, and equality.

Kudos to Rick for saying something to Dad about it. And to Rick and Carina for eating the meat loaf and pretending to like it. Because of my inability to talk to my father I just fell silent and decided not to join them all at the movies. What a rebellion.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Leaving Tomorrow, Wednesday July 14th 2004

This title makes no sense to you. Since things are slow in the life of me this week I have decided to post emails from another age to remind myself of days gone by, and to share with you my first significant travelling experience. Hope you find it interesting.

Hello friends,

I have been waiting for this day to come for so long; the day when I too can send a mass e-mail to all my friends to tell them about the travels I am about to embark on. So tomorrow morning I am flying for about twelve (or is it fourteen?) hours to end up in Israel. For those of you who don't know, I'll be travelling with a group for twelve days, and then I'll be going with my friend Wendy to study Hebrew at the University of Haifa for the month of August. I don't know exactly what to expect, but I'm hoping that this trip will provide for me something that I'm looking for. I'm not exactly sure what I'm looking for; maybe adventure, maybe responsibility, maybe inspiration, maybe distraction. Whatever it is, I'm sure I'll find at least something. If nothing else, there's always falafel.

So, e-mail me often, I'll look forward to hearing from you. Though I will probably not have access to internet while I'm travelling, I will have unlimited access while I'm at the University in August.

I hope everyone has a wonderful summer. I'll be thinking of you!



Wednesday, February 23, 2005

A slow week

Nothing too interesting to write about this week. Everyone is either out of town or too busy to hang out, for the most part, so I've been swimming in the mornings and reading throughout the day and night. I saw two Oscar picks on Monday. Ray and Sideways. I liked Ray a lot because of the music and I thought the lead actor guy did a pretty good job. Then again maybe it's easier to play such a character role than it is to play a person like the lead guy in Sideways, which was the other movie I saw on Monday. I liked certain parts of Sideways, like how typical and pathetic everything was; the walk from the motel to the restaurant/bar that passed by a car dealership along the highway, the cheesy restaurant motifs and completely believable greasy faced young waitress, the bad clothes. That realistic part I liked. I hated the two guys, I guess like I was supposed to. But my problem with the movie was that I felt bored and anxious for it to be over. That happens to me, feeling like I want something to end even though it's supposed to be enjoyable. Movies like this one, the opera, certain books, other things not to be mentioned here. It's strange. In this case it could be because I sat through the entire non-theatrical version of Ray directly before.

Today I saw Donnie Darko with Jordana as per her recommendation. It was really cool but I still don't understand even half of it so I'll have to watch the director's commentary or look it up on the web to see what it was all supposed to mean.

At the pool this morning I chatted with an old man who was recently diagnosed with some blood disorder. I am about to graduate and he's slowly dying. He said that I'm moving into centre stage while he shifts into the background.

Finished a book just now called "The Hero's Walk" about an Indian family in a small town and various relational issues within it including a daughter who went to Canada and married a white man only to be killed in a car accident along with her husband leaving their daughter an orphan who has to go to India to live with family she never met. That was quite possibly the longest sentence I've ever written. Another one of those things I was anxious to get through but in the end it was very good.

Oh, by the way, it has now been one month since I started blogging. There have been over 860 visitors in that month. I can't wait to get to Korea so my posts will be more than reports of movies that I've watched. Though you never know; people don't necessarily change when their background changes.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Not another young girl concerned with her weight...

I woke up today and decided to finally do what I was hesitant to do for the past couple of months. Weigh myself. I have been feeling displeased with my body for these few months but have not done anything about it. And the scale confirmed my reasons for hesitation. I am just about ten pounds heavier than I was in July, AND the heaviest I've ever been! Yikes!

This isn't so terrible because I was exercising 3-4 times a week last semester and I was very happy with the results. I could say I was satisfied, in fact. And then in December I just stopped so it's not surprising that it happened. I don't want to be one of those people who are constantly dieting throughout their lives; losing weight, then gaining it all back.

So this is what I'm going to do: I am going to get back into regular physical activity. I am also going to cut down portion sizes a little bit because I definitely eat too much too often. The third part of this regimen will be to drink more water.

I'm not going to cut out all carbs or do anything drastic like that. The most important part is exercising.

The last thing I'm going to do is not write about it on my blog anymore because most people probably hear enough of this kind of shit from their mothers.

Before I shut this topic down, though, I'll mention my goal. Lose those ten new pounds by the end of school, which is the middle of April. I think it will be a piece of cake... mmm cake... ;)

Monday, February 21, 2005

Spending more money than I have...

Though I hate shopping and I hate spending money I really love to have new things. Today, in an effort to stay out of the house to avoid the cleaning lady, I bought myself two new pairs of jeans and three black sweaters. Three, you exclaim? Well two are identical and were on sale for $9.99 at the GAP. They're made of a combination of various materials including rabbit hair, so they must be good quality. When asked if they were reduced to such a great price because of poor craftmanship, the young cashier confirmed that they are just trying to get rid of their 'holiday' stock. This particular black sweater does indeed come with a little sparkly snap at the back neck so I thought "what the heck" and bought two.

Isn't this interesting?

In other news, I was talking with Rick about our plans for life. The next few years are full of choices and changes. He asked me my plan, and here it is:

1) Go to Korea

2) Apply to various grad schools for an MA in sociology with a specialty in demography*.

3) After one year contract in Korea is finished, spend time (1-2 months) and money (whatever I can afford) travelling.

4) Return to Canada (or whever I decide to go to grad school which could be in the US or overseas but most likely will be Canada) and start MA.

5) Meet future husband.

6) Fall in love.

7) Finish MA and make decision. Either decide that enough school is enough and go off to work in social research or take the PhD path and become a know-it-all professor-to-be.

8) Get married, have kids, blah blah blah, retire, die warm in my bed.

* Why demography? Who knows. It's not like I'm actually that interested in it. But I used to love doing statistics and I wanted an MA that was somewhat practical so it seemed like the most viable option. That's why I'm suffering through this tedious stats class this semester. Then again I want to love what I do so any of this plan is likely to change. I could stay in Korea longer. I could find a long-hidden love of teaching (very unlikely). I could never fall in love, never have children, and never come back to Canada. It's all open. But I'm willing to bet that after my year long taste of adventure I'll come back for a traditional life of work and family. As dull as that might sound...

Sunday, February 20, 2005

There is quite the blizzard outside my window. I'd hope for a snow day if I wasn't already on vacation and if I didn't already have Mondays off anyway.

Ahh, look at that waxy water resistance. Beautiful.

Reminds me of that crazy ice cream flavour that I'm pretty sure I once licked off my cone onto the floor. Also cotton candy. I bought a cone of cotton candy for 3 shekels in Haifa and the humidity made it melt. Melt!

Ahhh, the beautiful colours of the supreme-o carwash. Just the type of thing that makes my day.

Dinner time in the Neuman household

My mother is in the kitchen making dinner. My father is on the internet doing whatever it is he does. My brother is watching cheesy 80's music videos. And I face the internal struggle of leaving my mother to slave for all of us, or being the 'daughter' who is helping her mother.

The Perks

Spent the afternoon reading "The Perks of Being a Wallflower". I can understand why people love it so much.

The more and more I come across this type of... what should I call it... media, I guess, the more skeptical I become. I like the thoughtfulness and the way Charlie ponders life. He reads all these great books like the Cather in the Rye, Walden, and the Great Gatsby, and listens to all this great music. The author makes sure to list everything by title and author/artist and I'm left a little irritated. All of this stuff is so seemingly unique at first but becomes more and more obvious and put on as time goes on.

We sit around trying to have intellectual conversations but it's all the same bullshit. Even Sam's idea in Garden State of having an original moment is unoriginal because so many people complain about feeling unoriginal already. We come across these thoughtful movies, books, and songs and take meaning out of them as if we're the most perceptive and feeling person around. I suppose I should only speak for myself.

Sometimes it feels like the world is consumed with superficiality and I am among the few that can see it. Then I realize how many people are thinking beyond the surface and wonder if maybe I'm the superficial one.

Falling behind

I am behind two questions for my two-question-a-day take-home exam schedule. Shoot.

On the plus side I have finally crossed the other side into Indian food appreciation-ship. Thanks to Wendy for never giving up on me. I couldn't have done it without her. It was very delicious indeed though I was uncomfortably full afterwards and struggled not to fall asleep.

Last time we went for dinner it was for Korean food. We've also been known to go for Japanese, Thai, Chinese, American/Canadian, Cuban, Middle Eastern, Greek, Italian, and fast... lots of fast. So what does that leave? I think Vietnamese, and maybe Malaysian... We'll see what else we can find. I think we both love Thai the most... especially the mango coconut rice dessert. Heaven.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Hooray for new shoes!

It's holiday time! Alright, three cheers for reading week. The only schoolwork I actually have to do is a statistics take-home exam and if I follow my two question a day schedule I can be done on Monday leaving the rest of the time to do what I please, which is to read.

My mother casually encouraged me to take a last minute all-inclusive holiday. That would mean I would have to leave tomorrow or the next day to be back in time for classes. Alas, I do not have the funding, and I can deal with winter a little bit longer.

Instead I took advantage of her generous mood today. Got a haircut and redeemed my 'make-up' lesson coupon at a Spa. I kind of look like a hooker but I like that look. Of course I captured before and after pictures so perhaps I'll post them when I have the necessary cables (which I conveniently left in Hamilton). We bought lots of make-up too, 'cause who can get a make-up lesson without taking home some supplies??

Oh, stopped by Chapters to redeem my coupons and got the books I planned to get, plus a "Teach yourself Korean double CD and book". Whoooo, should be a piece of cake, right? I hear Korean is a hard language to learn, but I'm prepared to give it a shot.

And finally, I got new shoes. Hip hip hooray for New Balance.

The end.

Friday, February 18, 2005

A successful time

Went to that party and I'm glad. Brought chips (still have large stash in apartment from Rick's competition) and wine but I didn't drink it in the end. This is turning into a big 'pass the bottle' of people bringing wine and not drinking it. Are we getting old?

I really like the girl who hosted the party and most of her friends were very cool too, except for one obnoxiously pompous asshole who smugly said that he never went to class in highschool and maintained an honour roll status. Who cares about that? Not me. He had gold rings, too tight pants, a goatee, and an un-smiling face. That really gets me. You've gotta smile. Another annoying girl talked non-stop about uninteresting things like her family. They cook chicken breasts for their dog instead of feeding it dog food. She loves South Park, plays half a dozen instruments, and had at least a 90% average in highschool. Who cares about highschool? Her parents don't let her and her boyfriend in her bedroom.

The rest of the guests were friendly, warm, and interesting. Funny, since everyone there is from the faculty of Arts and Science. The annoying guy is in Naval History or some equally absurd program, and the other girl is in music. Coincidence? I think not.

There was another guy there who I met two years ago on a bus ride from Hamilton to Toronto. We had a really good talk on that bus ride and never saw each other again until tonight, but we didn't talk much tonight.

Anyway, overall a good time.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Out on a limb

I was critical of some friends of mine for hesitating to come to my party because they didn't know anyone. I criticize people for being adverse to risk taking and to meeting new people. I am so quick to criticize. But it's true that so many people get stuck in their little comfortable bubble and refuse to spread their wings beyond that. I once dated a guy who didn't like to try new foods. Never again.

And now I've been invited to a party of a girl who is very nice but who I hardly know. It's a cocktail party at her apartment tonight so I'm going over there after band. Maybe I'll bring my left over cheese to break the ice. Or some wine.

All I really want to do is refresh my blog all night long to see how many new hits there have been. I'm kind of kidding about that. All I really want to do is finish reading this book D'Arcy lent me called "The African Safari Papers" that I'm really liking. Everyone's going crazy. That's cool. And then go to Indigo to get a few more that I have in mind. Particularly "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" which I've heard a lot about and "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time", and maybe Zach Braff's brother's book "The Unthinkable Thoughts of Jacob Green". All these titles are very similar, aren't they?

Let's compile a favourite books group list, shall we? Comment away!

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

And these are the doors that win the title of 'favourite'. They weigh 200 pounds so the little waifs that run around campus have a hard time getting in and out of this particular building. Ha ha.

My favourite tree


Some fresh powder

Decided to take some pictures of campus today. This building is University Hall and sports my favourite doors on campus.

Sacrificing honour for humour

I've decided to make my dirty secret public because it's good for a laugh and you better all damn well appreciate it.

It all started when out of curiosity I was searching a primarily North American dating website in their 'other country' section to see what options I might have in Korea. After finding nothing there I began perusing the market in my area just for kicks. [Comment about internet dating: I had a long term relationship with a guy that I met on the internet (though he lived in my neighbourhood and I knew his brother so maybe it doesn't count) and after that I told myself the situation was too contrived and I wouldn't do it again. But what does contrived mean? I don't think that anymore, but I also don't really intend to begin a relationship that way either, until I get desperate.]

On with the story, I saw a guy on the site with a seemingly interesting profile so on a whim I sent him this email:

Hi there,
I was perusing the profiles and your smile caught my eye. I once met a guy who never smiled. When questioned he replied that his face didn't go that way. Can you believe it?

I don't know what I expected to come of that but I wasn't surprised when he didn't respond right away. Then yesterday he did:

Hi Jessicca!
Thank you so much for your note - and for the record I smile a lot. In fact a lot of people tell me I smile too much! I would love to get to know more about you but just so you know, I recently started seeing someone so I am not looking for a romantic connection. However, being relatively new to Toronto I am always looking to make new friends so if you are interested in that please drop me a line.
Have a great week,

No big deal, I can handle that. Should I write back? I did.

Hello, hello,
More about me: Well, I grew up in Montreal too and now live inToronto. DDO to Thornhill specifically, but I was only ten when we made the move. (I think my brother Brian had a friend named ... ring a bell?) I'm graduating from McMaster U this year with a degree in Sociology, at which point I'm packing up a year's worth of things and heading off to South Korea to teach English, and to stand out as a six foot tall foreigner in a country of very small people. Upon my return I intend to do the grad school thing with a focus on demography.

So, although your profile was one of the few ones that ever catch my eye, it's a good thing that you're dating someone so we don't fall for each other right when I'm about to leave the country. :) Anyway, the most I know about sailing is that it's fun to sit on the tip of a laser at Camp B'nai Brith of Ottawa. I'm a theatre, music, swimming, and travelling kind of girl.

Have a good Tuesday,

His response:





We used to babysit you. We used to hang out at your house, and play basket ball and torture Corky and Blacky while your parents were out. Too funny - good memories!


As it turns out I actually had a crush on him when I was 8 and he was 12. I find that pretty interesting that I would be attracted to the same guy 15 years later...

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Uncontrollable laughter bring me and fake-boyfriend together

Arrived totally unprepared for my abnormal psychology midterm today. Who the hell knows what norepinephrine or cortisol or serotonin have to do with anorexia? Who cares, in fact? I skipped through all the science bullshit while studying, being a true sociologist at heart, and I got slammed for it.

The best part of it all was the following: They had four 'versions' of the test printed on pink, green, blue, or yellow paper. As soon as the tests were delivered to us I, of course, compared tests with my friend beside me and realized that the only difference between them was indeed paper colour. I sincerely tried not to cheat! I didn't actually cheat, but it was difficult to keep my eyes from wandering. I have a wandering eye, after all.

At some point during the test the prof realized that everything didn't quite add up so she announced that we should all write the colour of our test on the scantron so that marking would be possible. I looked up with a look of, basically "what the hell is she talking about?" only to catch my TA-fake-boyfriend's eye. He was grinning which subsequently caused myself and my friend beside me to suffer from a bout of unstoppable, uncontrollable laughter. In the middle of a test!! I tried my best to stop but I could see her shoulders shaking out of the corner of my eye and thus I couldn't do anything about it, except knock my scantron sheet off my miniature corner desktop onto the floor a row ahead of me. Luckily with my go-go gadget arms I was able to reach it and continue filling in circles randomly until I was done.

I brought my test up to the front and my almost-boyfriend shook his head and smiled at me, making a "shhh" gesture. "What?" I whispered. "No laughing in a test" he replied.

Later we joked with him about getting bonus marks for being the only ones to notice. Probably not a realistic request since we're the only ones who are damn obvious cheaters.

He loves me, that much is clear.

Aquarians have no tact

One time in grade eight I was somehow involved in a conversation about sex with some seventh graders. One girl had absolutely no idea about anything. I can't remember the details of her lack of knowledge, but I do recall that I said in front of everyone "doesn't your mother tell you anything?!?" I found out later that her mother had passed away.

A few years later in grade 9 or 10 I was sitting with a large group of people during lunch period. For some reason I brought up the topic of a girl in our grade who had been claiming that her parents were getting a divorce. I told everyone that I thought she was a liar. Everyone fell silent and I realized she was sitting just two people down from me.

I never fail to say the wrong thing at the wrong time. People make fun of me for pointing. I ain't got no tact, man.

Four months!

Things to look forward to:

1) Getting this abnormal psych midterm out of the way - today

2) Reading week! - Friday afternoon

3) Finish stats midterm - hopefully next week sometime

4) Using my Indigo gift certificates - this week

5) Finishing classes - April 6th

6) Finishing exams - sometime thereafter

7) Freedom! - late April

8) Shopping for year in Korea - May

9) Graduation - May 8th

10) Signing contract - May

11) Departure!!!! - June 15th approx.

I can't wait, I can't wait, I can't wait.

Monday, February 14, 2005

My first kiss

In honour of Valentine's Day I will reminisce about an important event in every person's life: my first kiss.

It was the summer of '98 between grades 9 and 10, which means I was 15 years old. I was at summer camp having the best time of all the years I had spent there, both before and after that year. I had a crush on a boy back at home named Tom but upon revealing my secret to him he had decided that we should remain just 'friends'. Ouch.

So at camp I met this boy named Allan who was a year older than me. During the last week of camp we hung out quite a bit, I think because we were on the same colour war team. I think we might have sunk a canoe together in the waterfront regatta. One evening our two age levels took a trip to see the Ottawa Linx' baseball team play, and on the bus ride back to camp Allan and I sat together and held hands. (Since then I often precede relationships and things with hand holding before even vocalizing attraction. I wonder if that's common with most people.) I was nervous that he'd kiss me at the end of the bus ride but thankfully it didn't happen.

The next night colour war ended. We watched the closing ceremonies and then instead of returning to our respective cabins we walked over to the dance stage and sat down. Just as he was about to kiss me I blurted out that I hadn't done this before. I was a loser. Note the 'was'. Then it happened. I remember hearing the voices of everyone around filled with excitement of the night's event. I could hear my counsellor telling everyone to return to their bunks. I remember thinking, this is it?? I can remember the feeling of his slimy tongue. I returned to my cabin and looked in the mirror, perhaps expecting something to be different.

My friends asked me if he was a good kisser, but I had no idea how to tell. Here's the trick they taught me that I have incorporated into my judgement key: If you feel a circle of film around your face, he slobbered too much.

We made out for the next few days of camp and then never talked to each other again. Ahh, the simplicity of early romance.

I left my bike chained to the fence all winter long. Here it sits with its other abandoned and maltreated fellow bikes, accumulating rust and cracking rubber. There are a lot of things I should do. I should call people. I should take care of my things. I should change the reflectors on my bike so that the white one is in the front like it's supposed to be.

This picture captures my feelings about Valentine's day here in Hamilton. The weather sucks. It's garbage day. There is a sheet of ice that caused my foot to slip off the sidewalk into a waiting puddle. Where is my love to keep me warm? :)

Sunday, February 13, 2005

And finally, the decorations were enjoyed by all. In conclusion, a successful birthday party. I love cheese.

Here is the spread. Wow, you say? That's right, it's beautiful. The cheese selection consisted of, from left to right: cream, havarti with sundried tomato, goat cheese, provalone, brie, and a mystery cheese that started with an Fr but I couldn't understand the cheese-woman's pronunciation or spelling. It was very delicious; something like a stronger mozzarella. We've also got a nice selection of wine, bread, grapes, and juices. Mmm mmm. Note my two new plants courtesy of Wendy and Andrea.

It all started with pre-party decorations. I find it particularly pleasing to create personalized confectionaries for guests. It makes them feel special, and who doesn't want to feel special? Unfortunately I forgot some people... oops!

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Seven minutes until party time

Hello gang.

No posts today because I turned on my computer, wrote a Happy Birthday to me post, and then my internet crashed. We waited all day to see if it would be fixed, then called the internet provider for assistance. When we attached the modem directly to Rick computer it worked. My computer is broken! No!!

I bought the cheese, put up streamers, and made cupcakes. Now all I need is guests.

Peace out, playas.

Friday, February 11, 2005

And now one for those of you who are impresed by snow shots. I am a big fan of sepia mixed with film grain. This picasa program is an amateur's dream. Speaking of which, my parents have said that I can choose a digital camera for my graduation gift. Anyone have recommendations? I want it to take pictures of my trip to Korea. I don't have too much photograhy knowledge but I'd like to progress. I want to be able to take short videos with sound, to have a quick shutter speed, and at least 3.2 mgb.

You have one new message

Telephone message from ex-boyfriend:

Hi Jessica, it's Michael calling.

Just calling to wish you a, uhh, happy birthday.

I had an outlook or uhhh, entourage or whatever it is, notification on my computer set up so it popped up to remind me that it was your birthday.

But anyway, so uhhh happy birthday. Happy uhh, what is it now, twenty two? And.. uhh, that's it. Bye bye.

Man. I thought I had no more ill feelings for the guy. Why not just say Happy Birthday Jess. Hope it's a good one. Grrr.

Or here. If there's a place that takes my breath away it's a desert. I'll never forget the sight of camels running. They're pretty agile, believe it or not.

Or here...

And I was told this picture wouldn't turn out. Oh to be here again.

Boardroom #2

Tonight Orbit$ and Gravity meet once more to determine the winner of the second Apprentice challenge at McMaster. This time the company is Frito Lay and the challenge was to sell as many potato chip display cases as possible to two neighbourhood grocery stores. Points are alloted to teams based on both display case size (S, M, or L) and position in the store. Free chips will be provided. Whoo!

To recap, Rick is my brother and he is on Orbit$ so that is the team to root for. They scored huge at the Fortino's nearby and did fairly well at the Barn so we'll see how they fared against Gravity. Last week, though they won the challenge, Orbit$ was criticized for unprofessional presentation. Hopefully they can pull up their socks this week and win without flaws!

After that my parents are taking us all out for a birthday dinner. Wonder where I'll decide to go. Options are slim in Hamilton.

Post Script: in lieu of posting too many daily posts I will opt to edit this and announce that Orbti$ won by a landslide, hands down. The next challenge is to sell as many tickets to a football day thing that's happening in September (!) and for which tickets cost $29. Good luck, team.

Let your honesty shine, shine shine.

It all started when... I recently saw a play called "Take Me Out" about baseball and homosexuality and various other things (most notably it featured plenty of full frontal male nudity; I've never seen a side-by-side comparison in all my days!). I mention it here because it began with a narrator trying to pinpoint the moment when a series of events began. There was no beginning because everything was precluded by something else.

I could say it started when I fell in love, or when my heart was broken, or when I spent time healing, or when months passed and I felt good, or when we reunited for a week of imagining things were different, or when I grew up in Israel. Instead I'll choose to begin the story when my parents and I went to Ogunquit, Maine about five days after my return from Israel and maybe three days before the beginning of school. The weather was too chilly for the beach and there's nothing much to do in Ogunquit so we ate a lot of lobster and fried clams. And we went to see a movie; the only one playing in an old, run-down movie house along the main drag. We hadn't heard anything about Garden State, but decided to go and see it for lack of anything better to do.

I can't say it blew me away. I did like it. My parents didn't really enjoy it too much, but I remember feeling disappointed when it ended, not because the ending was bad but because I wanted to continue to watch these characters live. I remember feeling particularly moved by the kiss (as it happens to be a particularly moving kissing scene as some of you well know).

I returned to school and went on as normal for about two months when I was looking up reviews for "I Heart Huckabees" which I was planning on seeing. I found a review that compared it to Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Garden State. Suddenly I remembered Garden State. I don't know what it was, but it just hit me. I went to the movie website (which still exists and is good) and watched all the video clips, read all the things there are to read, and looked at countless "original moments". If you haven't seen it, I urge you to check it out. The background music mixed with everyone's special memories were extraordinarily emotional for me. I then went a little crazy and got the soundtrack, read, and continue to read, Zach Braff's blog (part of the reason I am writing here today) and ordered a poster.

I felt like I actually missed the characters. Now, I must say here that I rarely care about movies or anything like this. I don't care about Hollywood stars, I don't really watch TV much, I like movies but I usually don't think too much about them once I've left the theatre. When something leaves me thinking I know it's good. I went to see the movie two more times in theatres, and then bought the DVD when it came out in December.

Okay, enough of this timeline. What did I like so much about it? I'm a little bit apprehensive to take on the task of describing what it is that gets me. I'll try my best.

* Watching the characters is like watching people. Much like reading a blog, you feel like you're seeing real things happen and like you are involved in real life. They're not too unbelievable (although some might argue otherwise), the things they do and say seem real. Everything seems real. Real real real.

* I love this stage in a relationship that we get to watch between Sam and Large. That beginning period when everything is brand new. Sam catches Large up on her life by showing him herself; her room, her photographs, her personality. I love that about meeting a person you really connect with and having endless amounts of things to tell them.

* I love how they don't kiss right away. It seems like for so many people things progress incredibly fast; faster than they should. We kiss people we don't even care for. Even in most movies there's usually an accelerated feeling of time and 'events'. By holding off on that level of closeness it says something about them. I can't put it into words very well.

* I love the colours and the simplicity of the shots. Every scene is beautifully done.

* I love the typical scenes to love; the backyard, the pool, the fireplace, the quarry, the bathtub, the airport. I love the small characters; the knight, Mark's mom, Carl. I don't like the dumb girl who wants bread and the less hot girl in the basement scene, but what can you do.

* I love how Large tells Sam to "look at me" when she's crying. Isn't that the most unfair thing to ask? For someone to expose themselves that way. But when someone you love asks you to do that you also somehow get pleasure out of them seeing you with tears. Something about that..

I could go on.

And I will.

I left my DVD at Jordana's house and it's pathetic but true that I feel a little antzy about leaving it there. (Don't worry, Jordy, I can handle it). I like to have my favourite DVD's in their place. I only have about five of them and when they're all together it's comforting. There's a strange confession for ya.

Back to the question of when it all started... I wanted to include that because there are things that have happened to me in the last couple of years that have created me. Without feeling real love and then real pain I wouldn't be able to relate to things like this. They wouldn't have had the same effect on me. That's why up until lately I haven't had too many things to be passionate about. Having experienced intense emotions I can react in a more sensitive way to the world around me.

And that is what I did on my summer vacation.

Post-script: I just re-read this and I don't like how I've written it. I'm going to stick with it though.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Sorry Larry

I know, I know! That post sucked! But what's a girl to do? I can't be perfect all the time.

I had band. We played music. It was fun. Everyone sitting around me has a boyfriend or girlfriend though, not that I CARE exactly, but still it was noticeable.

I am now going to a friend's house with my Garden State DVD in tow. Stay tuned for my next entry: Garden State and What it Means to Me.

PS: 400+ visitors! Whoo!

More inconsistency

I gave the student's paper 58%.

The prof gave it 68%.

Andrea gave it 69%.

Jen gave it 70.5%.

Ellen gave it 60%.

I'm the 'tough' marker.

No, really, I think the paper probably deserved 65% or less. It was a tough one definitely.

In a class of mine the TA's are grading the papers but the prof is reading them all and has the final word on the grade. How's that for ensuring consistency? Another prof I had once would read all the papers through once, then read them again and mark them so that he knew what the expectations should be. Wow. That's dedication. I'm not that dedicated.


I can't get this. I can, I can, I can. But I can't. I've been trying to figure out how to form deviation regresors for a two-way anova so that I can then confirm that the sum of squares can be obtained in various insane ways that inclue formulae with lots of greek letters in them.

To top it all off a second picture fell off my wall.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Another essay

One more interesting thing for you. The other TA's and I are marking another essay together before the students hand them all in to get a sense of conformity between us.

This time the paper was on autonomy. It was so heavily referenced that I could hardly even tell what the student was trying to say; every SINGLE sentence ended with (Cooper, 2004) or some such citation. And Ellen, the TA who has him as a student, said he's smart and predicted a good mark out of him so I feel kind of funny that I gave the paper a 58%. I'll let you know tomorrow what everyone else gave the kid.

Okay, okay, he's older than me, but whatever.

Nightmares of numbers

A bad habit I have developed is falling asleep when I really should be working on something. So this afternoon I have my weekly statistics homework to do; the work that I don't understand and that I know will be frustrating and time consuming. So, obviously I was very tired and told myself that I should take a nap. That was 5:30. Now it's 7:30. The funniest part is that during my sleep I dreamt about being in stats class. It was brutal. I even dreamt that I was late coming back to the class after a break and when I returned there was a Spanish presentation going on and I couldn't find my class anymore (thanks for dinner tonight, D'Arcy...). When I inadvertently woke up I half-consciously willed myself to go back to sleep.

Yes, I'd rather sleep than face my obligations. I can forsee this habit becoming a problem. Or maybe I'll be diagnosed with something like chronic fatigue syndrome and all my problems will slip away as I get carried along by the system.

Though I do like the blogger trick of keeping personal identity somewhat mysterious, I wanted to show you mine and D'Arcy's fashion prowess. These parkas are tres chic this season. Hey, D'Arce, I just realized you got yours last season! Well done! Jaja.

An interrupted sleep

This is probably the third time in the last few weeks that my Billie Holiday poster (see photo from a few days ago) has fallen down in the middle of the night. Usually just a corner comes unattached and it swings down, waking me up to fix it. Tonight the entire thing fell right down onto me. Aghhh! Imagine waking up to find a lifesize x3 Billie falling over you. It's not pleasant.

I bought that blue sticky stuff to hang all my wall things but apparently the stuff works better on those plastered brick school walls than the walls of my apartment. Well, the blue stuff sticks permanently to the wall but the posters continue to fall. What a dilemma.

I've had a few more confirmees for my party, which makes it 9 for sure and two stopping by. Some people never even RSVP'd. Isn't that crazy? Always RSVP, even if you can't go! That's my motto...

Ever been tempted to try Honey Nut Harvest Crunch? Don't bother. It's got nothing on Original and Almond.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Spread 'em. Or part for the cross. Or maybe, peace.

Ever wonder which berries are okay to eat? I'm guessing the answer is not these ones...

strike! strike!

We TA's have supported a strike mandate which means that by as early as February 28th I could be a picketer. I have always snubbed my nose at picketers.

Today my stats prof said that if there is indeed a strike he is inclined to move the class off campus so we can avoid crossing the picket line. There are only five students anyway, so logistically it wouldn't be so complicated. I asked where we would move it to and he said probably somebody's house. He lives an hour away and according to my calculations I am the closest person with the most appropriate space for such meetings.

It would be so weird to have my professor teaching in my living room. I spent the entire three hour class (we ended an hour early.. yes!) imagining various scenarios of class time at my place; offering up snacks at break time. My prof using my mint green seventies bathroom. Having to clean thoroughly each Monday afternoon. Allowing my classmates to check their email in my bedroom. Strange is what it would be. Very strange.

This week we talked about one and two way ANOVA's, and that's about as much as I can say about that since I had very little clue about what we were learning. I'm dead meat.

Hiding from small talk

On January 6th I was innocently downloading music for free from soulseek, a pretty good downloading program for indie rock and other less mainstream stuff that works off other people's computers. Suddenly someone messaged me about recommendations for Nina Simone music. We ended up chatting for some time. He is from Greece and he was annoyed at the government's encouragement to get involved with the Olympics, amongst other things.

Since then I have been hesitant to go online on my soulseek account because I just don't feel like talking to him. I've been banished from my music download site. Noo!! I am just being silly becuase I'm sure there's a way to avoid being seen online but I'm not sure how to do it, and in order to find out I'll have to go back online.

Small talk is sometimes manageable but most times unpleasant. It's always the same garbage. Around here you ask "are you in school, what program, what year, where are you from, what are you going to do next year. Okay. Great.. well, nice to have met you". Abroad you meet other travellers and the conversations are more or less the same, though may include "how long have you been travelling, where else have you been, where are you going next", etc.

This summer I remember hitting a wall of ability to continue these types of conversations and just craving something more. Something! Where oh where could those somethings be?

That's part of the reason why reading other people's blogs is so interesting. You get to skip the bullshit and head right to what they are really thinking. Even if they're not really thinking it and are just concocting things to think about, at least they are sometimes interesting.

I like cheese

Yesterday I never changed out of my pajamas. No school on Mondays, what a shame. Today I have my usual Tuesday nine hours at school so I'm making up for yesterday's sloth-like behaviour.

So far I have five definites coming to my party, two maybe's from out of town friends, and two "we might stop by" responses. What's with that? Obviously I know what that means. You want an escape so you'll rsvp with a "we might stop by" to secure a get away. It's blasphemous! They could have at least told me that they had other plans so they would come for as long as possible or something. Something! Ah well, when they get here they'll never want to leave. It's understandable since they're friends in class but we have yet to make the transition to out of school. That's sometimes an awkward transition to make.

I don't know what kind of wine people will bring, but I have to decide on the cheese. I want cheese that you know of but are not quite sure what it tastes like. I'm not sure what kind. Rick suggested cream cheese. Are you nuts? I might as well serve Kraft slices while I'm at it. And maybe cheese strings! Maybe I'll get a cheesecake too. That would be acceptable and fit with the theme.

Off to school I go.

Could things go any slower?

This is the point where one feels like time has stopped. There's a chronology that I have uncovered in my time as a student. Here it is:

First year: You feel happy to be a part of this new system. You think your friends are the greatest. You relish your new found freedom and independence. You take up drinking.

Second year: You break up with your residence boyfriend/girlfriend and realize that student house living isn't as great as you imagined. You begin to understand the difference between friends and those you can live with. You wonder when school got hard.

Third year: You are forced to come to some kind of decision regarding what you want to do upon graduation because you realize time is a tickin'. Your friends drop like flies from the 'undecided' camp, abandoning you in uncertainty. You come up with some uninspired plan that will tide you over for a while. You find out who you are. You start to get restless in the small town you chose to go to school in.

Fourth year: You feel too big for the chairs (in the I'm so old kind of way), and talk amongst your friends as if you've been around campus for ages. "When I was in first year we had to walk ten kilometeres to get to the cafeteria". You start having fun and going out. You exercise and study. You make friends with profs. You make rash decisions to go to Korea, putting aside your plan from third year.

Fourth year, second semester: You feel like time has stopped as you count the months, and days, and hours until you walk across the stage to receive your diploma . You stop exercising and eat whatever passes by. You don't feel like being friendly to the geeks in band 'cause you're leaving anyway. You spend your time blogging like a geek in band.

Okay, so maybe it's not completely accurate for everyone, but wow, does it every apply to me! Amazing! I'm good.

Such Great Heights

This is my grandparent's living room. Very little has changed since I can remember. My grandfather painted the pictures on the wall and sometimes switches them up, but they always look more or less the same. The plants never die. The almonds are always there. The rocking chair is never sat on. Maybe even that pile of newspapers is the same. The carpet used to be a bright blue, I'm pretty sure. My grandfather sits in a chair that we cannot see. On the right, next to the window. My grandmother sits on the left. There they have sat together in that house for almost fifty years. And before that for even more. Perhaps I should shut up about time being too slow.

Monday, February 07, 2005

An investigation

Because of my last post and larry's subsequent response, I decided to do an investigation to see a) what the average height is in Korea, and b) what the average height is in Canada to draw conclusions regarding how much of a sore thumb I will stick out as.

Here are the results:

According to a 2001 Sports Indicators of Korea published by Korea Sport Science Institute, the average height of a modern Korean, ages 25-29, is 173.0 centimeters for men and 160.9 centimeters for women. That translates to an average height of 5'2'' for women and 5'6'' for men.

Some random website posted Canadian results as such: Average height of women (Canadian) is 163 centimeters, or 5 feet 4 inches. Average height of men (Canadian) is 178 centimeters, or 5 feet 10 inches.

Korean to Canadian average for women is, then: 5'2'' to 5'4''
Korean to Canadian average for men is, then: 5'6'' to 5'10''

It's surprising that there is a four inch difference between men and a two inch difference between women. Hmmm...

Here in Canada I am taller than probably 9.5/10ths of the other women I encounter. I am probably taller than 7.5/10ths of the men I encounter. A comment is made about my height by approximately 75% of the people I meet for the first time.

Here is an equation to calculate the sore thumbiness that I will experience in Korea:

6 inches taller than the average male + curly hair ( - very dark, almost black hair and eyes) + English foreigner status = huge sore thumb.

I'll thank my lucky stars I don't have blonde hair and huge breasts. Phewf.

More about Korea

I've been spending time reading other people's blogs who are in Korea (particularly Korea Life Blog) and so I feel as though I have a pretty good understanding of what I will encounter. Most bloggies make comments about how they are constantly the center of attention. People stop them in the street to call out hello and it's funny at first but eventually grows tiresome.

On the Footprints website they provide some information and I was reading about what to pack. They said that if you are a girl who weighs more than 120 pounds or are bigger than size 8 you will have a very difficult (if impossible) time finding any clothes. Well, as it happens I am six feet tall and can't remember the time when I weighed 120 pounds or was a size 8. The issue isn't that I will be unable to buy clothes, or at least pants and shoes, for one year. What may become an issue is that I'll be a giant! Yes, a giant! People in Canada are taken aback by my height. Imagine what it will be like in Korea.

Ah well. Maybe it'll be fun. Hopefully I don't make small children cry out in the street.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

The front wall: from left to right: maps of insignificant American cities, New York City in 1949, NYC subway, more maps, Calendar, my sheep, bulletin board, computer (this is where the magic happens).

The back wall. From left to right: some Van Gogh flowers, Billie Holiday, Garden State, Tel Aviv roads.

I have faith in the cookie

Three intermissions!

Well, this afternoon was a long haul, and yes, my mom did fall asleep but only for the first of four acts so it wasn't terrible. Our seats were really great. Row C more or less in the center.

Did I enjoy it? Did I enjoy it? Did I enjoy it? It was a good opera. What do I know about operas? Not much. I know that I don't love the opera. The two couples sitting behind us flipped through the advertisement for next years season and discussed which operas they would go and see. They sounded pathetic and showy. If there's something I don't like it is showiness. Or at least rich snobbiness. Snobbery, if you like. The opera is full of that. Worse than the symphony and much worse than the theatre. Much much much worse than musical theatre. We won't even get into sporting events... I like a balance, I guess.

The sets were beautiful. Falling snow was particularly effective. The voices were impressive but the style is not for me. Italian, lacking in melody, very opera-y. The story line was incredibly simple; the characters lacking depth. That is probably characteristic of operas in general.

It was interesting to find the links between Rent and La Boheme, and there were many. One melody made it into Rent - Musetta's waltz.

We left the theatre and were among the many that passed by the homeless beggar, giving nothing, after dropping serious cash on a three hour performance that we only enjoyed to a point.

La Boheme

At 2:00 I am heading downtown with my mamma to see La Boheme. To prepare, I blasted my Rent soundtrack on the drive home and sang along at the top of my lungs. The fog was so thick along the road, but Rent kept me safe and sound. ;)

When I was a kid I had friends who always wanted to make up dances. Ugh, I hated making up dances. I took ballet when I was a toddler and hated it. I took jazz lessons in kindergarten and thought they were treating us like miniature sex objects. I was forced to dance on the searing hot outdoor dance stage and couldn't wait for it to end. I even, for some reason, took dance lessons again in grade five. It was never very enjoyable and I never did well.

The only time I did slightly enjoy this kind of thing was when musical numbers were involved. I remember making up chorography to "Light My Candle", a really great musical dialogue from Rent. We did a dance number to another song from the same musical at camp and that I thoroughly enjoyed.

I'm not really going anywhere with this post - just reminiscing about the good ol' days.

The second time I really actually enjoyed dancing was when Wendy and I went to Cuba two years ago. Those Cuban men certainly know a thing or two. I never had so much fun twirling and shakin' my hips. Never before and never again.

Back to today, I'm seeing La Boheme which, in case you didn't know, was the inspiration for Rent. My mom got supreme-o seats apparently, which will be much better than my last opera experience when I saw Turandot from the very last seat on the third balcony. With binoculars I could hardly make out the figures on stage. Hopefully my mom can stay awake this time. Though even a play with full frontal male nudity wasn't enough to keep those heavy lids from falling. (Of course she woke up for all the nude bits). Hehe.

By the way, Wendy, sorry but my book collection remains in my possession.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

There's that feeling again

About two years ago I decided it was time to become passionate about things. You know that ever driving desire to be passionate. I think people strive for two things in life; passion and connection. But that's another post altogether.

So in order to find my passion I thought long and hard about what had elicited really powerful positive emotions over the course of my life. And, sappy as this may sound, what struck me was the experience of playing in bands. That breathless, envigorated, proud moment of playing a song through from start to finish, and doing a great job at that, is a feeling that really gets me. The bum stuck to your chair heart pumping eyes watering kind of feeling. Maybe you know it. Maybe not.

So I picked up my dusty trumpet after three years of assuming I wasn't good enough to get into the university band. I took private lessons for a few months and then this year auditioned for the University Concert Band. And I got in! Success! It never felt so sweet to see my name printed on a list.

The feeling I recall does not occur as often as I might have hoped. I have the part of one of three third trumpets so I don't exactly get to 'sing out' the way I remember doing in the good ol' days of being the only trumpet player in my class. (Ahh, grade nine music class playing That Thing You Do... the memories). But every once in a while it strikes me.

Tonight we played our second concert of the year and we were great. You should have heard the dead air that hung for eternity (slight exaggeration) when we finished in unison an energetic, loud piece. Our instruments suspended in the air waiting for the conductor to drop his arms. That is why I love it.

Cornell University's wind ensemble played with us tonight and they were really amazing, too.

So, that's delicious food, crowds singing together, and a perfect finish that make me happy to be alive.

Tigger was a good cat, and this is a good photo of him.

Finding Neverland

Loved the kids, and most of all the kite scene. Am now officially a Johnny Depp fan but will not add the movie to my list of favourites. The flashes to make-believe were pretty fan-ferkin-tastic, however (that's the one and only time I will be making that joke). Garden State still number one.

Writing this way because of v. funny Bridget Jones novel.

This is the last time I'll be writing this way.

I butchered this picture trying to make it look decent. It still doesn't, but there's nothing I can do. So each team made their presentation and then the judges went to discuss the verdict for maybe half an hour. It was quite a deliberation period. They came back in and massacred Orbit$ Corp with criticism. They didn't use enough numbers, their plan would create unwanted turmoil between franchises, etc. They had nothing but praise, it seemed, for the other team. Until the last second when they commended Orbit$ for a really creative idea and announced them as champions! I was so happy and filled with sisterly pride. Go brother go! Then the next company, FritoLay came and announced the next competition, which is a dumb one about trying to display potato chips in grocery stores. The best part of the night was getting to take all the bags of chips that you see in the background. We stole, oh, say 20 bags. Maybe he'll use them for promotion. Or for lunches.

We were all very excited and nervous. That's not me on the left. Nor on the right.

Today was a pretty busy day with tutorials, class, meetings, coffee, and Rick's first competition. Here is a picture of the atrium where the presentations took place. Each team made a marketing pitch to solve the Firken problem. Rick's team, team Orbit$ Corps, pitched the Firken Safari consisting of encouraging visits to multiple locations, and other ideas that were good but too complicated to explain here. The other team, team Gravity Inc. pitched some idea about playing poker in the bar and heating patios for those damn smokers.

Friday, February 04, 2005

I have arrived

I have finally arrived on Google. Now all those people in my life who MUST be searching for me like I'm searching for them will be able to find me.

I must rethink this...

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Where is my roommate?

Rick hasn't been home much lately, because of this crazy Apprentice competition. I am home alone. Who needs him anyway. Older brothers are overrated. Anyone need to rent a room?

I finally finished planning for tomorrow's classes. They're on work and occupations. You know how you sit at work wasting time, playing online, stealing things, and messing around all the time? Well guess what! It's not your fault. It's because you are alientated and powerless and you are innocently trying to regain control. I was happy to find that one out. I thought I just had a terrible work ethic.

What in the world is up with this strange lady? She walks with her mittens up and down the main drag to school, getting in the way of all the students that are trying not to drench their shoes and stain their pants with salt. Which reminds me. Why is Hamilton too cheap to have those little sidewalk plough cars? Instead, people are expected to shovel the piece of sidewalk in front of their house. Of course the students don't shovel their sidewalk piece, and the entire thing turns into a sheet of ice after all the feet trample down the knee high snow. And this lady isn't helping! She's always walking up and down, up and down. Sloooww as can be. Who is she?!

You can never be too careful

I left a nice piece of salmon thawing in the microwave from about 10am until about 9pm. Do you think it's safe to eat? Now it's in the fridge passing its salmonella (ha!) germs onto my yogurt and kiwi. No!

I have a hard time with possibly bad food. Like I bought this little container of sprouts the other day, last week to be exact, and because I know when you buy a bag of those white stirfry sprouts they go bad really quickly, I thought that my container sprouts were bad about five days after I bought them. I could have sworn that they smelled funny. Who knows if they really did, but I threw them out anyway.

It's the same with sliced meat. This turkey breast I got, I think it was Butterball. It felt a little slimy-er than I thought it was supposed to be so I just left it in the fridge where it still is now, but it certainly won't be consumed.

I should just forget about it, remember that there are starving children in the East end, and toss it down.

Sorry, Jord, that I didn't come to Boston pizza. I was too busy planning... crap! Blogging is ruining my life! But look, over 200 visitors!

Stars are out tonight

Walking over to band I ran into him, my TA fake-boyfriend! I'm almost positive he lives in either my building or the building beside mine. You see, he was crossing Main St. right where I always cross, and there are no other buildings around us or in practical walking distance. And I've seen him around these parts on other occassions. Wow! I'll have to do some investigative work.

I was trudging along with trumpet in hand, huge hood on, and ipod blaring, so I smiled and nodded, perhaps made some sound, and I'm pretty sure he said hello or something of the sort.

It wasn't exactly a confession of love, but it was close enough. My heart raced. My palms sweat(ed?). Well, one did because I have lost my other mitten. My heart really did race. Funny since I don't ACTUALLY like the guy. Now my ears burn. Maybe he's talking about me.

Gotta finish planning my tutorials. BAhh! I hate Thursdays!

Wine and cheese

Thinking about my birthday and potential birthday plans. I remember when I was a kid my mother always threw the best birthday parties for me. We used to play games like Red Light, Green Light and Pick Up As Many Cotton Balls With a Serving Spoon As Possible While Blindfolded. Then we would eat mini hotdogs and delicious chocolate birthday cake. One time we went on a horse drawn carriage. One time we had a Valentine's day theme and gave everyone a rose. When my oldest brother stopped having birthday parties I couldn't believe it, or understand it.

Then I got older, maybe it was around grade 6, and finally I understood. You can't invite all the kids in your class when you get to that age. Invites become a major consideration and it's usually not worth the effort or the nervousness to consider who to invite, and to subject yourself to possible embarassment when people come over expecting to have a good time. Since then I have had a variety of birthday celebrations. I can't remember any of them.

For the last two years I have suffered heart break RIGHT before my birthday. Matt and I broke up two years ago on February 4th. So I spent my birthday packing and heading off to Cuba. That, I must admist, wasn't too bad. Last year Michael and I broke up on the 27th of January. I had a gathering of girlfriends join me for dinner at Pizza Hut; a good old fashioned birthday party complete with free dessert. My advice to you is to try not to break up with a boyfriend right before a special event. It certainly takes away from the pleasantries...

This year there has been no heart break, so I suppose there is double call for celebration. I'm considering my options. The day also falls on a Saturday, so that's convenient as nobody can get off with the excuse of having a midterm the next day.

That reminds me of another thing. I hate it when friends opt out of celebrating someone else's birthday for a reason that they could have controlled. Like a test or being really tired, or something dumb like that. Birthday's only come once a year and usually if people are asking you to come they really do want you to. It takes away from their day if nobody comes, and that's why kids stop having birthday parties at such a young age. Dammit!

Anyway, back to me. I'm thinking of having a gathering here at my apartment. Jordana and I were just discussing having a bake-off but perhaps that's asking too much, and isn't as fun as this idea: a wine and cheese tasting. Everyone can bring a different kind of wine and cheese and we can all taste it, or taste it all. Mmm mmm wine and cheese. Then we can get good and drunkenly full. I think it's a plan. Invitations will be sent out ASAP.

A 15% range ain't bad

The professor gave the essay "no more than a 65%"

Jen gave it a 57%

Andrea gave it a 63%

Ellen gave it a 71.5%

I gave it a 62%

I think the results are pretty interesting. It's good that we were mostly on the same page, but it also shows the subjectivity of attaching a grade to a piece of writing. Everyone agreed with the problems of the paper but we all have a somewhat different idea of what percentage those problems warrant.

Reach. Stretch. Tangle. The trees are getting more love than I am. Sigh.

More shoes.


Soon the students that I am a teaching assistant for will have to submit a ten page term paper on 'anything sociological'. I personally feel like this is a very broad guideline (not to mention a pretty long paper for first year students) so it's not surprising that they have no idea what they're doing.

The prof I am working for has photocopied one student's essay (note to self: never hand a paper in early) and distributed it to the four TA's for us all to grade. We are meeting this morning to discuss the paper and how it should be graded. I gave it a 62%.

The student wrote all about the changes in the Canadian immigration policy over time. Where is the sociology in that? The only thing that was sociological was the statement that the policy used to be racist and now isn't. That's bad bad bad, I think. I'm looking forward to seeing what grades everyone else gave this poor sod. Yes, I said sod. I wouldn't be surprised if we all gave vastly different grades.

It's funny, because I'm generally used to reading good writing, or at least properly edited writing, and now I will have to read shitty, misspelled, poorly thought out writing. And a lot of it. I'm guessing I'll have about 40 - 50 papers to read and grade. I can't concentrate on this stuff.

As a student you think that the person who grades your work knows something about what they're doing. But no, they probably really don't. Ha ha.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Having fun with this picture.

It was a real dilemma whether or not to post this photo. Can you guess what it is? You're wrong. It's a bone marrow hole. See that stain? It's seeping bone marrow. Mystery friend will certainly not appreciate the posting of this picture, but since she let me take it, I'll wage my bets.

And here is dinner, brought to you by D'Arcy and her master culinary skill. Vermicelli noodles with frozen veggies and alfredo sauce. When she came over here last we had frozen perogies with fried up onion and ham chunks. We are chefs extraordinaire!

Is this the loveliest kitchen you've ever seen?? I used to live in this student house and I think of this kitchen often. And by often, I mean never. When we signed the lease we asked if there was any way we could paint over the cupboards. Our landlord replied with shock and disdain "my father built these with his own two hands". Shit.

Here are the shoes hanging from a wire that I mentioned the other day. I experimented with black and white. Aren't they beautiful?

This is a picture of my neighbourhood. It is surrounding my school and used to be a very nice area. Actually, before it was a very nice area it was an anti-Semitic area. Now it's an over-run with students area. The street pictured here still holds onto some of its regular, honest working homeowner's.

I'll give you the bad news first

WIARTON, ONT. - Ontario's Wiarton Willie, Shubenacadie Sam in Nova Scotia and Punxsutawney Phil in Pennsylvania all emerged on Wednesday to give their prognostications on the coming weather. Sam and Phil both saw their shadows; Willie did not. So, in a 2-1 split decision, the groundhogs say we are headed for more winter.

This is no good. But, hey, six weeks goes by pretty quickly.

The good news is that I had visitors to my office hours; first a friend and her friend, who turned out to be an interesting person, which is rare and exciting. And second, a student who came for essay help.

Oh, and more pleasant things on my walk home: a terrier-type dog with something wrong with his back left paw was using both his front legs but hopping along on one back leg. Maybe it's cruel, but it made me chuckle. And a little child did a running long jump into a huge puddle and his mother smiled. I like that. Parents, let kids be kids and enjoy their energy and care-free spirit!! People all over the world, join hands. Form a love train, love train.

Tonight I have a dinner date with a certain bone-marrow-less friend of mine. She's making a supreme veggie surprise dish. I'm supposed to bring dessert or nothing. Hmmm...

Nothing happened

No, I did not post my brother's fabulous idea BEFORE the competition ended. That would be a really stupid thing to do because it is somewhat possible that a member of the opposite team has spies lurking in all unsuspecting places.

Note to spy: Orbit'$ idea is to sell smokes at the bar and to also give them away for free. Brilliant!

No news yet! I have found out the details though. Today marks the halfway point of winter. If the 'hog sees his shadow we have six more weeks of this blasted hell. If he doesn't, only two weeks. Come on clouds, work your magic!

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Final thoughts of the night

Well, there was no love tonight, but I'm not giving up. Not yet at least.

Tomorrow is the day I anticipate all year round. From February 2nd 2004 I have been counting down the days, scratching the numbers into my wall with a stolen box cutter. Do you know what day it is? Can you guess? It's groundhog day! I wonder if little, what's his name?? Pentacosta Phil. Hmm.. I can't quite recall nor do I feel like looking it up, but it's something along those lines. Anyway, I wonder if he'll see his shadow or not. I don't even know which to hope for, these crazy predictions are so confusing. Anyway, out like a lion, in like a lamb, that's what I'm hoping for.

Right... well... time for late night chicken souvlaki.


Fate at its finest

Do you believe in fate? Check out this timeline (excerpted from an email to a good friend AKA Wendy, and see if your answer changes.

And in a moment of true fate, my three year stalkee/TA/graduate student/guy I wouldn't be interested in if he weren't a grad student ran into me while we were both walking to (the same class). We talked,we joked, I tell you, love is on the horizon. Really, we're meant tobe and here is why (dates will be approximate) -

Thursday September 9th 2002: I feast my eyes on all his red-headed glory as he is the TA for my Developmental Psychology class.

Thursday April 12th 2003: After saying goodbye to new boyfriend Michael at bus station in Toronto, ex-TA walks on the bus and I say "hello, you were my TA, did you know? etc. etc."

Monday January 3rd 2004: Ahh, there he is again, my TA for Social Psychology.

Throughout the semester: He lectures, he's funny, he looks at me from his seat across the room, I swear!

Tuesday March 3rd: He asks me (me!) to hand out sheets to the class. Love, I tell you!

Wednesday March 11th: He lectures about personal attraction. I email him, remind him of our encounters, and ask if he needs a TA for his summer course that he is teaching. He responds, no he doesn't need aTA, but how was his lecture? I comment on his level of attractiveness.

Randomly since then: at the bar, on the street at night, walking to school during the day, at the bar again, in the summer in the psych building where we greet each other with familiarity.

Saturday December 18th 2004: At Quarter's, I see him, remind him again of our encounters, and we chat for a second until some girl comes andtakes him away (damn!), later in the night I pass him and eye contact is made. I say "aren't you a little old to be here?" He replies "just trying to pick up the younger chicks" I ask "how's that going" He says "not so well" I wish him luck and am on my way.

January 4th 2005: I notice he is the part time TA for my last psychology class - abnormal psychology. He won't be coming to class.

Two weeks ago: I am trotting along to class in the cold, eyes and nose dripping, face tired from four hours straight of statistics, when"Angels singing" there he is. He stops, I walk towards him. He asks"hey, where are you going?" I say "to the class that you are a TA for". We exchange about five minutes of perfect bliss as we walk to class together. He gets into class and looks around a little overwhelmed by the size. I offer him a seat with me. He says he better sit with the other TAs. They sit in a row in front of me without him, and he is stuck sitting all alone. Burn.

Tonight: Love, I tell you, love.

almost there...

Kicked butt on the art midterm. Well, at least I remembered all of the titles, artists, and dates. Hopefully the content was good too. Art history exams are brutal though... writing, writing, writing according to the prof's timing of the slide presentation.

Stats lecture was actually comprehensible. My prof cracked a joke today: Different slopes for different folks. HAHAHA. We laughed whole-heartedly. It's the only joke we've seen in weeks... like an oasis in an otherwise tumble-weedy desert.

Next up: abnormal psych. The prof is funny but teaches next to nothing in the two and a half hour class. Then again my non-boyfriend is the TA. That's a post in itself so I'll be sure to recreate the timeline of our love for you kind readers sometime soon. Or maybe immediately after I post this.

I found five chocolate covered raisins in my pocket just now. They were tasty.

D'Arcy donated bone marrow for some experiment so now she's $200 richer. Anything for a buck, eh lady? Let me know what money making scheme you're up to next!

Any ideas?

My less famous brother is about to become more famous. That's right, he's a contestant in McMaster University's version of "The Apprentice" and he wants to win win win. The rules are a little bit different; two teams of five compete against each other and instead of firing someone each week, an entire team of five will win at the end and will all be offered jobs with good companies. My brother's future is riding on this! And he needs YOUR help. No, he doesn't need it, but it could be of use.

So the first challenge, due at the end of this week, is to think of a campaign that will help bring customers back to the "Firken pub" chain. What with the new non-smoking bylaw, business is suffering an unprecedented loss. What would you do to bring the customers back?

Silky and smooth

So I recently went cheap and bought the no-name brand Herbal Essences knock off shampoo and conditioner and what a mistake it was! This morning for the first time I am trying Pantene Pro-V special for curly hair. I can't wait to see how it turns out. I know you can't either.

Today is test day, and 9 hours of class day. See you at the finish line.