Thursday, March 31, 2005

The TESL interview

I arrived punctually at 11:00am. The school is in run-down looking old house, one block West of Bathurst and Bloor on Markham St. I climbed up a short staircase with very low ceilings and entered the lobby which seemed very warm and welcoming; wood floors, pictures and signs all over the walls, couches and coffee, that kind of thing. Following the sign pointing towards the office, I introduced myself to some woman who was there and who gave me a quick ‘test’ to fill out.

The test kind of freaked me out because I didn’t read the instructions properly... oops! It said that ‘there are five errors in the following six questions. Correct them and explain the problem’. I interpreted that to mean that there were five errors in each of the six questions so I was searching for errors that didn’t exist. I figured it out quickly though, ‘cause I’m swift like that. Right. The sentences were things like ‘In Japan, if a woman wore shoes and a suit, she will be breaking the rules’. The problems were mostly a confusion of tenses and things. My essay grading really prepared me for this intense editing.

Then I had to write a paragraph about a positive or negative experience that I have had when learning a second language. Perhaps I should have chosen a positive experience but I didn’t. Instead I wrote about how much it sucked to learn Hebrew after school as a kid since all we would be taught was how to read and not how to understand or communicate effectively.

After I handed in my test, Tim came out to interview me. First of all, it’s really odd that I would have to be interviewed for a school like this where I am a paying customer. The TESL certificate course they offer is not so long or anything. I wonder why they need to interview, or if they turn anyone down. I guess they just wanted to see if I have a hope in passing, but they would get their money regardless, so I don’t get it.

Tim asked a number of questions like:

How important is it to teach perfectly correct grammar (like fewer instead of less)?

What kinds of language issues did you run into while traveling?

How would you conduct a class on traveling and what kinds of activities would you do in your classroom?

What kinds of teachers do you find the most effective?

As a swimming instructor, what methods worked the best for teaching skills?

My answers were all stellar. He said I used all the right catch phrases; demonstration, practice, manageable chunks, empathy, balance… blah blah blah.

So he announced with mild gusto that I am accepted into the program. He shook my hand.

I said that I had a few questions for him. I wanted to know if he had any alumni who are now working in South Korea that I could contact. I wanted to know what type of students take this class. I basically want to know if this course will be worthwhile for me, and though I don’t need it to be a soju-guzzling idiot English teacher like the rest of them, I do think that my teaching skills will benefit. I realize that the effectiveness of these English programs in Korea are often less than amazing, but I’d like to try to do a decent job while I’m there. Check out this guy’s blog if you’re interested in the reputation of English teachers over there.

I’m excited about the prospect of spending some time in the city before I take off. The city in the summer is my favourite. It’s alive and warm and exciting. Yee haw.

Oh, by the way, Tim has an extra long pinky fingernail. What do you think, drugs or guitar?

Motown, baby!

Man, I'm leaving this city in two weeks just when I've been introduced to a great place to go.

Karaoke was memorable, as per usual. The Backstreet Bar and Grill is a dumpy place with permanent Christmas decorations and lots of strange Hamilton inhabitants. Most people who frequent the place are either missing teeth, wearing shirts with embroidered scenery, or are drunk and passed out on the bar at four o'clock in the afternoon. Some of them can sing. Not Tammy, though. She stunk. Especially in her Eminem duet with her pony-tailed boyfriend. It's an intimate atmosphere, and it's fun to be oogled at by balding, inebriated men. Okay, only when you're desperate...

A word to the wise: Don't sing Eleanor Rigby unless you have a low voice. Otherwise you sound like crap (not carp) and everyone will point and laugh. Another word to the wise: These Boots were Made for Walkin' is a sure-fire crowd pleaser. Final word to the wise: Three pitchers turns three friends into cackling fools who offer each other love advice and touch each other in compromising areas for kicks.

We then stumbled over to this bar called Absinthe which is famous for its Wednesday night Motown party. It was awesome! Everyone was dressed up in crazy outfits and were hitting the dance floor to all the old Motown classics. Did you know that Motown is not a style of music but the name of a recording studio. I learned that in pop music class. What a great class. Seriously though, that's when I can have fun at a club; when people are there to dance and have a great time regardless of whether they get laid that night. We were dancing to dance, not to sell.

It was good to hang out with Ken again and it turns out he'll be moving to Toronto so I guess this isn't good-bye (or I love you) after all.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

I can hear the party

There's a party going on across the hall from where I sit, in celebration of Dr. Cuneo's lifetime achievement award. Grad students and profs are making noise and enjoying cake and other delicacies. I wrote a nomination letter for Dr. Cuneo, but alas, did not get invited to the party. I hope nobody walks by me. Someone just walked by me.

Some guy just came to pick up his paper and I internally cringed, knowing that he would be disappointed with his 66% grade. He questioned it and I told him to think about it, look over the comments, and prepare some well thought out reasons for why he deserves a better mark. I hope he doesn't bother to pursue it when he realizes that his paper was crap. Crap!

Tonight I'm going out for another 'goodbye friend' evening - to Backstreet Bar and Grill where many a fun time was spent singing karaoke and stumbling around drunk with good ol' Ken, my don or 'Community Advisor' from residence. And tomorrow is the interview for that TESL course.

Monday, March 28, 2005

What about your mind, does it shine?

I've spent all this time thinking and dreaming about graduating and leaving. Now, with a week and a half left of school and two more weeks of exams it has suddenly hit me. The people around me will no longer be. Those casual friendships that I take for granted will be gone, or they'll take real effort.

That's sad.

I just ate dinner with my first year boyfriend. I wonder if I'll ever see him again. My guess is probably, but you never know. And I'm not very good at being the one to make the effort, even though my intentions are real.

This weekend I ran into an old highschool friend at the video store. "Ms. Neuman!" I heard called from behind my back. I turned around and saw him, his hair longer, his glasses cooler, and his face the same. I had a strange crush on him back in highschool, but it was one that could never go anywhere. He was part of the 'gifted crowd'; a classical pianist proficient in French who was not held in such high regard by his non-gifted peers due to his dark scowl and somewhat arrogant demeanour. Maybe that's why I was drawn to him. Every day we passed in the music hall, passing by the big windows that I remember featured the words PROM painted in thick black letters for some longer-than-necessary period of time. I was heading to the math portables and he was probably coming from them. My heart would beat faster and I would touch his arm. Maybe he liked me too. We were friends. We watched some Disney movie on my couch and went out to a movie which his father drove us to. I hung out with the giftees and him. Then I probably was too cool for them and stopped hanging out.

He questioned my intentions to stay friends when I graduated and left school. I promised I would keep in touch. But I didn't.

At the video store this weekend my heart jumped when I turned around. After some brief catching up I said that we should get together. He rolled his eyes. I meant what I said, but you never know.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

And finally, so you can truly appreciate the academic bad-boy contrast.

Oh my god! Look at those cheeks!!!! Ha ha haha.

Here's another angle for you. Though this picture doesn't really do him justice.

Here he is as we know him. Can you imagine what's underneath those clothes? Rar.

The hottest professor in the department

All the sociology girls go crazy for Dr. Atkinson. It's kind of funny to see people's reactions when you mention his name. He's probably the youngest prof we have and he looks like a typical preppy young intellect; glasses, shirt and sweater vest, the whole deal. One day in class he rolled up his sleeves to reveal his arms completely covered in colourful ink. The murmer that went through class was unmistakable, and that is probably when Cupid's arrow struck most of the girls in the class. Something about an intellectual bad boy...

He did his PhD on tattoo parlours and figured he had to really experience the culture in order to understand it. I believe he's not studying people who cut off their own fingers and limbs.

Anyway, I did a search online because that's how I've been spending my weekend, and found out something interesting about our dear doctor.

The invitation

Dear Fellow Sociology Graduates,

It’s almost the end. We’ve been filling in scantron sheets and writing essays for four years now and it is really almost done. We’ve sat through Levitt’s quiet intellect and Atkinson’s fresh excitement. We’ve struggled through fallacies and standardized arguments, correlations and T tests. Many of us were even lucky enough to experience Dimitrova’s mini pony tail. Yep, we’re sociology students and we’ve been through quite a ride. And even though it has often felt as though we are a large group of strangers, we’ve been through it together.

We may not have the social solidarity of engineers or kin kids, sharing some common interest or lifestyle. What we share now is history, experience and memories.

And that is something to celebrate!


Come say goodbye to your friends (okay, acquaintances) and find out the name of that girl who you always say hi to but whose name you never knew.

Find out where people are heading next year (hopefully teachers college letters will be received by then…)

Eat FREE food generously paid for by the Sociology Society (and your student fees over the last four years…)

Celebrate the closing of this important part of your life with those who experienced it with you.

When: Your LAST day of undergrad - Wednesday April 6th @ 5:30pm until whenever the last person leaves.
Where: The Phoenix (in Wentworth House)
Why: FREE food, cake and other FUN things.

Last but not least, please RSVP to Jessica ( or Ellen ( with whatever funny answers you can come up with to this question:

In sociology I have learned...

To pronounce it Vaeber, not Webber.
What ‘chest plates’ are in terms of tattoo lingo.
To avoid Archibald’s classes at all costs.

You know, things like that.

Come to the party! Do it! See you there!

Friday, March 25, 2005

Gluttony is where it's at

It all started with eating all day long. But then it really started with a family outing for Korean food. We went to this little place on Yonge St. that we spotted during our drive-thru of little-little Korea. Though I don't remember the name I do recall that it had something to do with Traditional Korean food so we decided to give it a try.

The management was very friendly and excited that I am going to his country. His one piece of advice is to haggle over prices. Always haggle!!!

We got a pancake of some sort and various other side dishes to start. I had a soup with all kinds of things in it that I cannot name. My brother and Carina had a really delicious beef dish. And my father had ribs. We all had rice. My father has a healthy appetite.

So... we headed for Chinese afterwards. Yes it's true. I can't explain it either. I'm sick just thinking about it. In fact, I'm sick because of it. We went to this chinese food where my brother and father ate won ton soup, shrimp fried rice, and two kinds of chicken. I ate sweet and sour wontons. Deliciously fried. I thought I was going to die. I haven't felt that full since the last visit to my grandparent's house.

But we didn't stop there, oh no. We made one last stop to Shopper's Drug Mart to pick up a shitload of Easter chocolate. I know it's sick. It's a real problem. But it was delicious. This is what we got:

Cadbury Cream Eggs - 3 pack
Cadbury Mini Eggs - family pack
Mini Peanut Butter cups - one bag
Mini Lindt Chocolate Eggs - one bag
Solid Milk Chocolate Bunny - three kinds
Foil wrapped eggs - one bag
Pot of Gold - one box

Then we watched Shark Tale while eating our own weight (which is multiplying as I type) in sugar. I assure you that there is still enough chocolate to feed a family of four for three days, but I can't deny that I ate most of the bag of peanut butter cups. I might barf. That's right, barf.

Excuse me.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Spring cleaning and movin' on out

I'm heading home tomorrow for the weekend so tonight I'm packing up some duffel bags to make 'moving day' less of an ordeal later next month. As I stuff clothes I never wear into my old camp bag turned university bag I come across other random pieces of memory that make me reflect on my four years at McMaster.

A wrinkly piece of masking tape remains tightly adhered to the fabric of my bag. On it is written in green marker "302A Woodstock". My address from first year residence. I remember arriving in September after an entire summer of speculating about my soon-to-be roommate D'Arcy. What was with the apostrophe? What kind of girl would she be? Would we get along, or would she bring people into the room in the middle of the night when I was sleeping to listen to me snore? She was late to arrive on move-in day and I was dying with curiosity. We finally met and compared taste in music. Four years later we are preparing to leave for Korea together.

A post-it note in my now empty bedside table drawer has "Michael" and a phone number printed carefully in blue pen. I remember writing it down. Beside it is his sloppy cursive in thick black pen. It reads "loves you (so much!)" Funny how changed sentiments remain printed and permanent. Something about that makes it difficult to throw away.

Also on the same subject, a folded piece of lined paper with a torn off corner has typical time-wasting doodles; my name written in a variety of styles scattering the page, along with my name and his name, his name and my name. Our names. Please join Michael and Jessica G... His writing and mine, both practicing what we thought would be. Two years later and there's nothing to be said.

And finally, in a mint green cosmetics bag that my father got on a plane flight to Japan I find reminders of the summer. The obscure silver ring missing its stone that I bought with Wendy from Dan, I think his name was, the antique Jeweller in Jaffa. I think it cost me sixty shekels and the blue stone fell off sometime during a drunken escapade with Stefan in the cockroach infested alley. Also, my tiger-eye anklet that was made in the back of a shop in the market in Old Jerusalem. We sat in the back of an Arab's shop drinking Turkish coffee and beading. I forget his name now. He fell in love with Wendy and then ripped us off royally with cheap stones. I like mine a lot. Wendy's conveniently broke three times so she had to return to get it fixed. Those moments on our trip were the ones that I will never forget. Sitting with people experiencing their lives. Shelling shrimp for a wedding, drinking coffee on the floor, listening to old friends reunite... it's those genuine experiences that affect me so profoundly. Seven months later and I'm a more complete person.

Better keep up the packing.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

The pickup

I'm sitting in my office as the students pick up their papers that are on a table in the hallway. Why was I the one feeling hesitant about this? They're the ones who should be nervous. I hope nobody comes and questions my marking, but I think I was quite fair. Yay! Those two weeks were tedious!

A guy walked by after picking up his paper, laughing because he thought he would fail. I'm pretty sure he got a 60%. He read my comment aloud to his friend, "where is the sociology in this paper?" Ha ha ha, he said.

Ellen and I are planning a good-bye Sociology grads party for the last day of school to take place in the better of the two campus bars. For four years the girls of sociology (and three guys...) have never been friendly or social with each other at all. There is no solidarity in our faculty and very few real friendships. Suddenly this year things started to change, and though we still rarely go out socially, we are all friendly and actually seem to like each other. Perfect timing, right? Well, we thought it would be funny to have one last (and first, really) party for the graduating class. We'll really go out with a bang. And then we'll never see each other again.

We have some funding from the society to pay for food, which is good, and I think we're going to get a good old fashioned cake with a sappy cursive message written on it. What should the cake say? I'll think of some ideas now:

Good bye, good riddance!

Have fun at teacher's college!

Congrats grads 2005!

Yay! It's summer!

I'm not in a very creative or humourous mood at the moment, so it seems.

This weekend is Easter so I get Friday off. Yay! I don't celebrate Easter though, but I might eat some chocolate in the name of... Jesus. Or the bunny. Or whatever this holiday is about.

Forty minutes more of my office hours. This is rather hum drum.

This should explain it.

Wonder why I like this one?

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Random news

Today I was happy as I walked to school in the sunshine and above freezing weather. My pleasant mood continued in art class because of a lovely painting by some Italian Futurist whose name I can't remember. The painting was of a dog on a leash. It pressed on (the mood, not the dog) when I treated myself to a Teriyaki Experience in the student centre. And then it crashed fast and hard when I sat through four hours of statistics. Something to do with logits and probits for categorical response, or was it explanatory, variables? To top it all off there was a guest lecturer in psychology. Ugh, guest lecturers. What's the point.

I have three more essays sitting in front of me to be graded. Yes, I know I was supposed to finish yesterday but I got sidetracked. By what? I forget. I'm a really bad marker. Despite the posts of shockingly bad student work, the essays have been quite good on a whole. As I enter each new grade into my Excel spreadsheet I wince at the ever-climbing average. It's sitting at 74.08% right now. Kind of high for a first year sociology class, so the need to lower the average has been very likely influencing my grades in the last quarter of the pile. I was talking to another TA who said she hardly gave any A's or C's. I gave out lots of A's and lots of C's. And lots of B's. So hopefully our averages end up being around the same. Ah well, at least my students will be pleased.

I have also found myself lost and confused with my own writing after reading all these papers. I can't remember then from than or who's from whose anymore. I guess what they say is right; that reading improves your own writing. I better pick up the book I started back in February that is currently buried somewhere under some assorted pile of things.

Tim called me from CCLCS to schedule an interview for the TESL program that I want to take. It will be next Thursday at 11:00am. I wonder what kind of interview this will be. Probably they just want to check me out to see if I'm responsible and actually an English speaker. I wrote my application letter a little haphazardly, thinking that this organization will probably accept anyone who's willing to pay their tuition fees. My closing line went like this: Please accept this application and ensure that my future students get the best out of their future teacher. Aggressive, I know, but I figured what the heck. We'll see how the interview goes.

Blake, who recently departed for Korea (and is LOVING it) said that a TESL certification won't make any difference and that I will be teaching out of a textbook anyway so there's no need. Does anyone else have input on this? I think I'll take it anyway just for some confidence and something to do in May, but I would have thought it would be beneficial.

Back to marking. Can't wait to come out of hibernation.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Two and a half weeks to go...

These days the typical conversation to be had and heard around campus goes something like this:

Person #1: So, only (insert number of days left here) days left, eh?

Person #2: I know, I can't wait! How's your exam schedule?

Person #1: Oh, I have.... blah blah blah, you?

Person #2: Ouch, I have only ... blah blah blah

Person #1: Nice. What are you going to do for the summer/when you graduate?

Person #2: No idea, you?

Person #1: Same.

Or in my case: Oh, I'm going to Korea for a year to teach English. I just really want to get out of here and get going. This semester cannot go fast enough.. blah blah blah.

To which the person will reply: Wow, oh my god, that's so cool, you're so wonderful and amazing.

And I: I know.

Only eleven more papers to be marked, but they must all be done by tonight. Can I do it?

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Dreams be dreams

In my dream I was pushing my tongue against the inside of me teeth and they all came crumbling out of my mouth. I think I had two left and I could feel the ridges of my gums where the others had been. When I went to look in the mirror, though, I had little, white new teeth inside neatly lined up and shining. I've had this dream once or twice before; once long ago when I was away at summer camp. Wendy told me later in life that dreams of this nature mean that someone is going to die. I tried hard to remember if the 'dream' summer was the same as the 'grandmother dying' summer but I'll never be sure.

I don't believe in stuff like that anyway.

My mother is boarding a cruise ship today with my aunt. It's the first time she's travelled without my father since well before they met and married in 1975. I hope she gains some sense of independence. I hope she has too many fruity cocktails and gets hit on. I hope she goes snorkeling or sings karaoke.

My reality consists of using the laundry facilities in my building for the first time ever while grading at least ten papers today. The remaining twenty will be graded over the following two days. So far I've failed two students.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Second thoughts?

Man, check out Shawn's latest post. Not so inspiring, especially his last paragraph.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Cry baby

In grade eleven I took a parenting course that featured the task of caring for a mechanical baby for three days. The baby would cry at random times and you would have to insert and turn a key in its back, holding it steady until it stopped. If left un-keyed, the memory chip would record abuse. This was fine with me until I realized that I couldn't very well bring my baby to my job as a swimming instructor. So I had to approach my teacher for a 'babysitter key' which was no longer being used for our classes. Sitting in her office pleading my case, I fell apart and cried. Yep, I'm a crier. I remember telling her that I didn't even feel sad about it, I just tend to cry.

It always happens to me in situations like this, and walking home just now from my professor's office after discussing (and crying over) my paper grade, I tried to pinpoint exactly what kind of situation 'this' is. At first guess I might say that it's when I'm nervous, but no, that's not the case. I don't cry at interviews or on first dates (thank god!) or when I speak in front of crowds. I think it's more related to fighting for myself, or standing up for myself. Pleading my case. It makes me uncomfortable.

I can relate it back to my childhood... don't worry, I won't. But maybe I'll just add it to the list of things I blame ol' Daddy-o for.

In any case, it works. I got the babysitter key and my essay grade is no longer a C.

Non-posting Jessie

I realize I haven't been posting so frequently and when I have, it has been boring. Things are moving at a snail's pace right now as I wait out the last few weeks of school. It's sad to be just waiting and not enjoying day-to-day life but I can't seem to help it. I've got the extended-winter-lonely-bored-anticipatory blues. And it's weird when there's nothing new to tell my friends because they've read it on my blog. Weird, I say.

There goes the test fire alarm.

Today I'm going to see my psych prof to see if I can get some more grades out of her for my C paper. I have yet to decide on an approach. I don't think the "I'm an A student!!!" would be effective, nor would "I'm a sociologist and didn't know any better". It's a tough call.

I'm eagerly awaiting a response from the TESL company. That should happen next week sometime.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

An uncertain future

This morning I went to talk to my professor about graduate school. I wanted to get advice about where to apply so I can get everything ready before I leave for Korea. After having met with him I know less than I did before.

My original plan was to study demography; the study of populations. I thought that this could lead to a practical career should I decide not to go on for a PhD. The problem with this is that I don't necessarily have a strong interest in demographics. But what do I have an interest in?

My prof said that I can work in social research with a background in any sociological sub-discipline as long as I have strong research skills. Okay, that's good to know. He also said that though I'm doing well in statistics, I'm obviously struggling to understand it. Do I really want to get involved in more advanced and difficult statistics than I am already? No, I don't think so.

So now I have to think about what I am actually interested in. Maybe education would be a good path to choose; either a Masters of Sociology with a focus on education, or a Masters of Education would be good, especially after my time teaching in Korea. I also have to think about whether I want to apply to the States, because then I'd have to prepare and write the GRE's. What's with standardized testing anyway?

I have a lot to think about, obviously.

At least he said that he'd be happy to write me a letter of recommendation, and that a letter from *him* would do me good if applying for a quantitative program. I guess he's a celebrity in the quantitative world. Wowie.

Monday, March 14, 2005

The marking blues

Life sucks. I have had the worst weekend ever because all I did was mark shitty papers. And the marking of shitty papers will continue until next weekend is through. I have thirty one more littering my bedroom floor.

The last one I read really blows my mind. So much so that I don't know how to grade it. It is about how homosexuality (by which she means homosexual marriage) is changing religion, economics, and society in general.

Here are some samples which have in no way been altered:

The typical image of the husband bringing in the money is destroyed, because now it is hard to re-label one of the spouses as the opposite gender or in other situations both can go to work and be the husbands, or the wives and the traditional nuclear family is finished.

The gender division of labor is confused because now who does the jobs that a wife does and who does the jobs of the husband.

Like normal heterosexual couples homosexual couples have a dream of becoming a parent.

This [adoption] will increase the child adoption rates, from countries like china and Africa. However this is income for the Chinese parents and that puts us at a lost.

However if child adoption or sperm donation is not available or is too costly and time consuming then that shows a drastic decrease in the population rate.

Had enough yet? Angry at me for posting this awful nonsense? Imagine reading ten pages of it!!!

I am slowly going crazy.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

And there are no barkin' sparrows!

Hello, kids! Some exciting news: I have found the perfect thing to occupy my time starting after my last exam and ending right before Korea.

Here's the deal.

My last exam is on Saturday April 16th at 9:00 in the early morn. After that I will be free! Talk about feeling exuberant. I remember this feeling of release after my exams in my first year that was so exhilerating it made me sprint back to my residence. I don't know what it was. It kind of disappeared as time went on, but I have a feeling it'll be back this time 'round. I love feelings like that. I love to feel.

Anyway, after that I will return home and do I don't know what until Tuesday the 19th when I will be going to Montreal to visit brother Brian and to see The Shins! Alright! For those of you who are not in the know, my brother is a quasi celebrity in the Montreal music scene. Okay, really he's the planner, organizer, guy-who-books-all-the-cool-bands person. So he's running the Shins show and knows that I like them so he asked me to help. Maybe I'll be their personal assistant. ;) I actually know nothing about the band, but I love their music so I'm thrilled about seeing them live.

Then, hopefully, on the 21st I will begin a 300 hour TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language - or something) course being offered in Toronto. It's absolutely perfect timing. It will occupy my time (and money... okay, my parent's money) until May 25th or so, and then I will be all set to take off for Korea in mid-June. Now that is perfect. I would feel a little apprehensive to just show up in front of a classroom of children without any idea of what to do, so I think this course will be very beneficial.

The course runs every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday from 11:00 to 5:oo so I'll have plenty of time to sleep and do nothing, which I like. Or maybe I'll get a funny job working at Starbucks or Chapters or something, just to keep the cash flowing. My April paycheck will certainly not last long.

So I just printed off my resume and a letter, wrote a (goddam) forty dollar cheque to cover the application fee, stuffed, sealed, and stamped my envelope and now it's ready to go.

Things are happening, my friends. Slowly but surely, things are happening.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

It's a man's world

My brother won! He was one of four Apprentice contestants to win a job, and he got the most coveted one at marketing firm JAN Kelly. It was his first choice and I was very proud and happy to hear his name announced.

What obviously irritated me is that the three guys who were possible winners all got jobs out of seven contestants, leaving the last job to a girl. That would be fine if the three guys were all more capable than the four girls, but I don't think that was the case here. No matter what kind of progressions women have made, it still seems like men are viewed as more capable business people when it comes down to it. That's really sad. I sound like one of my students writing a sappy, overly general piece of bullshit that nobody cares about.

Blake takes off for Korea tomorrow! Good luck Blake! Have a safe flight.

We have made a bet that by the time I get there in June he will be dating a Korean girl. So many foreign men end up hooking up with Korean girls while they're there. It's quite the phenomenon. The terms of the bet are that if he is dating someone, he has to eat a (hot) chili pepper. If he's not, I have to pay for a traditional Korean meal. Mmm.. a traditional Korean meal.

I have to get back to marking. The goal is to get 30 finished this weekend and I'm at about 14.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Making fun of students is fun

The following quotes are real.

"In 1995, an African American woman by the name of Rosa Parks boarded on to a city bus on her way home from work." Wow, only ten years ago and look at the progress that has been made.

"There is a notion that is buried in our minds at our youngest age that men should only be with women, and women should only be with men." Buried in our minds, you say? Fascinating.

"Just as people choose to be doctors, teachers, construction workers, mothers, friends, athletes, hippies, or anything else, other people choose to be homosexual - and it should be their own personal right." Wait a second, you mean people just choose to be homosexual? I didn't realize that was a confirmed fact. And while I'm at it, there are plenty of structural factors that lead to people choosing to be doctors or construction workers. And mothers. Is that always a choice?

"In the words of a very intelligent person named Shirley Chisolm..." Who is Shirley Chisolm, besides an intelligent person. Is she your aunt? WHO?

Sorry I can only give you so much, but I am limited to the one paper I have with me right now.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Killing time

I'm sitting in the computer lab waiting until lane swim at the pool at 9:30, so why not write a little something.

Today I marked a few more papers. I can't believe some of the stuff people turn in. The paper is supposed to be ten pages long and one student handed in three and a half! I thought five was surprising, but this is ridiculous. Not only that, but this person only referenced internet sites and their argument was undeveloped and bad. I have no idea what mark to give for this piece of garbage that was obviously thrown together the morning it was due. Should I fail 'em? Thankfully someone else handed in an almost flawless paper that followed the directions perfectly and was actually well written. I'll post some sample 'bad writing' that we can all laugh at later on.

Tonight at band they held elections for next year's executive and all the nominees had about thirty seconds to sell themselves. It was reminiscent of the first episode of "American Idol" when all the rejects are shown sucking it up like crazy.

Example 1. Girl bounces onto the podium, wringing her hands and mid-chest range. "Hi! I'm Danielle. But I prefer Danny, so call me Danny. I, umm, didn't want to be on the exec but then someone nominated me so I thought hey, why not? Umm.. and I'm cool because I have a nose ring. Vote for me."

Example 2. "Hi, I'm John and I really want to be the librarian because I have lots of photocopying experience and I'm in engineering. I love when music is straight on the paper and not cut off" (crowd hoots and hollers, while glaring at last year's librarians).

I could go on, but it's just too painful.

Off to the pool.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

The Perfect Cheese

I have recently been made aware of the best little cheese out there. It is perfect in all its traits; packaging, shape, consistency, colour, and taste. It is simply delectable. So throw away all your Kraft slices, your baby bel's and your cheese strings, and make room for La Vache qui Rit party cubes. That's right people. This little foil wrapped cheese is the perfect snack. It's spreadable, it's meltable, I'm sure it goes great on a cracker, but most of all it pops into your mouth offering you a little (low calorie I might add) taste of heaven that lingers in your mouth for the rest of the evening.

Go for it, give it a try. Find it in the dairy aisle. Bon appetit, et bon nuit mes enfants. Moo.

(Thanks Carina - my life will never be the same) ;)

Ticked off again

I'm generally a happy person, but I am once again really pissed.

I got a C on my psych paper! Because I didn't follow APA fucking guidelines. Well, frankly, I thought I did. I followed the rules in a writing guide but this particular writing guide failed to mention specifics of title page and other bullshit that never matters in Sociology. I have been using the same title page template for three years now and never have I suffered because of it.

Why oh why... Why do I have to get a C amongst the A's of this year? I hate psychologists. They're all detail oriented assholes.

I graded some more papers today. One really sucked. When considering what grade to give it I thought that if my good paper earned a 66%, then this guy deserves to fail! No, I didn't fail him, but I gave him 61%. So there. Damn the man.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

I know nothing

I just marked my first paper. It was a time consuming endeavour, particularly since it was actually well done so I had to really pay attention. But I didn't want to give him too good of a mark. I ended up giving him 83%. That's excellent for a first year essay, I would say. Good job, Richard something or other.

For you students out there, rest assured that most TA's probably (hopefully) are more qualified than I am.

I ate sushi today because of some strange and sudden impulse. Mmm.

I also got 80% on my stats take-home exam. Not bad, you might say, for a PhD class, but all my (four) classmates did better than me. I'll just reassure myself that their 5 year seniority has somehow made them better statisticians.

Gotta mark another paper. This time I'll choose a bad one; they're more fun.

So you're walking in a forest...

What I learned in school today (take out a pen, class, and answer the following questions for this personality quiz):

1) You go for a walk in a forest. Who's with you?

2) You come across an animal. What kind of animal is it?

3) What kind of interaction do you have with this animal?

4) You continue walking through the forest until you come to a clearing where you see your dream home. What size is it?

5) Is there a fence surrounding it?

6) Upon entering the house you come across a dining room table. What is on it an around it?

7) You notice a cup on the lawn. What is it made out of?

8) What do you do with that there cup?

9) Then, imagining the forest doesn't actually exist, you come across a body of water. What kind of body of water is it?

10) How do you cross it?

Alright, you have your answers?

Here is what they mean (and how I answered).

1) This person is the most important to you in the world. (Oliver - my dog. I was obviously too wrapped up in the forest analogy, then again I sure do love Oliver.)

2) The size of the animal you chose represents your perception of the kind of problems you have (a bird - a small one at that.)

3) What you do to/with the animal represents the severity of how you deal with your problems. (I look at the bird - what the hell does that mean?)

4) The size of the house indicates the amount of ambition you have. (Very large)

5) No fence means you have an open personality. (No fence, I'm open.)

6) If you said food, people, and other things I can't remember, you are a generally happy person. (I said chairs. Why would there be people at the table without me there?)

7) The durability of your cup material represents the strength of your relationship with #1. (Styrofoam. Shit. But I love Oli and he loves me. This thing is a crock.)

8) What you do with the cup is what you think of the durability of the relationship in #1. (I stepped on my cup...)

9) The size of the body of water relates to the 'size' of your sexual desires. ( I said sea, which could really be any size.)

10) The wetter you get, the more important your sex life is. (I swam. What? I like swimming in the sea.)

Monday, March 07, 2005

I just had to show you this title. Hmm.. should I give points for creativity or should I penalize for bad writing?? I can't wait to find out why drugs (is) like a cuppa tea, though. Burning hot? Cures the common cold? I'll let you know!

Here is the stack. There are over 60 papers here and after a quick perusal I can see this'll be a fun job. Due date for marking is the week of March 21st. Whatever that means. My goal will be five per day starting tomorrow, but first I need to buy a red pen. I'm totally not ready for my art midterm tomorrow so now that I'm finished watching some show called Summerland with Becky from Full House in an older, blonder, surfer-mom type version, and Supernanny. I'm ready to get down to business. Funny how I only watch TV when I have tests the next day.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

And then we got loaded and headed to the bar where we had to wait in a stupid sweaty line with dumb sluts who cut in line. I saw one of my students there. I saw one of my fellow band geeks. I saw a girl throw up. And then I walked home in the dark all alone. By the way, this picture is me struggling to use the 'self-portrait' option on my camera. It gives you about half a second to get in position.

That's right, here we are, the ultimate supreme-o winners. Don't mess with us. Or we'll sens-o-sketch you to pieces!

But it all started off very innocently. Cranium; what a fun game. I'm particularly partial to the humdingers and the sculpting one. There were three teams and guess who won??

I should have known it would be a rough night from the start.

To know thyself

I don't know why I bother to go to clubs anymore. Not that I go so often, or that I ever went often. I'm tired and I have drank too much. I feel lousy. I hate that atmosphere; where everyone is all set to meet someone for the evening. Where a girl you're with points out a guy she made out with a few months ago while he gropes some other girl. Where someone is passed out in the hallway and then gets up and staggers to the washroom with vomit dripping through her fingers. What is the goddam point? I don't want to be hit on by some loser who only looks at me because I'm not already dancing with someone else, or because I happen to be available when he is. It's all ridiculous. I don't want to feel that sweaty, drunken feeling when you're afraid you may have passed your limit and standing up too fast is a dangerous endeavour.

I hate all of this bullshit. I don't know why I put myself here. Goodnight.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

The blog gets shafted at MAC Apprentice

Those judges don't have a clue what they are talking about. They claim that their target market, women heads of households with children and an education, would not be interested in blogs. They think these women are busy enough and that they would never both to return day after day for something like that.

They could not be more wrong! If only they knew about this entire other world, this community that exists! It's an untapped market waiting out there for all kinds of money grubbing corporations to saunter in and take over.

Anyway, Orbit$ corp was announced the loser of this challenge and Gravity the winner. To that someone in the audience called out "finally!" Ha ha. Regardless, Orbit$ wins overall and now the five team members plus two 'wildcard' picks from the other team get to head off to interviews for four possible jobs. That's seven candidates and four jobs, and the winners will be announced next week. Stay tuned.

Friday, March 04, 2005

There we go, a self portrait.

Three cheers for the weekend

T'was a dull morning, I say. Students handed in their papers and tutorials ended quickly. Then I had my usual Friday afternoon dose of feeling like an inadequate moron at my stats class meeting. We meet weekly to discuss the homework and I wonder weekly why I put myself into this position optionally; the most feared PhD requirement and I saunter in thinking it will be a snap. No siree, it ain't no snap. Then again, my undergrad courses aren't so easy either. That psych test I did the other week resulted in a lowly 68%. I guess studying the scientific stuff would have proved useful. And this weekend I have to memorize 50, that's FIFTY different works of art according to title, artist and exact date, plus pertinent information for each for my art history exam on Tuesday.

Speaking of school, I went to band practice last night and noted the overwhelming population of ultimate supreme-o geeks. I admit that I played in band all through highschool and though there were always some geeks it was never the vast majority of the group. Here and now I can't believe my eyes. Harris, my first year trumpet buddy, proclaimed our section the least geeky of them all, though I have to say that Raj, one of the first trumpets, should definitely ditch the top hat with feather and the mustache.

This weekend I have a few plans. Tonight is the final boardroom of McMaster's version of the Apprentice, in which my brother is a contestant. His team, Orbit$ Corp, has already won three of the four challenges so I guess they're just going for a sweep tonight, even though they are the winners. I am his inspiration for this week's challenge - he used blogs as some marketing ploy for a meat company's website.

And tomorrow night I'm hittin' the town. H-town. Whoo.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

I will stand here and burn in my skin

I really don't want to write disparaging things about my ex-boyfriend, but he gives me such great material that I can't pass it up.

It's been one year and one month since we broke up, seven and a half months since we reunited and spent a week pretending, five months since he kissed me and since we saw each other, three months since I hated his guts, two days since I googled him, and so it goes.

I posted his birthday telephone message in mid February and all was quiet until the other day.

His email:

Hi Jessica:

Just writing to say hello. Hope all is well. Things here are rather great.

In any case, regards,


Hmm, rather great you say? Wonder what that could mean. What's her name, jerk.

My response:

Hello hello,

Things are pretty good, but nothing much is new to report. I just had reading week and took it really easy, reading and swimming and that's about it. I'm just waiting out the end of this semester and it feels like it's taking forever.

Glad things are rather great with you. Rather great sounds better than your usual great. Something special?


Why I even bothered responding is beyond me, but I did anyway. He responded with something that I will have to re-enact to the best of my ability for it is now deleted:

Dear Jessica,

Lots of things are great but none of which I care to discuss over email. One of which you might not care to hear at all.

So let's talk on the phone, or not.



And so, it was deleted and the 'not' option was selected. He is so dramatic and childlike, I can't even believe it. Good luck to the new girl, that's all I can say.

March?? Melt already, snow! I want to wear my new shoes.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

I hope he edits his paper better than he edits his emails

Hi jessica, long time no see. i was just doing my essay(term paper) over reading week and a bit this past few days, but i have been trying to do it while studying for 2 mid-term exams, a presentation, and also i have been back and forth to toronto trying to get my torn acl repaired so i have just been getting some medical help, and i'am slowly getting dizzy from all the commossion lol. If my head spins any faster i wont need to take a plane anywhere i will be just like a helicopter. I would appreciate it so much if i could possibly hand it in maybe next wednesday without penalty during your office hour, and if thats okay just e-mail me back and let me know when and where i should leave it.


What? He turned into a helicopter? I have to say, I haven't heard that one before. Nor have I seen 'commotion' spelled that way before.

Boxer Jessie

I had posted a picture of myself head on. Then I ran into my brother in the computer lab at school and showed him the new addition. He said it looked like I had been punched in the face, so I erased it. I don't know what he was talking about. For those of you lucky enough to see it, lucky you.

This calls for a celebration.

More prime material

Hey Jessica

I have attached a rough draft of my essay and was wondering if I could get some of your valued input. Could you please provide me with any corrections, suggestions or advise regarding it. You can change up the actual paper as much as you would like. I really want to do well on this paper so any of corrections that you can make would be greatly appreciated. Hopefully you get this and can send it back to me in time



Translation: You're marking my paper so edit it so that it's good because it's shit right now. Actually make all the necessary changes and don't simply suggest them because I'm too much of a lazy sloth to work on my paper myself. I really want to do well and I can't do it by my own merit. Oh, and hurry the fuck up.

Yeah, right, sure. No problem. I don't have anything else to do but edit your entire 10 page paper. I don't have classes or homework or a blog to maintain, oh no!

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Insert expletives here

The newest request:

Hi Jessica,

my name is Ryuta and I am in your sociology 1A06 tutorial 11. I asked Dr.Shaffir if I can get an extension for the project which is due this Friday and I was informed to ask my TA individually. If I won't be able to meet the due date, is this possible to get an extension? If so when and where can I hand it in?

Thank you for your time,


Dear Ryuta,

Go fuck yourself.


Jessica the Destroyer

It's out of control!!!

Ah! I don't know what to do! These students are driving me crazy with their questions and requests for extensions. Look at this student's email. I can't even believe it:

Hi Jessica

I have a couple of questions to ask you. The first question involves when the essay is due. Professor Shaffir has mentioned in class that extensions could be made for this essay and I was wondering if you would be open to this idea. The reasoning for an extension is that for the weeks leading up to reading week, i had to study for midterms. Also, during reading week I had to complete an essay for my Political Science 1G06 class which was due the Monday following reading week. Consequently, I am in the preliminary stages of writing my essay. If you are open to this idea, I was thinking of an extension to Monday and I could submit the paper at a place and time of your convenience (I would be grateful for any extension you decide upon). If you believe that an extension is unfair to the other students than I am fine with that decision as well.

In this message could you tell me if there is a specified font size, font type and margin size for this paper? In addition, could you provide me with the daily penalty for submitting a late paper.
Thank you


Jesus! If he had come to class EVER he would know what type of font to use, and I would have much more compassion for him. I can't believe how nervy people are. So you had midterms, we all did. So you had a paper - get used to it asshole, this is university.

This has upset me (in case you couldn't tell) because I have been generous with a few really bad excuses and now I feel like I have to be generous with everybody, but my patience and generosity is wearing thin. What to do, what to do.

It's March

I'm glad it's March, even though we just faced one of the biggest snowfalls so far this winter. Today is a long school day for me and here I sit in the computer lab waiting to meet a student to discuss her essay. Tap tap tap goes everyone's typing.

Another extension request has come in, this time with the reason that he "wants to do his best". What bullshit. That excuse doesn't warrant an extension but I gave it to him anyway.