Monday, December 27, 2004

The Weather Outside is Frightful.

Snow Day!!!

I was going to have a cribbage throwdown with Mike today, but now that it’s blizzarding, we might have to postpone.

So, Christmas was good and definitely tolerable. It seemed to buzz by really quickly. We went to eat at Aunt Judy and Uncle Lowell’s. There was a ton of great food and without my cousin Greame there, I was the only one who had a decent second helping. Grammy was in from the home and she was pretty out of it. We managed to get the wheelchair in to the Sweet’s house, and she was alternately dopey and chatty. I don’t think she knew where she was. Mum and Dad suspect she’s had another stroke. That would explain it.

Yesterday we had the in-laws in. That’s Marilyn’s Mike’s Mum (Paulette) and her best friend Norma. They’re both fairly insane, so I just sat uncharacteristically quiet as to discourage conversation. Mum made an incredible spread.

I went to see The Aviator on the 25th. I would highly recommend this movie. I already liked Cate Blanchett, but combine her with an uncanny portrayal of Katharine Hepburn, I’m sold on her talent now. I guess it was a combination of Hepburn’s character being so strong in the first place and Blanchett’s talent.

Why was I never a Kate? I think I was married to the “C” in Catherine, and didn’t really think Kate could be spelled with a “C.” I know I was never meant to be a Cathy. That is totally out of character for me. Cate and Catie, though – I think that’s more me. Catherine sounds so stodgy. Old lady. Knitting in a darkened room with 12 cats. Totally a spinster. I’ve actually come to think that’s my lot in life, anyway. Meow.

Um, and Happy It’s Not Going To Be 2004 Anymore. Huzzah.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Word of the Day.

Languid.

Ahh, doesn't that conjure images of lying in the sticky heat of August? My long gauzy skirt is gathered up around my knees and my filmy t-shirt is damp from perspiration. I'm sitting on my back deck drinking ice water. My hair is curling from the humidity and is tied up in a high ponytail. There's a slight breeze that cools my sweaty neck and keeps the mosquitoes at bay. In this heat, some fool is mowing his lawn but the smell of gasoline and cut grass is so quintessentially summer, it's difficult to dwell on his stupidity.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Spanglish.

I forgot. I saw Spanglish last night and it sucked. It was long (or it felt long), pointless, cloying and manipulative, with some of the lamest acting performances I've ever seen. And the most embarrassing sex scene I've possibly ever seen (on film). All of this disgust, surprisingly enough, was not true for Adam Sandler, who was by far the best part of the movie. This is not a veiled dis. He was actually good, and I liked what he did. Still, do not see this movie. Do not.

Ahh... "Vacation"

Ok, I'm home. Home home home. I am working on my last paper of the year, the last paper of my MA that is not my thesis. It's going pretty slow, like normal. BUT I have to finish to tonight and edit it tomorrow and email it in. Hot dog.

I just got a call from Mitchell saying he's home and ready to Gingerbread House it up on Tuesday. For those readers who don't know, my friends have a tradition (I think we can call it that now) of getting together to build a Gingerbread House. Then destroy and eat it. This year it's at Denise's place out in wherever-it-is and on Tuesday the 21st. We usually have it after Christmas, but this year, earlier is best for the hostess, so the 21st it is!

Anna and Amanda and their respective boyfriends aren't here this year, so that'll be strange. And Terri and her family are not going to be here that early either, so we've decided that there will be a drinking-only night on the 27th or 28th at the Gahan House. Ahhh... Gahan... Still, it should be a good time. And I like Denise's place -- it's a good party home.

Off to hit Indian Pilgrimage. Zippity.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Go Go Gadget Extensions!

I asked for an extension on the paper that's due tomorrow and the prof gave it to me. It's now due on Monday, which sucks balls because now I have to write it when I get home, but still, I won't be so freakin' stressed. The reply I got from my prof via email is worrying, though. Here it is:

Catherine,
I heartily advise you to take the extra time. It is fine with me. It would be really helpful to you to make this a fantastic essay. Work hard!
JLG

What the fuck is that? Am I on the cusp of failing or something? I know he wants me to get at least an A-, overall, in the class, but is it really the end of the world if I "only" get a B/B+? Kinda, yeah -- in our program, anything below an A- is code for "she doesn't belong in grad school." I shit you not -- that's really what it's like here. It might be helpful, though, if he'd handed back either of the other two papers I've written for him. Still, I know marking is a shitty job, so I'll give him a break.

I'm on my way over to Mike's to study for the exam for the same class, which is tomorrow morning. I haven't had an exam in 1.5 years, so studying is a little funny. Mike's writing a 20-page paper today, and we're both stressed, so we find our combined stress levels are really keeping us on task.

Light a candle for me.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Take Heart.

I know some of you are writing papers and I've frightened you with my TA crazy-rant. I did something naughty and photocopied the all-time worst paper I've ever been given. Here's a clip from the intro:

"Can you think of any disease that must run its course? An infection where antibiotics and medications can only multiply complications. This malady has killed many human beaings and infected thousands. Symptoms include stomach cramps, bloody diarrhea, fever, nausea and vomiting. Consumption of contaminated food or water, followed by hand and mouth contact amongst another body results in passing of the bacteria. Finally, this microbe doesn't survive in air, and on hard surface tops like tabes (Bruce- Public Health). So if you haven't already guessed, E. coli is the bacteria that will be discussed in the upcoming text. The imminent summaries will include industries and community member's perspectives on the massive Walkerton outbreak."

And here's my favourite internal paragraph:

"Additionally, is it vital we understand the long term helth affects at risk! We are unfortunately dealing with a form of bacteria, capable of extremely steathy distraction. Perhaps this bacteria has enzymes capable of breaching past foreign membranes, (In fish for example), tempering with their DNA. The tempered DNA can be consumed in the form of food, causing mass destruction to human cell functions. 'A lot of people are leaving to stay at parents or cottages' (Baillie), and others will pitch tents."

That's word-for-word. What the hell? Oh, and he mentions bloody diarrhea two more times.

I had to mark that shit. I really wish I'd nailed him for plagarism. It's riddled with incorrect citation and made-up quotes. What a cock. I gave it to the prof and asked if I could give it a zero, but she marked it and gave him, like 23%. 23% more than he deserved.

Anyhow, the point is: there's no way a person that I consider a friend would ever hand in tripe like this, so don't worry. It was so disrespectful -- he knew I'd be reading it and he wanted to get away with it.

I guess I'm not over it yet.

I'm going to the Hamilton Public Library now to work on this GD paper. That's right -- the fake swearing is begun.

Friday, December 10, 2004

Homeward Bound.

I got 2 emails/messages today asking about when I'm going home.

I fly into Moncton International (!) Airport late on the 16th. Mike is flying in the same day (not on the same flight -- we're not allowed to fly together anymore -- damn FAA), and Jackie is coming over to pick us up. Hopefully, Marilyn will join her for the ride. I'll stay at Marilyn's place that night and then go surprise Mum and Dad in the morning of the 17th.

Yeah, I haven't told Mum and Dad that's when I'm returning. In fact, I've lied and told them it's the 22nd. I don't like lying to my parents (about stuff like this). Plus, it's not like me coming home is such a huge prize; it's just me. The novelty will rapidly wear off as I start to leave dishes by the couch and terrorize the cat into a froth.

Ain't Noone Gonna Break My Stride.

Here I go, Big Stompers. I am heading into school and I'm going to hit this ominous stack of books with a scary single-mindedness you only see in psychopaths and tantrum-throwing toddlers.

No, me posting this useless bit of knowledge is not a stalling ploy, for everyone knows

In the winter of the year
young girl's fancy lightly turns to devouring books on Indian pilgrimage.

Thanks to Tennyson for crafting that poem to suit my needs so well.

Ok. Here I go. Yup. To school. To work. Watch out school, 'cause I'm gonna hit you with the scary single-mindedness you only see in psychopaths and... damn... I've already written that. Damn.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

My Precious.

I hate marking papers. At least with this stack of 40 I don't have to correct them. It's not that they're all bad, either -- no. It's just the same bloody thing, over and over again. I'm paraphrasing, but this is basically what I'm reading:

"So, um, Western women think that the hijab is oppressive to Islamic women who choose to wear them, but they're not 'n' stuff."

It pays my tuition. I suppose, to give it in a RS slant, this is my purgatory.

For those of you still in your undergrad, the stark naked truth is, this is the attitude each TA shares about marking. It's tedium wrapped in mediocrity. It's a deep down dread, like sitting in the waiting room for a pelvic exam. It has to be done, but it's not going to be pretty. Therefore, try to give a little love and style and originality and analysis to your work. It will be rewarded, because finding a paper that has a little love in it is like a precious jewell. A ruby in a sea of coal.

Back to it. Here I go. Yup. =sob=

Guilty Pleasures.

The worst Christmas song that has recently been created is "The 8 Days of Christmas" by Destiny's Child. Unfortunately, it's also the catchiest. Dirty denim jeans? Oh, the humanity.

So, as promised, I will now provide you with a list of possibly vocations for Catherine S. Sweet. As you should all bloody well know, I will be finished of my MA before August, 2005, and will not be continuing on to a PhD. There are enough Dr. Sweets in my family, thank you. These are in no particular order, but the first one is the one I'm leaning on now.

1) Constructing Straw Bale Housing.
2) Going to film school (nebulous -- costume, set dressing, makeup, music production???).
3) Get a J.O.B. and pay off some debt.
4) Starting a mushroom farm.
5) Get a British visa and work in London; meet Colin Firth & live happily ever psychosis.
6) Patent tube tomatoes and sell the rights to Wendy's. (Most ingenious)
7) Become a John Mayer groupie. Does he have groupies?
8) Fry cook on Venus.

Film school scares me a little, because it will be a totally different kind of schooling that I'm used to, but at the same time, it's probably the wisest job-wise. Unfortunately, I'd probably have to move to the West Coast for work. And is that the world I want to be involved in? It's terribly shallow and materialistic.

That's why I like Straw Bale Housing. It doesn't consume resources like conventional housing, and it's so much more environmentally sound once it's built. It's suitable for Northern climates with high insulative qualities, super cheap to construct, and you can have a beautiful, unique and modern home. If I had land and about $30 grand, I'd build one this summer.

Monday, December 06, 2004

Not Knowing Knowledge Never Enobles.

Mike and I have made a pact. We're going to meet on the top of the Empire State Building in the year 2098 and throw ourselves off.

Ok, no. We're going to go full-on work mode so we can finish stuff by the weekend, help each other edit papers and study for exams, and then chill for the last couple of days we're here. This is a much bigger exercise in discipline for him than for me, because he's got about 60 pages to write by Wednesday. Me, just a 15-pager and an exam. I don't have a topic for the paper, and, if you remember, writing is my least favourite thing to do. It's slow and tedious and I can see myself, as if in an out-of-body experience, writing the most mundane and banal shite any poor prof would ever have to read.

Oh, and also commenting on the previous post when I was writing my Bhagavad Gita paper, when I'm really pissed off and genuinely frustrated, I fake swear. It's soothing. The absolute ridiculousness of yelling MUDDYFUDGER! makes me giggle despite myself. You know I'm not all that pissed if I channel Tarantino. That's funny, too, but only because it's the lamest thing ever, seeing Whitey McCracker from fucking Charlottetown thuggin' it up as if I was so street.

Also on the subject of soothing, I thought of something the other day: I have a mantra. My "Indian Religious Traditions" prof, Dr. Geen, mentioned that the repetitive action of a mantra is medically soothing, and I thought: oh, that's too bad, I don't have one. Well, I realised that I do. It's the To Be Or Not To Be speech from Hamlet. I've done it over in my head so many times, it brings me back to centre. Like when I'm enduring the pain of laser hair removal. Or sitting in a lecture about ritual purity and menstruation in "Women and Religion," the class I TA for. AND I can recite it after an entire bottle of Sangria and going shot-for-shot at an RS Christmas party. Um, I would imagine...

Try it: it's a beautiful speech and it makes me feel better if I'm down. It makes me know that even if I feel shit, things could be way worse.

I saw Veronica Guerin last night. I would highly highly recommend it to anyone who has a chance. I didn't know the story, and I'm glad I didn't before I saw the film. If you don't know the story, don't look it up before-hand. Trust me: this is great.

Well, it's 2:30pm and my goal for the day was to finish all my marking, so I have to go hit it. Since Jamie full-on fixed my comp-uter yesterday, I had to catch up on some stuff, but now I'm ready to make some blackcurrant tea, curl up in my Poang IKEA chair, and tear the arse out of some terrible undergrad papers.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Think of Those Less Fortunate.

Jesus. You guys are like fucking vultures.

Maybe I've not had access to the internet for about a week.

Maybe I don't want to update my super-fucking-dorktastic blog on the grad office communal computer.

Maybe I'm making this all up because I've been busy having a raunchy tryst with a London aristocrat. Maybe I'm too raw to write.

Ever think of that?

Naw, me neither. I'm over at Mike's.

One of my classmates is coming over tomorrow afternoon to hook me up. To the internet.

Vultures.