Friday, December 28, 2007

Jiggedy Jog, 2007.

I've been home on PEI for almost a week and it's been a pretty busy time, although I haven't seen very many people yet.

Tonight is the annual Gingerbread House Building Party, which might be in its 10th year. Although I'm always afraid conversations will stray to mortgages and husbands and umbilical cords and so on, and all I'll have to contribute is how rad Zach Braff is, or that Sporty Spice looks so great with heavy bangs.

There was a guy using a snowblower to clear off the pond near my house. The kids from up the way play hockey there in the winter.

A lot of snow fell yesterday.

I got a couple of great books for the Christmas. I got this one from my brother-in-law,


and this one from my sister, which I think is ballsy to assume I didn't already have it. Anyhow, it has lots of great pictures (and isn't that all that counts?).It makes me want to get back into more and more designing.

I miss living here. I miss PEI and its pace. I miss being around my parents. I like the general sophistication (shopping, entertainment, transit...) of Toronto, but nothing compares to being home. I have one more week here, and I went to go to the north shore, the Gahan House, have a curry at the Churchill Arms, see my Confederation Centre people and some old friends.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Kids These Days...

I teach 16, 17, and 18 year olds.

Jesus Gad, some of them are thick.

I don't remember being a twit when I was in grade 11 and 12. Was I a twit?

(That I don't remember much from my youth worries me. It's general impressions and blurs of images, but no concrete emotions or lucid memories. Why can't I remember elation, shame, joy, embarassment, and so on? Granted, I don't remember much from last summer, let alone 10 years ago.)

Anyhow, if anyone can remember me at the time, please let me know if I was a twit.

Professional conscience prevents me from giving precice details right now, but understand that I often shake my head with incredulity at these kids. I also laugh bitterly, thinking about how they're going to react to true academia next semester when they get to Uni. What a kick in the pants it's going to be. I wish I could go and sadistically watch their shining faces when they don't get everything handed to them my mummy and daddy.

To be fair, which I rarely am, I have some awesome students. About half of them, I'd say, are high school grads who dicked around at their first school and now know the value of going to university, so they're back to upgrade. They take the classes very seriously. I just gave a 21-year-old an 87 as a final grade, and he deserved it - he worked very hard for it.

I often think, perhaps erroneously, that those 3 or 4 years between the teenage twits and the early-20s students make the difference cognitively. Their intellects are simply more mature than their younger classmates'.

Anyhow, I will soon start job hunting again, because I want out of this job before I become a bitter, burnt out old school marm. Pre-emptive strikes are rad, yo!

Saturday, December 08, 2007

J'Aime Les Festons et Les Gens Nues.

Horray! My housemate's sister's fiance is a computer guy, and he hooked up my Compy to Internet! Such a happy pair there never was!

This means I should be able to post a lot more, my voyeristic amigos! Sorry about the dearth of posts lately, but I don't like using work computers for blogging follies.

I went to give blood today, but, for the second time in a row, my iron was too low. It's so frustrating when that happens. So many people need blood! Oh, well, it's for my own good. To make myself feel better, I bought a camera today from Shopper's with points. It only cost me $50 plus le tax. Youppi!

The upshot is: here are some pics.


This is the big man B in front of our house. Big, huh? Yeah, it is...

I went to the One of a Kind Show last weekend and bought some art. Why? Because I'm a grown-up. I bought three gel transfers by an artist named Kelly Grace, and a large photo of a park in Prague by some artist I didn't know, and I can't read his signature.

This is a two-fer called "The Conversation" The girl is the artist, Kelly, and the guy is her husband. I asked what his name was and she said, "His stage name was Jett Black." I didn't ask questions.



The two together:

I also bought this little study of their friend Bradley. I like this one a lot. You can see my sister in the frame behind him. A handsome couple.

This is the photo. Excuse the glare from the glass.


Oh! And a new Linque du Jour!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

My Neighbourhood.

I live in the west of Toronto, along Lansdowne Avenue. It’s a nice place. Or not bad, anyway.

I keep being told that Toronto is a city of communities. More and more I think I understand what “they” mean. I can tell people I live on Lansdowne or I can say I live in Little Portugal, and people seem to know where I mean.

My street was narrowed the summer before we arrived. From what I can tell, it was an urban planning decision, to try to discourage traffic from using it as a thoroughfare. Residents on the street were pissed, and still are, since they are still displaying their “Giambrone, Don’t Narrow Lansdowne” signs, in a pitiful too-little-too-late gesture of defiance. There’s a new sidewalk where a parking lane was replaced, and there’s a bike lane along side, but it’s really just a stencil bike in the regular street with no extra lane. Giambrone is the TTC commissioner, and by the looks of things, he won’t be garnering many votes from my neighbours.

My house is off the street. Think 12 Grimmauld Place, but without a clandestine cabal. If you walk along Lansdowne, you’d think our house isn’t there, but you have to walk down a lane between two other houses to find ours, kinda in the backyard of the rows of houses. I like this. We’re hidden from the street, which may cut down on JWs, drunks stumbling onto our porch, or random shankings.

About a two minute walk from us is the streetcar line along College. I like taking the streetcar, mostly because it’s above ground. The subway stop is about a 10 minute walk north of me, and it’s ok for getting to work a little bit faster, but on days when I have a few extra minutes, I take the streetcar.

Up on Bloor, Wally is retiring. Wally owns the mom-and-pop hardware store that’s been in that location for 61 years. In November, a sign went up in the window saying, “50% off Everything! Wally’s Retiring!” A month ago, I went in and bought about $240 worth of stuff, and only had to give Wally $120. Sweet! I went back in on Friday to get some finishing nails and Wally said, “You left your notebook here last time. I saved it on a shelf for you.” I had a little notepad which had a list of things I had hoped to buy, and in the frenzy, I forgot it. I can’t believe they kept it for me. I guess they don’t get too many 6-foot blondes excited about half-price plumb bobs, linseed oil, and nail sets.

Across from Wally’s is a Capoeira studio! I don’t know if I’ll sign up for lessons again (I’m not as young as I used to be), but I think I might try to buy a berimbau and learn how to play.

Next to Wally’s is the “Queen of Patties,” a Caribbean food place that boasts jerk chicken and oxtail gravy. Most nights I get home hungry and I have to stop myself from going in and bringing home Styrofoam. Some day I have to go up with a reusable container to bring my food home in. I love jerk chicken, and I think some oxtail gravy would be a worthy way to break my red meat fast.

There is some curious graffiti on the lamp poles along Lansdowne. Someone has scribbled hearts on one, and another simply states, “I heart TO.” Yet another has a smiley face in a hand flashing the peace symbol. It reminds me of the graffiti in Hamilton that read, “Pushin’ Niceness.” (see bottom of this page.)

For weeks, I had considered buying a gorgeous antique chest of drawers that I saw up in a shop on Queen Street West, but it was $900. One night I was walking home from the subway and saw a chest of drawers abandoned in an alley. I rang the closest doorbell and Caesar told me to take it – “It’s yours, and if anyone has a problem with that, tell them to come talk to Caesar.” Old men love me. Anyhow, after about an hour with some finishing nails, the chest of drawers fits my room perfectly. (B helped me clean my room Saturday night, and now it’s immaculate – I love it.)



About a 20 minute walk from us is Mitzi’s, a café that has the most amazing food. They don’t have a set menu, but make up a different one every day on a chalkboard according to what ingredients are available. It gives its guests about 8 options every day. It seats about two dozen, and there is often a line outside. It’s one of those cute little holes-in-the-wall that I love.

It’s not bad here. I even have moments of affection for our little nook of Toronto. Is that the best thing I can say about this place? Maybe. I’ll be home in 18 days, and all of this will be forgotten. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. I don’t want to settle down here. Some people move to Upper Canada “to get their feet on the ground,” and they end up being on the PTA here. I hope that doesn’t happen to me.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Some Clarification.

I am tentatively attached to the internet. AT HOME!!!

Re: two posts ago.
Jamie Oliver; on the Husband List. Jian Ghomeshi; still off. Stephen Colbert; I'm thinking about it. (That's Colbert the actor, not Colbert the character.) (Just saving myself from constantly making that distinction might be enough reason to keep him off.)

Re: last post.
I went to the Toronto Remembrance Day Ceremony. My housemate, C, went with me, which made me happy because I prefer to weep silently in public next to someone I know as opposed to weeping silently in public by myself.

Ok, back to life.
I have been less busy, really, than I have been in the first 10 weeks of my Torontoness.

On November 13th, we started a new semester, so I got rid of mt Bad Seed, my Lounger, my Deer-In-The-Headlights, and my Live-Action Comic Book Guy. I now have the Cool Geek, the Mature Go-Getter, and the Annoying Twins (not actual twins).

I'm teaching a World Relgions class, which is giving me wowzers in the trousers. I love it so much. There's some prep involved, but for the most part, I can just riff. We have gone through a unit of Aboriginal Spirituality, and then the Early Religions Unit, which consited of Zoroastrianism, Jainism, Confucianism, Taoism, and Shinto.

Next weekend my sister is visiting, which will be a nice appetizer to my trip home for winter break. I've booked a flight for the 22nd of December. Holy crapper, I can't wait. I get to see the fam and my girlies again, and I'll fill my face with my mother's cooking.

It's gotten very cold in Toronto. It was snowing on Friday morning when I left for work. All the leaves are down, and I enjoy kicking them as I walk down the sidewalk, even though I'm sure all the whimsy will buy me a syringe in the foot.

I rather like my neighbourhood. It's bookended with sketchvilles, but my stretch of street is quite nice. Apparently there were at least druggies, if not drug dealers, in the house before us, so I'd like to think I'm contributing to gentrification* of the area.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Benedictus Benetictat.

A short announcement to present a third pillar of the Church of Catherine:

Always attend Remembrance Day Ceremonies.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

One More Week! One More Week!

There's only one more week of this, my first semester.

Yeah, biz-natch! I own you!

I handed back term papers on Friday, and it cast a true pall over the class. Everyone was so quiet, it weirded me out in a big, bad, dirty way. It was like they were telepathically planning to mutiny.

In other news, I think I'm replacing my lost husband with a new model. This will be the first non-actor, non-singer on my list, but I'm happy with my choice. I think we can officially welcome Jamie Oliver to Cate's Husband List. I've loved this character for quite some time, but didn't consider him until today. Now, I know what you're thinking: I rarely act so rashly when it comes to the H.List, but I'm confident in this one.

So, Jamie'll be number 13, and I want feedback from you kind readers regarding a possible number 14.

Finally, I want to apologise about the lack of posting in the last couple of months. My computer doesn't work with the wireless we have at the house, so I have to buy a card. I'm upstairs on B's compy now.

The house is great and I'm having a lot of fun with my housemates. They're all solid folks. We went out last night to celebrate C's birthday. I personally think the night was ruined by the shittity shit-poor DJs. There was one never-ending track which had intermittant screaming, and then there was another never-ending crap track which sampled the opening hook of "Jump Around" with a shit "b-b-b-b-b-b-b-breakdown" thing. DON'T TEASE ABOUT HOUSE OF PAIN!!! Can I dance to a little James Brown, please? Kanye? Is that too much to ask? I have to go back to the Dance Cave.

I'm doing ok, living in this city, but because I'm so busy at work, I really haven't been able to explore as much as I'd like. And on weekends, I'm so burnt out, I just want to vegetate in my fuzzy robe. I miss PEI, and family and my girlfriends there, and smelling the ocean, and Charlottetown's lack of hobos, and just the familiarity of that environment, but I do like the anonymity of the big city, too. I must say, though, I can't wait to get home for Christmas break. December 21st!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

On The Eve Of My Election, I Say To My Reflection...

What a week.

I'm moved into my new place. Only B and I are in the new place right now, which is kinda great since we've not had a lot of alone time for years.

I'm still living out of boxes, but I'll soon have a very tall (239cm!) wardrobe to stow my clothes et al. in. I've been getting up early, working hard, going home, and sleeping. No time to unpack!

On Tuesday night, T's friend Nick was having a fund-raiser party. He's a director and he's about to start making a new film, so to avoid getting his name on every credit card available to man, he put together a night of entertainment and charged $10 to get in. It was a fun night, and I met some friends of T's that I'd only ever heard about.

Now, though, I've been wading my way through Elizabeth Kübler-Ross' wisdom while keeping my head above water at school. I'm so glad tomorrow is Friday.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Je Deménage Aujourd'hui!

Finalement!

Yesterday, I was zombified. My students wrote their midterms on Thursday, and the marks have to be submitted within 24 hours. I also have to tally up all their grades up to this point to send home report cards.

So, after a long day on Thursday, I made the mistake of taking 2 hours to myself to eat and watch The Office. I should have worked straight through. I marked from 10pm to midnight, and then got up at 4am to continue.

I was positively buzzing last night because I was so overtired. I was at school until around 6pm, trying to get ahead of myself for next week.

Because I move today, I won't get any prep done, and I have to work extra hard tomorrow - in my own place, nonetheless!

Marilyn and Mike are driving up from Ottawa with stuff I was storing at Aunt Jacky's (they're on the road now as I write), and are meeting me at T's place. Then, we're going to go to Ikea because there are no closets in my room and I need to buy a wardrobe. Then, I have to drop stuff off at the new house, drive to Anders' place with Marilyn's van, pick up his big items, drive them back, go for a lovey supper with the fam, and then collapse in a heap on my mattress, which may or may not be on a bedframe.

I hate moving. I've seen as more of a necessary evil in the last few years, though. I'm really glad I'll be moving into a home base, even though it's stupidly far from work.

Is deménager reflexive?

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Jesusmaryandjoseph.

I got a new class today.

It starts tomorrow.

It's grade 11 English.

SO... it's not the class I've been teaching and I had less than 24 hours to prepare myself.

SO... this means on Mondays and Wednesdays I'm going to be teaching for 11 hours stright (8:30am to 7:30pm) with three 15-minute breaks to catch my breath.

SO... this means every other day I'll be teaching from 8:30am to 4:30pm with two 15 minute breaks.

Pray for Mojo.

Upside? As Jax said in a text, mo' money. I just don't know when I'll get to spend it.

I'll have to save it. Like a hobo. Pfft.

Monday, October 08, 2007

I'be God A Code.

My normally-robust Anglo-Saxon pedigree has failed me. I have a cold.

I thought I lectured too much on Wednesday. I'm sure my students agreed. I went home with a sore throat, and when it wasn't gone on Thursday I was suspicious that the cold was looming.

On Friday I ferried my gear back to T's house for the Thanksgiving weekend. Marianne came over for a pizza and some quality time, but in the short time she was over, I filled up with sneezing and stinging eyes and so on.

All weekend I have napped and moped and knit and sucked back fresh ginger tea (I'm talkin' chopped-up-ginger-root fresh) as if it were some panacea. It's not, but it's tasty.

I think, though, by tomorrow I should be better, and then I can dive back into the world of rotting minds. Moulding. Moulding minds...

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Rapid Fire.

I am now out of my friend's house because they needed my bed for a prodigal daughter. I now live with a friend of theirs, another stop north on the subway. It's a great house and it'll serve the purpose as a stop-gap until I move into my own house in 2 weeks. I miss my friend's house, though. Leaving was sad.

School is fine. As stressful as ever. Caught a plagiarist this weekend. I've wanted to do that for a while. It's very satisfying.



Went to Nuit Blanche this last weekend. It was this all-night, city-wide modern art "thing." I didn't really enjoy it, but I wandered off the beaten track and found myself in the gay village, which, while entertaining, wasn't part of the official festivities. The official stuff I did see what wierd esoteric stuff that mostly just makes me angry.

Then, the next day I went to "Word on the Street," which is a reading fair. I got two magazine subscriptions for cheap ("The Walrus" and "The Alternatives Journal," both Canadian). The whole thing was, as T described it, "a librarian's wet dream." He was right: it was great. I was surrounded by, drifting away in, revelling in a sea of geeks, and I loved it.

I'm at school now. I haven't had my computer going for some time, hence the lack of posts. Also, I've mostly been using the school compies, so I don't want to go on the Book of Face. If you've been trying to communicate with me on Facebook, knock it off. That's what email's for. So there.

Monday, September 24, 2007

This Just In.

Here's a picture of my class from this summer. This was taken on the last day of the course, August 24th, in front of R.D. Lawrence Place, the museum we built. Click on it for detail.



If you count 28 instead of 26, that's because my instructor and his assistant are in the picture as well. Can't tell which ones they are?

Here they are:























Kidding. Here's what they usually looked like:

This is Jen and Chris.












I've never known two adults more keen on dressing up in costume. A familiar scene at a potluck:


















Here's the final product of the museum. This picture was taken at dusk on August 22nd, when people worked into the wee hours.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Apologies.

I'm so sorry, all you kind people that for whatever reason are interested in reading about my life [insert: you creepy voyeurs].

My school has three periods a day, each 2.5 hours long.

In the first period (8:30 - 11:00), I co-teach English Lit. to 8 students with a very experienced teacher. I surepticiously take notes on what she does.

In the second period (11:15 - 1:45), I'm on my own for the same class again with 9 students. This is when I blatantly rip off everything my colleague did in the first period.

I don't have a class in the third period. This is usually when I eat. I only eat one or two granola bars during the second period, but otherwise, nothing. I am pretty cranked up on nerves, so I don't really feel the hunger until I get out of the classroom.

I also photocopy. A lot. I'm pretty sure I'm going to have to go on worker's comp. when I'm diagnosed with "Toner Lung."

Then on Mondays and Wednesdays, I teach a night class which goes from 4:30 - 7:30. I'm really tired out on those nights, and the 3 students aren't terribly engaged, so I feel like I have to dance around more than usual to keep them interested.

I finally kicked the adrenaline-enduced headache I had all last week, but I still live in fear that I'm going to be found out as an imposter. When I was introduced to an aunt of T's last week, I felt like I was lying when I told her I was a teacher.

I'm a teacher.

I'm about as comfortable claiming that I'm a teacher as I would be claiming I'm a gun-runner.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Let's Play Ball.

Marianne and I went to a Jays game last night. We shelled out not the usual $11 but a pricey $32, which bought us tickets closer to the field.

And by closer to the field, I mean 2 rows from the field. I could have leaned over the boards and touched the first base line. (So, you can read from that description that we were pretty far from home plate, since it was almost where the 1st base line terminates, but still, Alex Rios was really close to us in right field.)

Still, the perspective was really neat. I like the $11 seats because you can watch the whole field and get the big picture, but where we were, I had to swivel my head a lot to see the action, and I found that when a batter got a hit, I couldn't follow where the ball was.

I have to say, the most fun was sitting next to Marianne crapping her pants every time there was a fly ball. We were so far down the 1st base line, it took a ball 2 minutes to reach where we were, but still, she was sure some sort of powerful line drive that was uneffected by gravity or friction would drill her in the forehead. I tried to explain that she would be able to see it coming and would be able to react, but this didn't seem to process. It was super funny. Marianne's great.

Maybe it was my fault. I suggested we go get a drink before the game, and she had her first pint of cider, which can do funny things to an initiate.

The Jays lost, which Mare and I noticed was strange. We think every other game we ever saw, they won. We lost 6-4 to the Orioles, who handed our asses to us for the who game, and we only got those 2 runs in single homers in the bottom of the ninth. Too late for a rally, boys!

So, the seats were a neat change in the p.o.v., but since it caused the Jays to lose, maybe we should go back to the nosebleed section. (Not that this will really change their standing this season. Mathematically, they could still be in the race, but realistically, no.)

Me An' Captain Mike.

So, now that I'm living in Toronto and I'm a hip young urban professional (=cough=), I thought I should take in at least one TIFF showing. Marianne suggested we try to get tickets for Rendition (2007), and to her credit, the box office rep. didn't laugh in my face. I might as well have asked for a private audience with Clooney. (Ok, fine. I did that, too. But what if that worked?!)

Then, Mare suggested we try to get tickets for Captain Mike Across America (2007). I didn't know anything about the movie. In fact, I thought it was a documentary about Michael Moore, not a doc by Michael Moore. The tickets were $20, but this is normal for all the non-gala showings at the TIFF. The gala showings are considered the "premiere" and usually the stars and directors and producers and a lot of industry klingons are around. And they cost $40. There was no "gala" listed for Captain Mike, nor would I have paid double to see Michael Moore and Harvey Weinstein.

In the end, I got that for free! Woo-hoo?

Yeah, Michael Moore was there, and he introduced the film. Then, when it was over, he hosted a Q&A. He is as unassuming and amorphous in real life as he is on cellulose, and he was pretty transparent with his answers, so that was good. He also spoke openly about he's always such a Canada-lover.

The movie was ok. It was about Moore's 2004 60-city tour ostensibly prompting youth to vote, but really rallying support for people not to vote for Bush. (Or to vote for Kerry, but one can argue that point.) I hope most people watching his docs are media-savvy enough to recognise the manipulations he employs and what he chooses to leave in to serve a purpose. I won't see it again.

I'm kinda glad the film festival is over today. The media's been pooping its pants over all the celebrities in town, and they're all just scrambling to get soundbites that say any of the following:

a) "Canada's so beautiful and clean!"
b) "I love Toronto! Everyone's so polite!"
c) "The Toronto Film Festival is now the bestest film festival in the world."

Off to do some marking.

'Cuz I'm a teacher 'n stuff.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Shalom!

All hail the wonderful and beautiful Jewish faith.

All hail half the student population of my school who belong to the aforementioned wonderful and beautiful Jewish faith, because it has given us all today and tomorrow off to celebrate Rosh Hashanah. And I will. I will celebrate Rosh Hoshanah, with all the gentile gusto I can muster. I'm going to party like it's 5768.

The first three days of school have been ok, but there's a strange dichotomy between appearing super-confident in front of the students while figuritively browning my pants. The classes are two-and-a-half hours long, so the teachers have to have a lot of meaningful material to go over. Having never taught the class before (grade 12 English Lit.), I happily and openly steal lesson plans from the other, more experienced, teachers.

Some of my students, I can tell already, are going to be great. Some of them, of course, I'm afraid, are crapweasels. Huge crapweasels. Hopefully, as the semester progresses, I'll be able to instil some fear in them.

I'm tired, though. I slept until 8am this morning, and it was so decadent!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Sweet City Woman.

Holy shit, I sure do live in Toronto. The classmate I live with scoffs when I say "Here's to not getting mugged!" before I leave the house, but there are a lot more people here, and therefore, my chances of being mugged, statistically speaking, are up. Especially compared to Minden. And Charlottetown.

Also, I find there are a lot of very good-looking men in Toronto, but I think it's also a statistical, density-based blip.

I struck out today to buy books for my classes so I can dog-ear them and write notes in the margins as if I have pored over them for weeks.

Yesterday I went to my school to check in, and, unfortunately, my grade 11 Religious Studies class has been cancelled due to low enrolment, but I've been put in with another English Lit. teacher's full class to help her. I like this plan, really. I will be able to watch the goings-on of an experienced teacher and see what I have to do when I'm flying solo.

Also, the principal said she was thinking of designing a grade 12 World Religions class, and I got all twitterpated and told her I'd love to have some input if it is needed.

So, to change the subject, my classmate, who I will call T (and maybe sometimes T-bone, simply because I think it's funny) and his father got home last night, so I was not all alone in the house anymore. It was nice. His Mum is home tomorrow, and then, next week, his eldest sister. It'll be a full house! All we'll need is a milkman, a paperboy, and evening TV.

And, to change the subject again, my friend Dafs assures me that having sexy dreams about Michael Cera is legal, healthy, and justifiable. Thanks, Dafs.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Whirlwind.

Whew! I left Minden on Saturday the 25th at 8:20am. I got into Charlottetown at 11:30pm on the same day. I was pretty tired, to say the least, but there was a Confed. Centre 'do, so I eventually found the place and I missed it! Everyone had left about 15 minutes before I got there. It meant I didn't get to see one friend that was moving to KW, unfortunately, but I cought up with others later.

On Sunday, I saw Lisa, Paige, and Chris, went up to Savage Harbour to see my father's cranberry bog (which was positively white with berries - let's hope the frost doesn't get them!), and then Mum, Dad, and I went to the Confederation Centre for the Maude Whitmore Concert, where we met Jackie and Lisa for the show.

The show was fine. I've seen better Maudes. And longer, too. But still, one of my FOH girls won a scholarship to study dance, so I was pleased.

I bid adieu to Lisa and Jackie, who are both working girls in, as Lisa puts it, the least possible prostitute sense possible. There was a 'do at Mavor's and I spent some more time with my Centries, also in the least possible prostitute sense possible.

The next day, I did some running around and then Jackie called to say she was taking the afternoon off after an exhausting and successful presentation. We had lunch with Lisa and then did a little shopping. I was looking for a pair of jeans and a purse. I got a purse, anyway. One that looks a little too grown-up for me, but I should fit in fairly well with all the other city girls.

That night I hung out with my parents for a while, before a late-night outing with some other Centries.

On Tuesday, I saw Sobia for "coffee" and a great chat, and then got to see Anna before I went home.

On Wednesday, Mum, Dad, and I loaded up some stuff in the van and set out for New Brunswick. We stayed overnight in Pres-du-Lac, and then on through to Minden via Ottawa the next day, Thursday.

Dad and I finished packing and loaded the van in Minden, I closed up shop, and set out for Toronto. We arrived last night, went out for supper, and then I set about typing up a final report for my course.

Today, Dad left me and now I'm in the house all by myself. I always liked being alone, but it a little strange being in a friend's family's home when there's no one around. They're all up north for the long weekend.

It's good I have some alone time. I have to read read read in the next couple of days. I have to prepare for the classes I'll be teaching. Oh! I forgot to say: the school has given me a Religious Studies class! I'll be teaching a grade 11 world religions class, and I'm so stoked.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Last Day.

It's my last full day in Minden. I go home - home home - tomorrow, and then I drive back up here to move my stuff to Toronto. (If I could stop typing Tornoto anytime soon, that would be just great.)

We're saying goodbyes, but I'm mostly sad that I have to pack. Packing sucks dirty donkey dicks, and I don't wanna!

I'm going to miss my classmates, and I think I'm going to miss the manual labour. I like my place here in Minden, too, for the most part. My roommate is amazing and I've made some great friends.

Yesterday there was an invite-only open house at the now-finished museum, and I had to do a speech on behalf of my classmates. There were over 100 people there and all the grown-ups went first with their speeches, all written down and heartfelt. I felt like a tit because I had to say something somewhat meaningful and thank a ton of people and not make myself look an idiot in front of my classmates.

In the end, it was ok, and people kept telling me I gave a good speech, but I was browning my pants the whole time and I am glad it's all over.

Straw bale house anyone?

Postscript: I drew a deep breath today as I changed my location (to the left of the screen) from Minden to Toronto, Ontario.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

I Never Worked A Day In My Life; I Just Lay Back And Let The Big Beat Lead Me.

Well, I've got some good news. For those who have been reading this blog for a while, or listening to me moan about the state of my life, you especially know I have some good news!

I got a job!

It took me a year and a half on Prince Edward Island to not get a decent job, and I've not even officially moved to Toronto yet and I'm set.

So, the job is teaching English Lit. to grade 12 students at a private school. I think it'll be fine, and there's some chance for me to advance (meaning, teach more).

I have to thank my old friend Mike for the job. He worked at this school and is leaving, and recommended my name to the principal. I went in for a meeting yesterday, and she hired me before we parted ways. His nod went a long way, and I owe him. Something, I dunno, but I just do, in that cosmic sense.

Sorry to all those who didn't know I had the interview, but I was nervous and didn't want to jinx it. The thing is, not only do I now have a job, but one I think I'll like a lot and be good at.

The sad thing to me is how much this is a commentary on the state of the job scene on the East Coast, and how outmigration is such an insidious problem. It breaks my heart to leave my briney ocean tossed. (Yeah, I know that's Nova Scotia, but it works for PEI, too.)

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Bike Riding.

Did you know I had to think pretty hard to think of the last time I rode a bike?

My landlady and landlord (landpeople? landcouple?) in England lent me an old bike in case I wanted to bike to work, but it was only about a 10 minute walk and the bike was pretty rickety.

Well, it was rickety, but I was also a little afraid to bike. It's a little outside of my comfort zone to go that fast.

I always say that curling is the fastest sport I'm comfortable playing.

Then, when I was working in the National Park a few summers ago, a co-worker brought a bike to the campground and I rode it around the sites for a little while. I felt a little out of control, but I was pleased that it all came back to me so easily.

Last week, a classmate and I decided to go to the local greasy spoon (a.k.a. The Only Game in Town) for lunch, but we were a little pressed for time, so I hijacked someone's bike and we pedaled it.

It was exhilarating! I wonder if maybe those other recent times, I wasn't as fit, so the biking was a little daunting, physically. I had to cross a couple of roads, and my biking partner was much more confident, but I had to stop and look.

When I dismounted, I was all shakey from the adrenaline. It took me a while to calm down.

Now, all I can think about is this supafly bike I saw up on Yonge and Eglington when I was in Toronto a few weeks ago. It had flowers all over it, and it had a bell, and instead of regular tire treads, it had flowers as treads! Flowers as treads, people!

Anyhow, it was stupid expensive (c.$650) and I still don't really consider myself a person who rides a bike, so it was a bit of fun to picture myself riding in a cotton dress with a baguette in the front basket.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Back.

Happily, when Marilyn and Mike were here a month ago, Mike left a laptop here that he had loaded up with an architectural drawing program. I didn't end up using the program, but now I've got this second computer to which I can swap over.

My old compy (RIP, I think) won't turn on, and when I dig into its guts, sometimes what I do works and sometimes it doesn't. Therefore, I'm putting compy to its final rest and am going to use clunky instead. Clunky is heavy and not as sleek as compy, but it's a hell of a lot better than nought.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Broked Again.

Sorry for any radio silence, kids, but my computer is broked again. I'm going to try to fix it tonight, if I can get ahold of my brother-in-law, who might be able to walk me through it.

I'm well. We have one week left of class and it's getting down to the wire.

Loves to all, except for some, who get merely hugs.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Ring, Ring! Who's There? A Luddite!

This is a marathon post day because I've been leading a marathon life the last few days. See highlights in three other new posts, below.

I went shopping for a short while when I was in Toronto yesterday.

It was long enough for me to get a cell phone, though.

It's pretty scary for me. As I told my mother -

cell phone : me :: a mortgage : normal people

I don't know where I'll be permanently in Toronto, and I need a phone to look for work, so I hooked it up now while there were some good back-to-school deals, and I'll use it as my primary phone instead of hooking up a landline.

The poor salesperson didn't know what she was getting into when she greeted me. I had a lot of questions because I barely know how to dial a mobile, let alone own one.

I was hesitant to get a cell phone all this time because of the way so many cell phone owners behave. Taking calls at tables, not turning them off in shows and movies, and generally looking like prats while screaming into them.

(Fun game: next time you're around someone whose cell phone rings, see how long it takes for them to say where they are. It's usually the first thing someone asks when they call a cell phone.)

We've Got A Lot To Be Glad For.

On Friday, after only a couple of hours of sleep on Thursday night, a trip into Toronto and a CFL game, my classmates and I went to Lee's Palace to see a band called Rock Plaza Central.


I kinda can't believe I hadn't heard about this group before. It was an amazing show from this 7-member band (though one was missing on Friday). There's a violinist who plays trombone, a guitarist who switches to 'bone and banjo, and a trumpet player who switches to mandolin. I love the sound of brass, and these players must have been classically trained. Beautiful, rich, toneful brass sounds.

The lead singer is a writer and musician, and his lyrics are fun and thoughtful. I think the best part of their music is the positivity. It's very optimistic, with song titles like "We've Got a Lot to be Glad For," and "My Children, Be Joyful." He's also got some sort of horse fixation, which crops up often.

They have a sense of humour, too, obviously.

If you ever get a chance, take them in. I'll go with.

After the show, we climbed the stairs to a dance cave. I was totally not interested in dancing, since I was so tired I was pretty sure my eyes were bleeding, but it was like the DJ was the best wedding DJ ever. It wasn't gross dance club un-cha-un-cha-un-cha music, but great rock we could dance to in a non-meat-market atmosphere. Who knew this existed! I couldn't help but dance with my classmates when he spun "Under Pressure." Come on!

Like An Old Shoe.

On Thursday I gave the best tour yet. There were 26 people there, and I toured their brains out. I was so in the zone, I forgot that Mel, Lynda, and Dave were arriving during the tour, so when I looked outside and saw them waiting there, it was like Christmas!


We met some of my classmates, went to the Thai restaurant in town, came back to my apartment and sat and chatted and played and annoyed my roommate until we went to sleep at 4am.

Kevin, my poor put-upon roomie, was up at 6:30am, which woke me up, and I couldn't get back to sleep, leaving me with 2 and-a-half hours of rest. I went to the site for the daily 8am meeting, stumbled back to my place and worked on my resume until my peeps woke up at about 10. We hung out and ate and then they were gone at 1ish.

It was great to have them over, and a little weird, too. It was worlds colliding. I had no context of them in that realm, so it took a little getting used to. In a good way!

While it was a very short visit, it was jam-packed with FOH goodness. I miss my peeps!

Green Is The Colour.

Go Riders!

On Friday, me and five of my classmates accompanied Dave to a Saskatchewan Roughriders game at the Skydome. Dave is my classmate whose wife, son, and neighbours in Saskatchewan are taking care of his cattle ranch while he's taking this course. He's a good, hard-working, God-fearing, salt-of-the-earth guy, and we all love him, so we wanted to watch him support his favourite team.

I didn't know, not knowing anything about the CFL, that it is customary for Roughriders fans to wear watermelons as helmets and paint themselves green. Dave did not let us down. Stripped to the waist and melon-helmeted, Dave strutted proudly through the sea of navy-blue Argos fans.

He took some abuse from the Toronto fans, who threw peatnuts and insults at him, but for the most part, there was a great supportive sportsmanship from the crowd. When it became obvious in the 4th quarter that the Riders were going to win, the crowd started filing out of the Skydome. Dave, who was sitting on the aisle, got friendly thumps on his helmet, pats on the back, handshakes, and congratulations. He was on cloud nine. Adorable. "We" got the game in the end, 24-13.

I still know little to nothing about the CFL, but I think I can follow along now. It was worth the $25 ticket to watch Dave, though, and cheer on a team whose province I've only ever driven through.

I love fight songs:

Green is the Colour. Football is the Game. We're all together and Winning is our aim. So Cheer us on through the sun and rain. Saskatchewan Roughriders is our name.

Let's show our pride in the Green & White. We will fight, Green & White. Sing loud and clear till the game is won. The best is yet to come.

Green is the Colour. Football is the Game. We're all together and Winning is our aim. So Cheer us on through the sun and rain. Saskatchewan Roughriders is our name.

Here at Taylor Field we are Number one. We're the best; East or West. We'll give our all till the game is done. Stand up and sing everyone .... Hey!

Green is the Colour. Football is the Game. We're all together and Winning is our aim. So Cheer us on through the sun and rain. Saskatchewan Roughriders is our name.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Let's Hope Toronto Doesn't Always Whiff of Piss.

Things are going well at the site. For the last week, I've been continuing work on the tongue-and-groove, but instead of being up on the scaffolding, I've become the mistress of the chop saw.

Who could have ever thought that 5 months ago, I was waking myself with nightmares about power tools? I am now perfectly confident, comfortable, and, might I add, proficient with the chop saw, jigsaw, and circular saw.

Now, we have two teams working on installing the tongue and groove, and they holler out the length of board they need. I repeat it back to them in reciept of the order, find a board, cut it, and bring it to them, repeating the length when I present it.

Team: Catherine!
Me: Yeah!
Team: 87 and three eighths!
Me: 87 and three eighths, I'm on it!

I like it. I feel like a short-order cook. Maybe I should get a little bell and hit it when an order is up.

Anyhow, one more afternoon and the whole ceiling should be done.

Last week, Dad was here. He's working on some lectures for the fall, so he's writing and researching a lot. I think he needed a change of atmosphere, so he called and came up. He was here for 4 days, and it was great to see him for a while. I think him coming up assured him I wasn't living in squalor, and he also insisted on cleaning all the things that weren't clean enough to eat off. I didn't stop him.

On the weekend, I went to Toronto to see Marianne, Chris K., Kristin, and Emily (the last three I hadn't seen in almost 2 years). I tried to give blood, but my iron was too low, and I saw a Jays games (they won). I also saw Hot Rod (2007), which, while peurile, was very entertaining. I laughed so hard at one point, it was like the time I couldn't stop laughing in Shrek (2001) and the time I couldn't stop crying in The Pianist (2002). All times were embarassing, but satisfying.

Anyhow, I don't know if it was because it was the summer, Caribana weekend, or a combination of the two, but the city smelled like it was pickled in piss. It wasn't the normal city phenomenon of occasionally walking by an alley and whiffing piss; it was full lengths of streets that whiffed of piss.

This week, I have a huge project to work on. I've all but resigned myself to the fact that I'm going to pass it in late. I work so hard on the site during the day, the last thing I want to do at night is draw design diagrams.

On Thursday, Lynda, Mel, and Dave are coming to visit me! I love that wherever I go, I get a delegation from the Confed. I am confident that this place will be prettier than Hamilton. Hell, I'd have to move to the Sydney Tar Ponds for it not to be prettier than Hamilton.

Finally: I'm going to try to make a go of it in Toronto in the fall. It makes me a little sad to give up trying to find work in the Maritimes, but last year was so depressing and demoralizing, I honestly can't face the idea of going back to joblessness or near-joblessness and mooching off my kind parents again. I have old and new friends in the city and in nearby cities, and already couple of job leads. And, as of this past weekend, I have secured a place to stay, which is a big load off my mind. And my parents' minds.

Off to update the ole resume!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Poo Party?

Last night all my classmates met at the worksite at about 7pm, and started a concerned plastering effort. Sometimes it's done in a blitz like that to get a lot done in one go. Yesterday, Sebastian's plaster team made 16 batches of scratch coat, which, you might remember (if I don't underestimate the geekiness of my readers), is 10% cow manure.

The cow manure is a binder, and keeps the plasters from dusting when touched.

Anyhoo...

I spent the night forming plaster into palm-sized balls and tossing them to plasterers on the south-west wall. They would call out "Poo me!" or "Yes!" or "Ball!" and I'd toss it in a lazy arc towards them so they could slap it on the wall.

Sometimes I put too much spin on the ball, and little bits of plaster would flick off, and people would get it in their mouths and eyes and yell at me something about e. coli or pinkeye or some other bullshit. Ingrates.

A couple of my colleagues and I even worked out an ingenious way of passing plaster balls without them turning away from the wall. Here's what I'd do: They'd yell for a plaster ball and put both their hands palm-up at waist-height, behind their backs, and I'd gently throw the ball so it would hit them between the shoulder blades. That way, they had a warning that the ball had arrived, and they could catch it at the small of their backs as gravity worked it magic. It was very satisfying.

Now I have no groceries, so I'm going to go next door to the greasy spoon for breakfast. Yumma.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Get Yer Ya Yas Out.

This is my favourite picture taken of me so far this summer. It's a little hard to tell, but my classmate Sebastian has his head in the mixer. If I started it just then, he would have been a goldmine for organ harvesting.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Rise Again.

Marilyn and Mike came to visit me this weekend. It was a very nice change. I probably would have sat around waiting for laundry to dry, reading HP6 in prep. for HP7.

As it happened, Mike fixed my computer! It pisses me off a little that I paid some turkey in Haliburton $25 to tell me it was toast when it wasn't and he obviously didn't look very hard.

Now, I'm sitting, waiting for my laundry to dry, listening to Johnny M.'s Continuum on a loop and catching up on some socializing, paying some bills, and generally wasting time.



It was a really busy week again on the construction site. I was mostly working on the tongue-and-groove. (This is not as titillating as one might hope.) It's the kind of ceiling finish we're using, so for three days, I was balanced precariously on flights of scaffolding, waiting for lengths of board so I could use the air-nailer to tack them to the roof trusses. The company was good, but I was pretty nervous and unsteady. And sweaty.

On Tuesday, I went with two classmates to pick up the gothic windows. They are beautifully-made wooden window casings, and they're going to look great at the front and the back of the building.

That night, we went to see Ratatouille (2007), which was such a relief after weeks of seeing shitty, shitty, movies. I was bouyed by the fact that Rotten Tomatoes gave it 96% Fresh rating, which is almost unheard of. There were breathtaking wide shots of Paris that made me go all mushy inside. It wasn't really a kids' movie - it's just in a medium considered to be the realm of children's entertainment. (Yes, I know, the Simpsons and Family Guy and dozens others break this mould, but still, you know I'm still right.)

I forgot to say in my last post: I saw a black bear and two cubs when I was in Coboconk last weekend! It was on the dirt road on Sunday night, and I thought it was a big dog, and then when it went towards the woods, obviously a bear, and it joined two wee little cubs! So cool! The car's engine was shut off and I rolled down my window to see if I could hear them, and they were pretty noisy, ambling through the underbrush. Looking back, I probably shouldn't have rolled down the window, in case there was a rogue bear close by who would reach into my window and maul me to death, but I'm from PEI where we have no bears at all, so I guess that would probably put me on the front page of the Guardian ("Covers the Island Like The Dew.").

Monday, July 16, 2007

Still No Compy.

My compy is baked (cracked motherboard), but my kind sister is sending me a new one. She is an angel (but she rarely wears a halo).

Went to Toronto this weekend with a classmate, and then to Coboconk, to see his family's cottage, which was really great, and very "Ontario Cottagey." I had a lot of fun, despite it raining and not getting enough sleep.

Holy shit, the last week was shit. Shitty shit. We had to present models for our designs, so a lot of us skipped working on the construction site to finish up our presentations, and then we got new assholes ripped [hyperbole] because we didn't show to help and the time is getting low. SO... on Thursday and Friday, to prove we all aren't slickity-slack n'er-do-wells, we worked our collective new assholes off, and then were B-E-A-T beat. A break from Minden is what I needed.

The website is pretty darn updated. There are some pics of me, but that's not the point, is it? It's to track our progress and learn. Learn, learn, learn. Learnity learn. Ok, I need a beer.

I'll update more when new compy arrives.

Oh, and I saw Transformers. It was shit. Shia wasn't, but the movie was. Three shades of shit. It expected as much, so caveat emptor, bitches. [I see I already mentioned my review, but I think it's worth restating.]

I saw HPV last Wednesday, and it was only two shades of shit. The scenes in Little Whinging were not shit at all. They were amazing; gritty, realistic (despite the Dementors), and moody. No surprise: Radcliffe writhing around, all sweaty, in bed makes me uncomfortable. Well, it will until July 23rd, anyway.

Sorry I wrote "shit" so much this post. I'm in a mood.

Friday, July 06, 2007

All The BS.

My computer is still ill. It's in hospital in Haliburton, and it'll probably have to stay there for the weekend. Bah, humbug.

Work on the site is going really well. I've been adding a lot more pictures to the website (see linque du jour, left).

Yesterday, I worked the entire day on the plasters team. In the morning, we made 3 or 4 batches of clay slip, 3 batches of cob, and 4 or 5 batches on interior plaster, which is 10% cow manure. (I can't link to reference pages with my classmate's Mac, so you'll have to look up what cob is on your own. Sorries.)

All afternoon, we plastered the interior north wall. The others used gloves, but I went bare-handed.

I went home at 4 to clean up for the weekly site tour, which I host. I washed my hands, scrubbed them in the shower, and then had to take a nail brush to them when I got our of the shower. Then, last night, they still smelled of cow shit.

More and more, I understand why farming is such a noble profession.

Last night's tour was the biggest turnout yet. There were over 20 people, when before the most was 12. It was cool.

Finally, I saw Transformers on Tuesday night. I know, I know... why? Well, it was really to support Husband List Member #13, Mr. Shia LaBoeuf. I guess he did a good job with what he was given, but that wasn't much. He did, at one point, have to tell the uber-skank he was a-courtin' that she was "more than meets the eye." Oh, no. Oh, yes.

The movie was shit on a stick. I kinda knew it would be, going in, but it exceeded my expectations.

Maybe my hands didn't stink from the plaster, but just proximity to Transformers.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Big Times In The Big Smoke AND My Computer Is Broked.

My computer is broken, so this will be super brief. I'm on a
classmate's computer.

The Condensed Reading Week Narrative Company.
Starring Cate "The Bard" Sweet.

Friday: Got a lift to TO with kind roommate Kevin. Met with Marianne
with a minimum of getting lost. Ate paella at a restaurant, late into
the evening.

Saturday: Marianne and I went to the market, bought cheese. Then we
went to see Ocean's Thirteen. It was meh. Woman's plasticine face
distracted me.

That night Marianne worked, so while she slept the next day, I met up
with Anders. What day was it?

Sunday! Anders and I met at the Eaton Centre, and on a whim, popped
accross the street to the Canon Theatre to put our names in the
lottery for the matinee performance of We Will Rock You.

We walked in the door to find a young, handsome francophone man. He
asked us if we had tickets. We said no, and he said he had two that he
could sell us for $25 each. I thought he was a scalper, despite his
youth, hottness, and the fact that he was standing IN the box office.
Anders knew better. He recognised him as the lead actor in the show.

It turned out, the lead got his parents tickets but they couldn't go,
so we ended up buying his parent's seats from him for $50. Second row.
Of Awesome.

The show, which is a review of Queen music, was amazing. Well, I love
Queen and I love musicals, so how could I lose? I was a little afraid
that it would be all musical-y with jazz hands and
kick-turn-step-kick-kick.

No. It rocked out with its cock out. Go see it (if you like Queen and musicals).

That night, Anders, Marianne and I met with Sobia for supper at a
mexican place. The quesidillia (sp?) left something to be desired, but
the sangria didn't! The news is, Sobia has decided to do her PhD! Big
good luck, there, ladybird!

Sobia stayed over at Marianne's place, so I crashed at the house where
Anders was housesitting. It was one of his co-worker's homes, and he
was taking care of the owner's spoiled cat, Henry. It was a pretty
nice cat, but I was saddened that it was taken care of better than I
am. Maybe I should find an owner.

Monday, Anders gave me a tour of his work. He works at Malabar, a
theatrical costume supply company. It was a huge warehouse with
thousands of costumes, all arranged in chronological order from
Biblical to late 1800s. It was amazing to see. I wish I could have
tried it all on.

On the way back to Marianne's place, I went to the Gap on Bay and
Bloor because they have all the bras I like, and Mare doesn't like
going there. I also bought sheet music for Desperado and the piano
book for Spamalot, which I regretted not buying in London.

That night, Marianne, Anders, and I met up again to go see Evil Dead:
the Musical. I heart this musical. It was amazing. It was the
antithesis of We Will Rock You. It was small, and made to look
homemade and crappy (but it wasn't), and oh-so-bloody.

The blood. The first three rows of the audience is called the Splatter
Zone, and although they give out ponchos, most people forgo the
protection, and, in fact, wear white. The cast was so funny about
spraying the crowd. If they were shot, stabbed, or otherwise maimed
upstage, they would stagger downstage and squeeze out their blood sacs
onto the crowd, who loved it. I was laughing very hard because of the
spectacle of it all, as you might imagine.

Having not watched any of the Evil Dead movies, I might have missed
out on some references, but I don't think I could have enjoyed it much
more. I wanted to see it because Shaun of the Dead references if more
than once (and Spaced, too), and I wanted to appreciate those
Wright/Pegg offerings all the more.

I've watched the first two Evil Dead movies since. They were very
good, in a crap way, and I'm waiting to see Evil Dead 3: Army of
Darkness.

On Tuesday, Marianne and I went shopping, somewhat unsuccessfully, and
went to see the Namesake, which was a lovely, bittersweet movie about
generations of Indians in America.

That night we met one of my classmates and his wife for supper at a
cheap Korean place up near the Annex. It was cheap, indeed, and pretty
good, too, until I saw a mouse run under my chair. I tried to be brave
and I finished my meal, but it distracted me, to say the least.

I came back to Minden on the Wednesday, taking the three hour bus
ride. I was glad to get back early because I had a huge presentation
last Wednesday.

I was ill-prepared, but I think I pulled it off ok. If I were talking
about Religious Studies, I might feel a lot better, but as a building
designer, I feel utterly out of my depth.

The worst part is, in the real world, a designer would hand plans over
to an engineer to figure out where all the mechanical systems would
go, and if it were safe, and so on, but we have to do all that stuff.
Our instructor wants to train generalists, which is better, I suppose,
than someone who only knows how to do one thing, but it makes it
harder! (And taking on a challenge is for chumps, right?)

Well, I spent most of this afternoon working on the website, so
hopefully by the end of the day, pictures from week 7 will be up.
Check it out in the linque du jour section, a la gauche.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

FYI.

Attention all Charlottetown readers:

Hot Fuzz opens at City Cinema today.

Go see it and see if you agree with my review (s).

Big presentation today - I'll try to update when I'm done.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Under The Wire.

Phew! I almost left a two week gap in posting! That's nuts! That's not fair! That's not right or kind!

I'm sorry.

Fortnight.

Sorry again. I just like the word fortnight.

My course is a little nutso, and then I went to Toronto for 5 days to see Marianne and Anders, and, as it happened, Sobia, an ex-classmate Joe, and a current classmate Chris and his wife, who doesn't get her own name, in true Bible tradition.

I have to write individual posts about my doings in the Big Smoke. But not now. I have to work on my design project. I've made a pdf of my sketch so far. Click here to check it out.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Project Ho.

How can I be stressed about school?

At this stage of my life, I should be stressed about the looming merger between my firm and some German conglomerate, and I have German on my cv and I'm afraid they'll find out that I've padded that line from "can barely cope" to "absolutely fluent," so, in my creativity-stifling cubicle, I desperately search out night courses in German at the local community college.

I've got a huge project due Monday where I have to plot out 2 options for every possible choice for my design project, and, the element that's really stuck in my craw*, do the budget up as well. Hmph. I can definitley shop for prices of, say, handbags or shoes, but cubic yards of infill soil? On PEI from Ontario? Forget this noise. I'ma make it up.

I tried to have a nap a couple of hours ago. It seemed like a worthwhile alternative to work, but I woke myself up I was sweating so loudly. It is currently 33 with the humidex. I walked to get groceries this morning and had pitstains to my knees by the time I got home.

Meanwhile, it's 11 degrees in Charlottetown. EE-levin. Spring jacket weather.

(I suspect the spring jacket merchants in Ontario have gone right belly-up. There's no transition into summer here. It's all winter sleety snowyness and then, BAM! Hot-breath-on-the-back-of-your-neck-and-not-in-a-good-way-weather.)

Guh. I have to go hit this project. I've been farting about all day and now it's 5pm. Project ho!

*As soon as I locate my craw, I will remove said element.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Triangle Of Math.

Today, a professional timber framer came to teach us how to do timber frame roof joinery.

It was pretty cool, actually.

I was expecting it to be dead boring, but it wasn't! This guy, Steve Smith, a professional timber framer, came in to teach us about the math involved with building a timber frame roof.

I heard the word math and all my alarms went off. I immediately got my back up and assumed I would be left behind. I'm generally math ath backwardth.

I forgot, though, that I have some sort of weird mutant triangle superpower.

When I was in high school, I was utterly left behind by algebra, but I could handle trigonometry instinctually. Hand me a triangle, and I could figure out its ins and outs without the formulas. (This was a pain, actually, because then I had to work backwards to show my work.) [Remember showing your work? Man! Can you imagine still having to do that as an adult?]

Today, I could rotate beams in my mind and see where the cuts had to go, and I watched my classmates struggle with it. I stood back and didn't say anything, because I didn't want to use the circular saw to make the awkward cuts. It took forever and we didn't stop for lunch until about 2pm.

Tomorrow: we're pouring the concrete slab! Wee! I say "wee" for the spectacle of it all, not for the concrete itself, which has stupid-high embodied energy compared to sustianable foundation methods, like rubble trench and earth bag.

That reminds me: on Wednesday, we're going to an earth bag workshop! It'll be great, although sweaty, work.

Finally: I saw Disturbia (2007) tonight. It wasn't crap! I'm not used to seeing suspenseful movies, so it was a fun change. It's quite stressful! It was obviously targeted at a teen audience. There was a lot of making out in this film (on the screen - don't get too excited), and I can't say there was enough. I like that Shia!

Monday, May 28, 2007

Sorry, All.

I don't know where the week's gone.

I worked more this week on the construction site, and some more at the PR bs I have to do. I made information pamphlets, which still need some tweaking, I tied some rebar, I got a smiley-shaped sunburn on my arse, I hosted the first tour of the site, which went very well, I sucked at uploading pictures to the website (this week's priority), and I recorded a PSA about the tours. I kicked butt at that, I think, and the station manager took my number in case I wanted to do some more voice work for them. That's cool, I guess.

I have also learned how to play euchre (or at least I think that's how it's spelled). It's fun but I still don't know all the rules.

There's an election today back home. I'm glad I'm not around to do my civic duty. Municipal and provincial elections never stimulated me. I suppose I could have educated myself and looked into mail-away ballots, but sure didn't!

Today, the highlight will be mailing my passport application. Then, when I'm done this course, I can traipse off to Bali, put my feet up, and work on my melanoma.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Sussed.

I’m sitting out on my balcony now, straining every inch of my 50’ internet cable. I’m tethered with about 12 inches of cord out my door.

Oh, well. It’s a beautiful night. The Gull River is calm and all the weekend’s annoying motorboaters have all gone back to Toronto. There are lots of birds around here, and I’m watching robins, grackles, and some sort of swallow rip up and down the river. The willows are greening up, and there’s a flowering crab on my bank of the river busting into bloom. My tomato plant is also in bloom, so there's hope for yum if I don't lose anything to frost.

I just finished another stint of some whittling. That’s right: whittling. It’s hurting my fingers, though. We exchanged names of classmates for summertime secret friends, and I overheard my secret friend say she wanted a carved squirrel. WTF? A squirrel? Ok… So I bought an eighty-cent box cutter and got a piece of basswood from the construction site and now I’m whittling. Yep.

Next to me, on the other side of the balcony, my housemate Ryan is working on making a drum. He’s got a log of cedar that he’s hollowed out, and now he’s fashioning a lip out of cedar shingles that he cleaned out of the middle of the log. Next, he’ll stretch some sort of skin over that lip.

He’s kind of a quiet guy, but is very descriptive when he does choose to open his mouth. He shaved off his beard last week and suddenly looked like late-70s Jack Nicholson. So strange…

I love the point when you’ve met new people and you’ve kind of got them sussed. Ry is happy to sit in silence and work. So am I.

Oh, and he’s cooking a snapping turtle on his BBQ. Didn’t I mention that earlier? Huh. He went on a canoeing trip this weekend and found a dead roadkill turtle along the way. Apparently (and this is something about him I did not have sussed), he’s always wanted to make a ukulele out of a turtle shell, so when he saw the dead one, he snapped it up. Now he’s roasting it so it won’t be so disgusting to clean out later. ‘Cuz that would be gross.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

The Chairman Of The Bored.

I'm all alone! Wee! Almost every one of my classmates have gone away for the long weekend. They're all closer to home than me. Hell, even Dave flew back to Saskatchewan, but he's a farmer and he had to take a few days to sow crops. So I guess he has an excuse. Pf.

I like having the apartment to myself. Don't get me wrong - I like that my classmates and housemates drop by at any time, but I really value alone time, too. Yesterday, I got my hair trimmed and didn't do anything else all day. I watched tv (I'm going through a Scrubs phase, in case it not soon clear), downloaded Limewire and started gathering music. My favourite acquisition was Bell Biv DeVoe's "Poison." Holy crap, that song kicks it.

On Friday, my sister successfully defended her Master's thesis. She was pooping her pants and having heart attacks beforehand, but she pulled it together for the day. I'm so proud of her! She finished with expert timing, and now she and I are both qualified to push paper and be bitter under-appreciated shells of our former selves.

The Playlist To Which I Am Currently Busting Moves:

Simon and Garfunkel: The Only Living Boy In New York
Gnarls Barkley: Crazy
Bell Biv DeVoe: Poison (1990 was a dark year for fashion)
Amy Winehouse: Rehab
Cozy Powell: Dance With The Devil
Man Parrish: Hip Hip (Be Bop) ("It's not hip-hop, it's electro. Prick.")
Fergie: Fergalicious
The Shins: New Slang
Hot Hot Heat: Talk To Me, Dance With Me
The Kaiser Chiefs: Everything Is Average Nowadays
The Kaiser Chiefs: Ruby
The Kaiser Chiefs: I Predict a Riot
Kanye West: Touch the Sky
Kid Koala: The Gonk
Kylie Minogue and Robbie Williams: Kids
LCD Soundsystem: Daft Punk Is Playing At My House
Manic Street Preachers: You Stole The Sun From My Heart
Manic Street Preachers: Your Love Alone Is Not Enough
Mika: Grace Kelly
Kernkraft 400: Zombie Nation (It is impossible to find a clip of this song that isn't crap or gross. Find it yourself.)
Stars: Your Ex-Lover Is Dead
Supergrass: Moving
T-Rex: Solid Gold Easy Action
The Fratellis: Baby Fratelli (video not a coincidence)
The Fratellis: Cuntry Boys and City Girls
The Fratellis: Flathead
The Fratellis: Henrietta
The Fratellis: Chelsea Dagger
The Fratellis: Whistle For The Choir
The Specials: Ghost Town

I've been listening to VirginRadio.co.uk a lot lately, and it's really influenced my choices. I think I have to order Costello Music and Yours Truly, Angry Mob, not to mention Back to Black.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

I'm Going To Be In Traction.

Ask for me tomorrow, and you shall find me a grave woman.

Today, the gravel for the foundation came, and it was only after we shovelled it into ten 10"-high pads that we realised we had too much, so we had to rig up a gangplank runway for two wheelbarrows and shovel in load after load of the gravel into the barrows to cart it away.

Anyhow, the upshot is: I am going to be absolutely crippled tomorrow after hours and hours of shovelling crushed stone. My butt already hurts, and my shoulders, too.

Tomorrow we have to cut and connect all the rebar. Rebar is vile shit that I hope to use very little of in my future design projects. It has high embodied energy and is a total pain in the ass to work with. Curse thee, rebarre.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

"They're Not All That."

I just re-watched Hot Fuzz. I found it online. Streaming, with no subtitles or weird glitches. Lucky me, right? Hm.

Anyhow, after watching it a second time, I've decided that I'm not all that hot on it.

Tepid Fuzz? (And I thought I was being clever - someone else beat me to it.)

It's a good twenty mintues too long, the climax gets tedious (even though I get and appreciate the spectacle of a gun battle in a sleepy English village and that Pegg and Frost must have been creaming their pants at the thought of shooting off a shedload of weapons and making 'splosions), and I just plain didn't root for the characters as much as I should have wanted to.

Shaun was a fuck-up. Nicolas Angel is a crack cop who loses his gourd and totes enormous shotguns while riding a white horse. I guess that's what happens when you get a huge budget to write a movie you're going to star in.

Anyhow. This is the first time, I think, I've not been super hot on a Pegg offering. "Spaced," Shaun, "Big Train," that "Danger: 50,000 Volts" he guest-starred on with Nick Frost... all fried gold. I still have the poster on the wall, even though I wish it were Shaun instead.

Rafe Spall was still great. I stand by that one. His was in a double act with Paddy Considine which was very well done.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Salad Days.

Living as a student again is pretty great. Why didn't I do my PhD? Oh, yeah - because that's shit. College is where it's at.

Preamble: There are two apartment units in my building; a 3-bedroom at the front and my 1-bedroom-cum-2-bedroom at the back. Sarah, P.F., and Ryan are at the front, and they are also our classmates. Our doors are always open and we wander back and forth. It's rather nice, actually.

Back to the student discussion:

On Tuesday night, my classmate Michał came over to cook up veggie burgers (he used to work as a chef). I made a chip dip (thanks for the inspiration, Gahan House!), and Kevin squished his hands in the burger mix, which was black beans, oats, potatoes, corn and other yummies. The next-door neighbours just hooked up a BBQ that they rescued from the dump, so our two households, both alike in dignity, became one. In fact, the rungs that separate our balconies were unscrewed so we now have one large balcony with a passageway. We rigged up some ribbon, I gave an inpromptu speech, and Michał, as the guest, performed the ceremonial cutting. If I get the video that P.F. took, I'll post it on youtube and link it.

So, there were 6 of us at that point: me, Kevin, Michał, P.F., Sarah, and Ryan. Then Chris, Maura, Serena, Justin, Tad, and Baz came over, all bearing food. They all live within a 5-minute walk. An unplanned gathering! Ok! Sure! We all ate Michał's excellent veg burgers, along with a spinach salad he made (I contributed marinated, grilled portobello mushrooms which were excellent), and then next door became a jam session. Ryan has a guitar, bass, and little drum kit, Justin brought his fiddle, and lots of percussion instruments were created from beer bottles. I played the electric bass! My fingers were raw by the end of it, but it came back to me fairly well. The frets didn't mess me up as much as I'd thought.

Well, that was Wednesday. On Thursday, my classmate Sebastian and his wife Yuki had a bunch of us over for a housewarming. They just moved into Minden and they prepared raw spring rolls, red and green Thai curries, and green tea direct from Japan. Again, a nice time.

I am feeling quite light these days. It's really beautiful up here. All the trees are becoming green, so standing out of the balcony is a real treat. We're kinda at a crossroads of the town, so usually, when we stand outside, one of my classmates walks by. We at least wave, if not invite them in for a beer or a sit-down.

Tomorrow are the workshops attached to the annual meeting of the Ontario Straw Bale Building Coalition (OSBBC), so a lot of us are going up to take in the experts' talks.

New Linque du Jour!

Next week, Thursday is pirate day. I have no idea how to dress like a priate while wearing a hard hat, a tool belt, and steel-toe boots. Ahrr.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

It Was 7 Years Ago Today...

Seven years ago this weekend, Jackie and I were in Paris. I was living in Kent at the time and she came to visit. It was a bank holiday, so we zipped to Blackheath in my Mini to catch the coach. The entire weekend, Jackie survived solely on chaussons aux pomme and Fanta. The Louvre was closed because of the bank holiday, but we walked everywhere around the city until our feet were bloody stumps.
It was beautiful, with sunny days and even a misty Sunday morning with almost-abandoned streets. We stayed in a great little room up in the Montmartre district, which was definitely colourful. We walked up the Champs Élysées, got some shade in the Eiffel Tower, enjoyed some gaufres in a little park, and generally took it all in.

On the way home, we stopped into a duty-free-type place right before the ferry, where all the other coach passengers loaded up on wine. I didn't drink wine at the time, and Jackie still doesn't, but they had flats of cheap Fanta, so we bought one. They had expired, but how can pop go bad?

It turns out Fanta can go bad. It stings when it's gone off. I wager it's something to do with the real orange juice they use. Anyhow, on the ride home, Jackie knocked back some Fanta and finished her cache of chaussons aux pomme just in time for me to drive us home in my very zippy, low-to-the-ground Mini around the little narrow, twisty, Kentish roads.

We got home and Jackie promptly barfed.

I know I should write more about my mini-break to Paris, but despite all of that city's romance and beauty, Jackie puking up a weekend's worth of pastry and off Fanta will always define that weekend for me.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

A Brick Shit House.

Ok, not brick, but plaster.

My class has decided to use cow manure as a key ingredient in the plaster we're using on the project. It makes beautiful-looking plaster which is still vapor permeable, and the smell goes away when it dries. The smell is there while you're working it, though. Oh, is it ever there.

This week, I was developing my scoliosis and rickets while all my classmates were working outside. I was stuck at my computer, doing PR work, emailing out scores and scores of media releases. It's mind-numbing work, and I was finding myself very tired at the end of each day, but a bored tired, not a proper tired.

After some convincing, I didn't take my laptop to the worksite on Friday. Instead, I packed my sunscreen and a bottle of water. I had so much fun! I mostly worked with the foundation team, squaring up the form into which the slab will be poured. I swung a hammer and weilded a drill for the first time on the site, and had a lot of fun while sweating in the sun. I did do about 45 minutes of PR work with a rep from Fleming College, and it was decided that on Monday, I have to go record a PSA for local radio stations. I have a face for radio, so I imagine it'll be ok.

I didn't get a sunburn, either! Lilywhite Marshmallow Princess Me didn't burn being outside for 7 hours on Friday! Quelle miracle!

Last night I went to the local Thai place for supper. It was good, too. The pad thai is better on Kent St. in Charlottetown, and more affordable, too, but whatever. It was a good end to the week.

Then this morning I went to the town's greasy spoon for breakfast. I wanted a bowl of granola and yogourt, but that doesn't exisit here, so I got french toast, which I had to admit, was really good. I have granola and yogourt for breakfast every morning, anyway. Why pay someone else to make it for me?

This afternoon, Sarah, my neighbour and classmate, took me to the local dump. There's no local recycling pick-up, so I brought what we'd been saving up there and dropped it off. Then Sarah wanted to see if she could reclaim some windows from the dump for our project.

I have had two dump experiences in my life. Once was in the Annapolis Valley, and someone had just dropped off a dumptruck load of rotten apples and the smell made me gag. The second time, I was driven to a dump in Newfoundland to watch the bears. There were no bears today, but the smell started to get to me. It upset me, too, to see all the recycleable things in with the waste, and all the rubbish.

It made me feel better about what I'm studying, and I hope others start thinking about the waste they produce. Our trash doesn't just "go away." It is stored somewhere, and those places are terrible. Dumps, really.

Ok, let me just [little grunt] hop down off this soapbox. [brushes off hands] Right. Good to carry on? Yes.

This afternoon, instead of doing schoolwork or laundry, I re-watched (for the first time!) the second series of Spaced. It breaks my heart, it's so good. I makes me wish I were a talented, creative person who could entertain people with something I've written. Sigh.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

"Just Because" Gifts Are Great!

This past Friday, I missed out on a class trip touring sustainable houses in the area because I had to stick around the build site and do an interview with the local paper. And then on the Saturday, I couldn't go help build straw bale walls for a Queen's University research project because I had to go speak at a naturalists society regional meeting about sustainable building.

Both meetings went well, but I am sorry I missed those great events. It means that all this last weekend, I was home alone. I did some housework and a little homework, but it was very uneventful.

Yesterday: Monday, the first day back to the site after everyone's grand adventures. Chris, one of my classmates, places a long, slender cardboard box in front of me on the picnic table where I was unpacking my gear. I slid the contents out and I knew what it was before I unrolled it; I could see the word "police" on what appeared to be a bullit-proof vest. I got very gushy. The gift was uncalled for and very nice.

On the weekend, he went to a movie theatre that was giving away posters, and he thought of me when he saw this one (right). It is now on my breakfast nook bedroom wall. I thought I was beyond the phase of my life where I put up movie posters, but for this one, I'll make an exception. I like this one, too, but suspect it's not available in North America.

Wasn't that so thoughtful? Had I been talking about Simon Pegg that much? Probably. Maybe he thought this would shut me up. 'Cor, is he wrong.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Damned If You Do.

What the hell?! The White Stripes are playing Charlottetown this summer? I get into an amazing course in Ontario and The White Stripes are playing in my hometown. That seems fair.

Ok, I guess I did see John Mayer last weekend, and he sure isn't playing the Charlottetown Civic Centre.

I just met with one of the reporters of the Haliburton Echo and Minden Times. We have a mutual friend in Melanie Wood; wunderkind, present Editor-in-Chief of the University of Ottawa's The Fulcrum, and the most famous person to ever come out of Tarantum, PEI. This reporter, Jessica Young, was EiC before Mel, and we had a fun talk. It was half interview, half chat. I think we'll get along this summer and she'll be a great person to know.

Postscript: Mobile is now playing in Charlottetown, too. I know when I leave Minden, Ted Leo and The Pharmacists will play here at the sketchy Rockcliffe bar.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Weekend Of Husbands.

i) Husband List Member Number Two

So, I forgot in all the activity of my life -- and that's really saying something about how busy my life is right now -- that I didn't write about the John Mayer concert last Friday.

Well, he was great.

That's it. There's nothing more to say.

Well, ok, that's not true. There's so much to say.

John Mayer was amazing. He is shocking live. Shocking. I expected him to indulge in more blues guitar licks and extended dance mix solos, but he really didn't all that much. It was more a pop concert than a blues thing. And thank goodness, too, because all the teenaged girls probably would have risen up in some sort of looting-and-rioting thing.

Marilyn really enjoyed herself. She got the ticket for me for my birthday! Isn't that nuts!?

As always, though, there were two grade-A twits in front of us, and then in front of them, the filets mignon of twits. They kept blinding us with their camera taking constant pictures of themselves. How pointless. Twits.

ii) Husband List Member Number Fourteen.

The next night, Marilyn and I went to see Hot Fuzz (2007). I am not totally sure why it's getting more praise than Shaun of the Dead, which, as you know, I worship as its own life force. Perhaps the homage to the buddy-cop movie has a broader appeal than the homage to the rom-com/zombie slasher. I don't know how that can be true, but maybe that's it.

Rafe Spall is one to watch. He played one of the sophomoric detectives in Hot Fuzz, and was very good.

Still, I'm still confident in my decision to include Simon Pegg on my Husband List. He was great as the straight-laced Sergeant Nicholas Angel. And there was a trailer for Run, Fat Boy, Run (2008), which actually looks pretty bad, but I'll see it anyway, out of loyalty to my Husband List. I saw Solaris (2002), didn't I? Shudder.

POSTSCRIPT: I'm working on a second roster of the Husband List. It's for those gentlemen who don't quite make the cut in one way or another, but still deserve some attention. A poor man's Husband List? Certainly not. Consider it the farm team for the major leagues.

I need a name for The List, though. It can't be The Boyfriend List, either. That already exists. (Oh, I'm like one of those Russian nesting dolls. I get smaller and more pointless the deeper you explore.) I need suggestions, please.

In related news, I might shift one of my Husband List members to the Honourable Mention Husband List (not the official title). He's been bugging me.