So the whole eHarmony-bigotry showed up a little while ago, but since I was thinking about it today, I decided to write a post about it.
Tuesday, 29 September 2009
So the whole eHarmony-bigotry showed up a little while ago, but since I was thinking about it today, I decided to write a post about it.
Monday, 28 September 2009
That has no context and I have nothing to say about it, except that obviously it appealed to me on some level.
Next, I will say that yesterday I had planned on posting something entitled "Bored, Scared, and Lonely," and the post itself would have followed suit. Basically, in church yesterday morning I came to the realization that I need to come to terms with the fact that I'm in Fort McMurray now, and will be for at least a year. I need to apply to schools, yes, but I cannot continue to mope over the fact that I used to be surrounded by friends and I used to have lots of spare time and I used to be doing something I maybe enjoyed if it weren't for the pressure. Rather, I must either come to accept that I have no friends and less spare time and a job that isn't 100% perfect in all ways, or I must make friends and manage my time better and find ways to get enjoyment out of my job anyway. I must stop living in the past. I have graduated from Queen's, and am not enrolling again any time soon. It's time to accept that and move on. I need to find a place to volunteer or something. (More on that later.)
Now I shall inform you that it is autumn in Fort McMurray. It was cold today; many of the trees have turned; leaves have fallen; occasionally the ground is hoary in the mornings. Brrrrr. The other day, though, I could smell fall on the air. I don't often smell things on the air in Fort Mac (other than oil or sulphur). It was nice.
In this paragraph, I will voice my desire to see Jessica's Body. By this I mean the quote horror unquote movie starring a cannibalistic Megan Fox; I am sure, though, that most people who say "I want to see Jessica's Body" are aware that they are simultaneously (truely or falsely) expressing a desire to see Megan Fox' body. For the most part I think it would be "truely". I think it (the movie) looks funny; some reviews say it is witty, having been written by the scriptwriter for Juno. Other reviews are rather more interested, as I already mentioned, in the titular (pun fully intended) torso.
At this point, I shall entertain myself, and hopefully you, dear reader, with an idea I had: I would like to go into a large museum, like the RAM, and mentally pick out an artifact in a display case. The case must be somewhere fairly well attended and the artifact must be of a category that I could conceivably own, like a pair of glasses or a cup or a spoon or a walking stick. I would stand with my back to the case, doing my best not to block view of the artifact, and then loudly ask people around me if they have seen my glasses (or cup or spoon or walking stick). I would say I just had it with me, and then I would describe the object in the display. I'd like to see how people would react.
Penultimately, I shall admit that I am still reading Anatomy of Criticism. I am enjoying it, at least as far as literary theory goes. I need to write it down schematically, though; Frye has far too vast and segmented a conception of literature for me to keep it all straight in my mind. I could easily enough chart it out, though. I find his project interesting and most of what he says probable, though the odd thing stikes me as at the wrong angle. His formalism appeals to me, and I can at last get a sense of what a high school teacher called "Archetypal Criticism" without either being overly reductive or without appealing to a Jungian conception of archetypes, which I find unlikely and useless. I have learned a lot, and now I must try not to worry about it too much as I produce writing of my own. As of late, though, I am less thoroughly engaged with it. I do not stay up nearly as late into the night reading it. I have a number of other books lined up, too: On Writing, Tess of the d'Ubervilles, Heart of Darkness, The Sun Also Rises (annoyingly saturated with marginalia by a previous reader), and an assortment of trash-lit I still haven't gotten around too. Oh, and more Faerie Queene. And other things, surely.
And lastly, I shall hold forth on the observation that I am playing a lot of Minesweeper lately, and am noticeably improving. For instance, I often know what to do with a bank of ones and twos, even if there is no corner.
That is all for now. What a strange and incoherent post. My apologies.
Friday, 25 September 2009
That same day, in the same mall, I bought (guilt-guilt-guilt-guilt) Neverwhere and Anatomy of Criticism.
2. I finished reading Neverwhere on the plane between Fort McMurray and Edmonton. Which is to say, I began reading it in the train station in Windsor, and continued reading it on the shuttle bus from Union Station to Pearson, and read it a lot more in Pearson, and then finished it before my plane landed in Edmonton. I briefly began Anatomy on the same plane. In Edmonton, I ate at a Wok Box and a Tim Horton's. And then the plane ride from Edmonton to Fort McMurray was brief. I also tried to write on some of these flights.
I should also note that it was my first time in Pearson for years. I enjoyed that airport almost as much as I enjoy Calgary's. I like long lay-overs.
3. On Sunday, my Dad and I kayaked on the River Snye. I say kayaked. Really, you would think of it more as canoeing, since there was no white-water or athleticism involved, which I tend to associate with kayaking. Anyway, we say ducks and the enormous dragonflies native to Fort McMurray and some wading birds and some geese. It was enjoyable.
4. At work, we have been moving lots of furniture. Have I mentioned this? I missed some of the move (the worst of it, I am told), but I still got to participate in all sorts of lovely packing and pushing and carrying and arranging.
The Park has way too much stuff.
5. On Wednesday, I bought new shoes. I got them at Wal*Mart. They are okay. There were not many that fit me, so my options were slim. If you wear more than an '8' and less than a '14', you have pretty slim pickings. If, for some reason, you do wear size 14s, you actually get the pick of the litter. There were quite a few of those.
6. We are now painting the side of the Royal Bank, and, in order to do so, I have been instructed in the use of the scissor lift. It is actually quite easy to operate. My Dad, though, has informed me that I really ought to have a ticket to use it. Perhaps I will go about acquiring one...
When Darrin started to teach me to use it, he asked, "Are you afraid of heights?"
I lied, "No."
Oh boy. Let's say that knowing that you're safe is entirely different from knowing that you're safe.
7. Just as I got off work, my Dad informed me that there was a public lecture at Keyano College on the making of dictionaries. As a spur of the moment sort of thing, I was immediately disinterested. But then I decided to go, as I miss going to lectures and this actually did sound interesting. So, tonight I attended "Feasts of Literature: Samuel Johnson and the Making of the English Dictionary." It was a very good lecture, at least as far as interesting content is concerned. There were few of the Morrison-inspired epiphanies or Snediker-induced complexities or Gwynn-inspired comprehensions that some of my readers might be familiar with (and I select these professors largely based on those readers I know I have); rather, there was lots of interesting information and trivia and historical relevance. It embodied one of the fun aspects of the lecture: the leisurely story-telling fact dispensory. I miss those. Actually, even in fourth year I missed lectures, because I was in seminars entirely. I enjoyed seminars, but there was something nice about lectures that I occasionally craved.
Anyway, I intend to go to more of these public lectures. There is one each Friday evening.
Also, I found out about a new semi-annual literary magazine around here called NorthWord. I have until this Wednesday to submit something, which I intend to do. Its mandate is the publication and support etc. etc. of writing from northern Canada. I find this interesting. Wish me luck!
Make sure you visit the Quick Takes Queen and her retinue!
Wednesday, 23 September 2009
While it would be all lies to say that this project did not occur to me as a result of a few different autobiographical events (eek--I dislike even mentioning the existence of such an autobiography on this blog), my impetus in writing it has very little do with excising wounds of any sort. I'll note that these most certainly are not written 'for' or 'to' any person in particular--or, at least not in the familiar sense. The energy I am using to write these sonnets is more philosophical, theological, or analytical than personal; perhaps that's why "sonnets" is less accurate than "sonnet-and-a-half." I haven't put much work into it, I'm afraid. Maybe the whole sonnet sequence thing isn't for me, or maybe I need to be truly lovesick (or guilt-ridden, as in this case) to produce something of this species.
But regardless! I am going to put up a (one) sonnet, for you to enjoy and critique. Seriously. I want feedback, even of the "I hate this. I hate poetry. I hate you." variety. Except obviously that's not true. If you write that, I won't allow it. But useful criticism will be just as or more welcome than carefully nice criticism.
OK, here we go.
Sonnetta numero 1:
I know you love me, dearest one of mine,
That you have set your heart out with the glass
Which sits upon the table, filled with wine,
And wait for me to drink instead of pass
As I have passed each day and night we tease.
I hear the ache inside your dancing words,
The whispered want contained by wild ease,
The innuendo penned like straining herds.
But while you knock my heartsick onto yours,
Although you promise all of what you are,
Despite my dreams of opening the doors
Into your house of houses, left ajar,
My heart is locked as sure as these dry lips
That will not take your champagne's sugared sips.
Saturday, 19 September 2009
For instance, the computer screen seems to be moving in ways that are unusual for a computer screen. I imagine that this is a suggestion that I ought to sleep sometime in the very near future.
Friday, 18 September 2009
2. Today's Quick Takes will by necessity be unlike previous ones. If I were to try to encapsulate each of the past days in one take, each 'paragraph' would become a miniature novel in itself. So I must paint with broad strokes in one take, and then find interesting moments for the others. Which is to say, I spent this week on vacation, visiting friends in Ontario, as you may already know. I arrived in Oakville as described last Friday; I spent Saturday in Oakville with my brother; I traveled to Kingston on Sunday via the Via; I met up with assorted friends and went to a birthday party on Monday; I met up with a professor and friends, and attempted to go to a birthday party on Tuesday; I met up with even more friends and supposedly talked authorially on Wednesday; I took the Via to Windsor on Thursday, where I am now (Friday) visiting a friend from yore, who I met back in Grade 3 or so.
3. My brother and I tried to make putt-putt boats on Saturday. If you don't know what a putt-putt boat is, look here. Anyway, as is implied by "tried," it didn't happen. In this case, it was due to distractions + time constraints - adequate supplies. While Nick was watching the epoxy set (OK, maybe he wasn't actually doing that) I was looking through some of his books, including one of the art of Iian (sp?) MacCaig and one of animals; in the former there were lots of movie concept art and at least one picture of a centaurine, while in the latter there was a photograph of a hyaena eating a shark.
4. On Monday I got to play with Courtney S's rabbit, named Jazzy. This was after I met Courtney at the Tea Store; she eventually had to get ready for work, so I walked her home and got to meet her rabbit. I felt awful, though, when I realized I had been late. I had written Courtney - 2:30 - Tea Store in my makeshift agenda, but it turns out that we had agreed to meet at 2:00, and I had apparently gotten confused when I wrote it down. I could try and say that being around a pretty girl just melted my brain, but that's more Jon's forte, and, anyway, I wasn't around said pretty girl when I wrote it down. I really have no excuse.
(And I am kidding; Courtney doesn't have that effect on me, notwithstanding that she is a wonderful girl to have tea with.)
5. I met many, many people. Just in case you were unsure as to that point. Frequently, it was over coffee, though more likely tea. My week has been divided between waiting for people to get off class/work, and rushing from one appointment to another. Of course, no appointment is undesirable, but it can make me fret that I'm supposed to be somewhere else at the moment.
At the Brew Pub I was waiting to meet some people for a birthday party. I only knew the birthday girl, so was somewhat nervous--I do not like being the 'lost puppy' who follows the one person around, but it's also hard to be outgoing as the only white guy in a crowd of Asians. But I had an escape plan, which was that I could only be there for half an hour anyway: I had to be at a poker party at 9:30 and, given the length I needed to walk and the fact that I wanted to pick up a fruit platter on the way, I would have to leave at 9. But then the birthday crowd never did show up. I still don't know what happened to them.
And then, as I walked to said poker party (which turned out to just be sitting and chatting with two friends, Jamie and Jude), I somehow managed to work up a pain in my knee that has lasted until at least this morning. Remember how I hurt my knee before? I wonder if it's related somehow.
6. I should mention the conversations I've had about my future. I met with a professor--Prof. Dujardin, for those who know her--with whom I discussed my indecision about where to go from here. In our conversation she asked a number of questions, which I have yet to answer. We also came up with ways of finding the answer, which quite appropriately involve metaphrasis. I say this is appropriate because we discussed the concept and practice of metaphrasis during the classes I had with her. I have no idea if Wikipedia has a page on metaphrasis or not. I can see it being one of the things which slips through Wikipedia's cracks, like Dene dream walking. Actually, from what I can tell, that last one got through Google's cracks until I posted about it here. Anyway, she also asked whether I could even envision myself being anywhere but grad school, which is a valid point. I am feeling better about grad school now. I have to think about whether to do Creative Writing or English, though. Or Culture Studies, which I heard of quite recently.
And then immediately after that, I spoke to Dan and Brenda from Navs about how to deal with my upcoming year in Fort McMurray. More later, perhaps.
7. And the trip to Windsor was interesting. I took a Renaissance car from Kingston to Toronto, which I think I might have found less comfortable altogether than a regular car, though it is certainly classier-looking. On the train from Toronto to Windsor (which is a long haul, in case you didn't know), a woman went to sit next to another somewhere ahead of me, asking, "May I sit here?" "I snore," the other warned, to which the first answered, "I'm deaf." "Well, then," said the second, "this will work perfectly."
And then there was utter desperation getting to my friend's place, as I did not know the address. After several hasty phone calls at a payphone, I still couldn't get anyone to stalk Facebook to see what said friend had written on my profile, but in the end I convinced an at-first-reluctant computer-nerd in the station to get me Internet access. The whole escapade took half an hour, but in the end I had the address written down. (Blessings to all computer nerds. At the very least, the near future depends on them.) Then I caught a cab (which was made difficult by the fact that some vandal ripped the relevant page from the phonebook in the station)... but he didn't recognize the address. The girl at dispatch did, though. Then, as we drove, we talked about employment, and he caught wind of my time in Fort McMurray. Well, now I am to call his brother with the phone number for job hiring for the Divirsified bus company. I heard a rumour that they were willing to get you your bus license if you'll work for them, as they are desperately short-staffed. Since he (the brother) has his bus license already, they will hopefully pay to bring him out there and for a place to live. He has family back in Palestine? Arabia? to which he sends money, so he cannot afford to go to Fort McMurray unless he has a place to live already set up. the driver was uncomfortable earnest about how his family will be my friends forever if I help his brother by getting him phone numbers. I would have done it without such grand promises, and now I feel more like this is a sort of long-term family-to-family contract than a simple favour.
But, anyway, now I'm in Windsor with my friend, in the St. Clair residence. There is not much to say, except that perhaps you will be interested to know that Quinn is a metalhead and that we listened to some interesting female-fronted symphonic metal bands. Tomorrow morning I fly out with the lark and will be in the Mac sometime in the afternoon.
Make sure you visit the Quick Takes Queen.
Wednesday, 16 September 2009
But even this will not satisfy the desire. It cannot. Because, in truth, this desire cannot be satisfied. The desire, in the end, can only even temporarily be sated with interaction. In our physical experience, the closest approximation is talking with (or exploring with or playing music with or painting with or whatever form of mutual communication you would choose) someone. You can interact with a person: you can contribute to them as they contribute to you. You can also do this with pets, though it's largely non-verbal. I will here draw attention to a literary reference about this sort of interaction:
A mad chase began. Round and round the hill-top [Aslan] led them, now hopelessly
out of their reach, now letting them almost catch his tail, now diving between them, now tossing them in the air wiht his huge and beautifully velveted paws and catching them again, and now stopping unexpectedly so that all three of them rolled over together in a happy laughing heap of fur and arms and legs. It was such a romp as no one ever had except in Narnia; and whether it was more like playing with a thunderstorm or playing with a kitten Lucy could never make up her mind.
That wondrous sight [of a statue] faire Britomart amazed,/ Ne seeing could her
wonder satisfie,/ But evermore and more upon it gazed,/ The while the passing brightnes her fraile sences dazd.
Monday, 14 September 2009
I am staying in that city which houses a few of my fellow bloggers, and is home to my alma mater. So far, I am having an excellent time, staying at Cait's house and hanging out with Jon. Of course, I am doing far more than that, as I am socializing with all sorts of wonderful people here. I will let you know how it goes.
Sunday, 13 September 2009
I would like you, if you don't mind, to submit moments in movies, art, books, legends, or plays that particularly stirred you, perhaps on levels you can't fully articulate. This isn't so much a favourite moment as a moment that grabbed you and didn't let go, be it joy or sympathy or enchantment or fear or suspense. For me, I'd think much of Pan's Labyrinth, but esp the banquet part; Weathertop in Fellowship of the Ring (book); assorted parts of anguished love in Romeo and Juliet; the part of It where the picture in the yearbook moves; Puddleglum's speech in The Silver Chair; the drawing of Excaliber in no particular movie or story but in the composite that inhabits my imagination; the scene where what's-his-face runs hollering through the streets in Love Actually; the pillar of smoke and fire that led the Israelites through the desert, as well as the parting of the Red Sea. I'm likely missing the best examples, because I don't know that we can always recall them at will. But, anyway, that's an idea of what I'm looking for.
So, how about it? What images from anything at all had a powerful effect on you? If you care to be more analytical or precise, what particular things about it help power that effect?
Friday, 11 September 2009
2. Somewhere in there, the Monday I think, I took numerous photographs of fungi. You will see next week how this is relevant: I had written posts on Saturday that will be published sometime in the near future. I forget the exact dates I programmed in. Eventually it will be my pleasure to show them to you.
3. I have now finished working at the Marine Park. On Tuesday we cleared out the paint and I cleaned up a fair amount of the yard in the afternoon. On Wednesday I was interrupted at Heritage Park (you'll see in what later) to go and help my supervisor move pallets and anchors around with the CAT lift. When we were done there, just after lunch, he took me back to Heritage Park and said that, minus a few hours work here and there, I was done at the Marine Park. I was now on my new project...
4. Except not really. I spent much of Wednesday editing storyboards. Summer students are great in many ways. Among these ways, however, sudden and total absence at the end of the summer is not included. Numerous storyboards somehow got slated as good for publication when someone decided to give them a quick look...and discovered they were unedited. Since my employers have caught wind of my knack (stark raving obsession) for grammar and style, I was asked to harness that compulsion and get my red pen out. This is what I was interrupted doing in the last post. And I did some more when I got back. It's not that they were truly awful, but there were some errors which would look pretty bad if they got on the walls. For instance, "5,000 thousand" was a funny one that no one had caught. The grammatical nonsense was less funny.
This is why you never ever try to publish your work without someone else looking at it. You miss things because you read what you meant to say.
5. And after that I still didn't really get much work done on my project, because I was busy helping prepare for a move. Heritage Park is getting a facelift; the Gift Shop is moving to the front entrance, Reception is moving to where Collections currently is, and Collections is sharing what is now the Gift Shop with a new Children's Programming Space. This move is happening today and over the next few weeks. I am lucky enough to have really and for truly coincidentally booked my vacation time for the beginning of the move.
6. One of the days in there my folks and I watched Point Break. I actually now own the movie. Have you seen Hot Fuzz? I love that movie. Anyway, there's a scene where Nicholas Angel (such an awesome name) and Danny Butterman are watching action movies. One of them is Point Break. The viewer sees a particular emotionally-charged shot, in which Utah (Keanu Reeves) cannot bring himself to shoot a masked man, and fires his gun into the air in frustration. Later in Hot Fuzz, Danny himself repeats the same action.
I had never seen Point Break before this, but I as familiar with that scene shown in Hot Fuzz. It was nice to at last see the movie it took place in, to get a feel for the context, and to understand the emotion it was imbued with--and thereby imbued Hot Fuzz.
Anyway, it was a good movie.
7. And now I'm on vacation. After work I packed, had a two hour nap, and caught the red eye to Pearson. On that flight I got a bit over an hour of sleep. Then I took a complex transit route, involving a bus, two subways, a train, and a cab, to my brother's apartment in Oakville. Then I waited outside his apartment for his class to finish, during which time I dozed for about fifteen minutes in the grass. Eventually Nick let me in, and now he's gone back to class, and I'm writing out my 7 Quick Takes on his computer. Which, obviously, brings me to right now.
I have realized two things about my trip. 1) This is the first time I'm on a vacation in which my destinations and suchlike are entirely self-directed. I am not with my folks or my friends or a class or even a group of strangers somehow organized, like a retreat or something. Even though I am visiting friends at each step of my journey, I make the journey alone. 2) This is also the first time I've slept outside, on public property, since I was a little kid. I've slept in vehicles like trains and buses before, but not on the grass. Huh.
Make sure you visit the Quick Takes Queen.
Tuesday, 8 September 2009
I would not be expected to provide much analysis, but neither would I be expected to take a journalistic approach. Rather, I would observe at my own pace. Perhaps I would have a co-author with me to provide her own, alternate perspective.
I was absorbed by the possibilities of this project while working today. You will notice that my dream job of the moment is prefaced by my not having to do any sort of work or research to get it. It also involved living with Mennonites, observing Christian-indigenous mysticism, and discussing theology with people who have significantly different sexual ethics from my own. And it is based around both cultivating relationships and writing.
My real job is somewhat interesting; I am almost finished, and perhaps entirely finished, at the Marine Park. I cleaned up today. If I do not start the virtual museum tomorrow, I at the very latest will the day I get back from my vacation next week.
Saturday, 5 September 2009
1. There is a blog carnival at http://www.elizabethesther.com/threes_a_crowd/2009/09/the-saturday-evening-blog-post-vol1-issue-1.html:
"THE SATURDAY EVENING BLOG POST, vol.1, issue 1
Welcome to THE SATURDAY EVENING BLOG POST!
This is where bloggers gather on the first Saturday of each month to share their latest and greatest blog posts! This month we're featuring posts from AUGUST '09!
I'll begin by sharing my post: There's A Rat In My House! I chose this post because it was such a funny incident and I'm sure our kids will be talking about it for years to come. I also think it highlights the friendly joking and camaraderie I share with my husband. We make each other laugh. A good sense of humor is super helpful when you're raising a big ol' pack of kids!
Now, I'd love to hear from YOU! Choose one post from your past month of blogging: a recipe, an inspiring story, a photo, a sad story, a piece of art. THE SATURDAY EVENING BLOG POST is a celebration of art, so please no links to products or giveaways. Thanks!
I'll leave this post up all weekend long so you'll have a chance to come back and read some of the other submissions, too."
2. I just worked from home today. That really never happens. I've been taking pictures all summer to capture our progress at the Marine Park (you've seen a few of these). Today I organized them and then wrote up a brief description of each picture in a Word document for every folder, cross referencing the afters to the befores and similar things. This took about four and a half hours. Then I went to burn them to disk and realized that my disk couldn't hold them all, so I had to break it up into two separate disks and then burn them. That took half an hour. So I worked for five hours today, from home. That's right. Five. Without any breaks in the middle.
Just made up a bit more of my holiday.
3. If I have the time, topics, and inclination, I may write a bunch of posts this long weekend in preperation for my vacation. That way there will still be material coming up while I am away. I may not do 7 Quick Takes, but instead do a post-holiday thing at the end. We'll see how my hosts are about computer lending, right?
Friday, 4 September 2009
I had been planning on leaving on Friday at 1:00 or so at night. On Wednesday night, I looked an my travel itinerary and noticed something interesting. Due to the obvious error we made, I am actually leaving very very early on Friday, at 1:00 in the morning. Yes. I leave a full 24 hours early than anticipated.
Thursday, 3 September 2009
Find out next time on...
The Thinking Grounds!
(7 Quick Takes tomorrow.)