May 2004 Archives

Building character

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It's that time again, and this month blork and Martine are asking the impossible...

May's monkey is to write about a time when you were out of character. All I can think of are those times when I wish I could have been, but wasn't able to. Times when I couldn't keep the sarcastic remark in check. Or times when I wasn't petrified to appear alone in front of a microphone - which happens more frequently than one would like, if one is in the entertainment and PR field. Oddly enough, standing alone in front of a classroom full of students rarely freaks me out.

Of course, there are those times when I was on stage, and by definition out of character (being "in" another character, that is). Especially when I played Mrs. Baker in 'The American Dream' - who strips down to a slip within a minute or two of walking onstage, and spends the balance of the play thus attired.

I think the only thing I've ever done that truly felt like I wasn't me was metro busking. Accompanied by two guitar-playing friends, I belted out a few numbers at the Atwater metro station, about a gazillion years ago. 'Dust in the Wind,' 'Wish You Were Here,' 'House of the Rising Sun' - the standard fare. One guy gave me a $20. Despite my apparent critical success, it was a one-off, and while I'm glad I did it, I would never do it again.

Strange brood

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So the kids are downstairs, singing to each other.

One is singing 'O Canada.'

The other is singing the 'Mother's Lament' from Disraeli Gears, complete with the Ginger Baker accent.

Well, my work here is done.

Here's a gun, there's your foot... GO!

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"Conservative MP Scott Reid resigned as the party's official languages critic after saying bilingual services would be reduced if the Conservatives form the next government."

Maybe Reid and Parizeau can reminisce over vodka tonics on the patio while the other politicians are busy campaigning.


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My four year old son is a cuddler. He loves to cuddle his mummy, his daddy, and just about any adult who sits still long enough. (We're not talking complete strangers - just grownups he knows, friends and family and teachers.)

When do we get to that point where we can't cuddle random people anymore?

We hug, we even, in my neck of the woods at least, do the one or two or three kisses to greet each other. We say tender things like "take care." Some of us do arm touches. But somewhere along the line, we adults have decided that certain intimate gestures, such as cuddling or holding hands, are off-limits. Why?

What is it about hand-holding, for instance, that makes it so intimate that it can only be between couples? Is it simply a question of appearances? Or is there some underlying message that we're not supposed to be sending to people with whom we're not sexual? What is the fundamental difference between a hug and a snuggle? A kiss on the cheek and holding hands while walking through the park? Perhaps it's the prolongation involved - a quick kiss is okay, but a lengthy cuddle is tabu.

Well, last night I wanted a cuddle, and I'm miles away from anyone it's okay for me to cuddle. I demand a rule change!


Next time you need an ice-breaker...

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Last night at supper, the following conversation took place:

Colin: Do other animals fart?
Me: Yes.
Colin: Do only animals fart?
Me: Yes.
Colin: What kind of things are not animals?
Me: Well, plants, rocks...
Colin: But are spiders animals?
Me: Yes...
Colin: So spiders fart, right?
spider.bmp Well?

Spring is in the air

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Things are verdant and lovely out here in the middle of nowhere.

Apple trees and lilac bushes in glorious, odorific bloom...
Blue skies, warm sun...
Classes on the grass, under a magnificent oak...
Half-naked football players doing crunches on the field outside my office window...

I love my job.

Lately, this blog has come to resemble nothing more than a showcase for my quiz results - it seems I am a coffee-flavoured, spiralling, stormy super-heroine. My apologies.

My only excuse is procrastination. I can't speak for all procrastinators (most of them haven't filled in the survey yet) but for me, the nature of procrastination dictates that I cannot expend brain power on creating content, because that's exactly the kind of brain power I should be devoting to course content. Lesson plans. Reading lists. For my summer course. Which begins in less than three hours.

Under normal circumstances, a new course wouldn't be a big deal. But under normal circumstances, the 60 course hours are distributed over 15 weeks - so classes meet twice a week for two hours each session.

The summer session is three weeks long. Total.

So we meet five days a week, for four hours at a time. Eep.

Not only do I have to have enough material for each session, I have to present in such a way that no one falls asleep, including me.

On the other hand, the course is Detective Fiction, which (for me) is like teaching a course about Buffy or The Flintstones. Conan Doyle! Christie! Chesterton! James (P.D., that is)! Etc.!

Anyway, I know I'm going to have a blast teaching this course. But that first four hour block is looming rather ominously. How apropos.

Inspired by Spidey-Steve

Coffee break

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You Are a Plain Ole Cup of Joe

But don't think plain - instead think, uncomplicated
You're a low maintenance kind of girl... who can hang with the guys
Down to earth, easy going, and fun! Yup, that's you: the friend everyone invites.
And you're dependable too. Both for a laugh and a sympathetic ear.

What Kind Of Coffee Are You? Take This Quiz :-)

Via Bill

In case you missed it

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gas.jpgCraig Litten, AP

From today's Gazette - the photo was taken in South Daytona, Florida. Prices in Montreal hit 99.9 cents per litre yesterday.

I've been trying to figure out the equation needed to give an accurate equivalent in US money and gallons, but hey, I'm an English prof. Gimme a break. Suffice it to say, gas ain't cheap.


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You're a Spirograph!! You're pretty tripped out, even though you've been known to be a bit boring at times. You manage to serve your purpose in life while expending hardly any effort (and are probably stoned to the gills all the while).

What childhood toy from the 80s are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Tune in, turn off

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So I was listening to the radio yesterday. I listen to a "classic rock" station, because I choose to live in the past and growl about the new so-called "music," if it's all the same to you.

Anyway, there I am, minding my own business, and America's Horse With No Name comes on.

And it struck me - when a songwriter sits down to knock off a ditty, s/he must be hoping for a hit. But is s/he also hoping that the latest creation will not become yet another Horse With No Name? Another Stairway?

Does there come a point when a songwriter is just as sick of a given song as the rest of us?

Don't get me wrong - I sang along. I, too, have been through a desert on a horse with no name. I've heard a bustle in the hedgerow. I've had one foot on the platform, the other foot on the train. In spoken communication, we're inundated with cliches - are such songs just musical cliches?

The answer must be blowin' in the wind.

All that white space was bugging me

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Ok, I know I just did this, with another list - but this list is different, I swear.

Via Mellow Kitty, blork, etc.

Same premise as last time - bold means I've read it, more or less. I've coopted blork's refinements, which means that if it's blue I've seen the movie, and if it's bold blue it has been both read and seen.

1984, George Orwell
The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho
Alice's Adventures In Wonderland, Lewis Carroll
Animal Farm, George Orwell
Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy
Anne Of Green Gables, LM Montgomery
Artemis Fowl, Eoin Colfer
The BFG, Roald Dahl
Birdsong, Sebastian Faulks
Black Beauty, Anna Sewell
Bleak House, Charles Dickens
Brave New World, Aldous Huxley
Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh
Bridget Jones's Diary, Helen Fielding
Captain Corelli's Mandolin, Louis de Bernieres
Catch 22, Joseph Heller
The Catcher In The Rye, JD Salinger
Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl
A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens
The Clan Of The Cave Bear, Jean M Auel
Cold Comfort Farm, Stella Gibbons
The Colour Of Magic, Terry Pratchett
The Count Of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas
Crime And Punishment, Fyodor Dostoevsky
David Copperfield, Charles Dickens
Double Act, Jacqueline Wilson
Dune, Frank Herbert
Emma, Jane Austen
Far From The Madding Crowd, Thomas Hardy
Girls In Love, Jacqueline Wilson
The God Of Small Things, Arundhati Roy
The Godfather, Mario Puzo
Gone With The Wind, Margaret Mitchell
Good Omens, Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
Goodnight Mister Tom, Michelle Magorian
Gormenghast, Mervyn Peake
The Grapes Of Wrath, John Steinbeck
Great Expectations, Charles Dickens
The Great Gatsby, F Scott Fitzgerald
Guards! Guards!, Terry Pratchett
Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets, JK Rowling
Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire, JK Rowling
Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone, JK Rowling
Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban, JK Rowling
His Dark Materials trilogy, Philip Pullman
The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy, Douglas Adams
The Hobbit, JRR Tolkien
Holes, Louis Sachar
I Capture The Castle, Dodie Smith
Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte
Kane And Abel, Jeffrey Archer
Katherine, Anya Seton
The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe, CS Lewis
Little Women, Louisa May Alcott
Lord Of The Flies, William Golding
The Lord Of The Rings, JRR Tolkien
Love In The Time Of Cholera, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
The Magic Faraway Tree, Enid Blighton
Magician, Raymond E Feist
The Magus, John Fowles
Matilda, Roald Dahl
Memoirs Of A Geisha, Arthur Golden
Middlemarch, George Eliot
Midnight's Children, Salman Rushdie
Mort, Terry Pratchett
Night Watch, Terry Pratchett
Noughts And Crosses, Malorie Blackman
Of Mice And Men, John Steinbeck
On The Road, Jack Kerouac
One Hundred Years Of Solitude, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Perfume, Patrick SuskindPersuasion, Jane Austen
The Pillars Of The Earth, Ken Follett
A Prayer For Owen Meany, John Irving
Pride And Prejudice, Jane Austen
The Princess Diaries, Meg Cabot
The Ragged Trousered Philantrhopists, Robert Tressell
Rebecca, Daphne Du Maurier
The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett
The Secret History, Donna Tartt
The Shell Seekers, Rosamunde Pilcher
The Stand, Stephen King
The Story Of Tracy Beaker, Jacqueline Wilson
A Suitable Boy, Vikram Seth
Swallows And Amazons, Arthur Ransome
A Tale Of Two Cities, Charles Dickens
Tess Of The D'urbervilles, Thomas Hardy
The Thorn Birds, Colleen McCollough
To Kill A Mockingbird, Harper Lee
A Town Like Alice, Nevil Shute
Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson
The Twits, Roald Dahl
Ulysses, James Joyce
Vicky Angel, Jacqueline Wilson
War And Peace, Leo Tolstoy
Watership Down, Richard Adams
The Wind In The Willows, Kenneth Grahame
Winnie-the-Pooh, AA Milne
The Woman In White, Wilkie Collins
Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte

Now that's just Wilde

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In my not so humble opinion, you, of course, belong in the Picture of Dorian Gray, and do not try to deny it. You belong in the fashionable circles of Victorian London where exotic tastes, a double life, decadence, wit and a hypocritical belief in moral betterment make you a home. You belong where the witty apothegms of Lords, the silly moralities of matrons, the blinding high of opium, and the beauty of visual arts mingle to form one convoluted world.

Which Classic Novel do You Belong In?
brought to you by Quizilla


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A friend from the Adult Ed centre I worked for last spring sent me an e-mail. It seems that the centre has moved to spiffy new digs, and the curriculum has been expanded in celebration. They need teachers!!

New courses include web page design, art, mass media, photo art, and [possibly] environmental studies.

Ideally, they're looking for people with some teaching experience, but I don't think it's an absolute.

I loved teaching there! It's officially an adult ed school, but my students were in their late teens, giving school a second chance - so they were young enough to be a blast to teach, but jaded enough to be motivated.

This could be neat for some one looking to teach a few hours (I taught two three-hour classes) a couple of nights a week. If anyone's interested, let me know - a CV would be useful.

I'm baaaaaack

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Ok, temporary but nasty technical difficulties, all stemming from a hard drive gone soft. Good thing I have my own personal IT guy.

Needless to say (why, oh why does this phrase exist??), from now I'm backing things up! Dr. T was able to perform small miracles blog-wise; at this time, there are still a few minor glitches to work out, but we're good to go.

Archives? Check.
Categories? Check.
Comments? Check.
Image and Doc files? Check.

Witty yet succinct remark to sum up the entire experience?
Not at this time. Please do not adjust your monitor.

Yo, dude, your rooster thinks he can fly

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When guns and drugs are outlawed, only chickens will have guns and drugs. Short of making rude puns on the words "cock" and "fowl," I'm speechless.

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