May 2005 Archives

Angels among us

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Morning breaks in our backyard

Now that the hideous tree is gone, our garden is really thriving. Next weekend, I'll be annual shopping. I'm thinking a lot of really bright red impatiens and begonias.

Lather, rinse, um...

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Step 1: Get into shower
Step 2: Wash face
Step 3: Shampoo hair
Step 4: Condition hair
Step 5: Turn off water
Step 6: Realize that you haven't actually washed anything below the neck, turn water back on, wash body, and reflect on the fact that we all, sometimes, have our moments.

One step closer to Kevin Bacon

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So far today I have:

~ said "hi" to Mira Sorvino;
~ eaten free beef bourgignon courtesy of the film crew;
~ drunk a couple of free cups of coffee, also thanks to the film crew;
~ shaken hands with Donald Sutherland, who looked deep into my eyes and said "hello." He said "hello" to me, in that voice. I almost bought a Volvo.

Not your average Tuesday.

One week later...

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~ the marking is done!!! Final papers, final portfolios, final exams - all marked, recorded, and filed. Alphabetically, even.

~ the garden is much improved. We planted two new crabapples, and I found a beautiful gardenia that I've put in a big pot so I can bring it inside this fall. In the meantime it smells heavenly. Much else is afoot, gardenwise, but I'm keeping mum til things are really lush and I can post a picture.

~ Belinda Stronach has dumped Peter Mackay on the national news crossed the floor. In a nutshell, reactions have been occasionally catty and very often deliberately sexist, prompting many counterreactions and turning the whole thing into a national self-assessment of our gender equality; the political implications have by and large been lost in the shuffle.
Personally, I am not at all surprised by the defection, since Stronach has never really rung true as a Conservative. I am also impressed with her rather Machiavellian maneoverings - if she had started out in the Liberal party, chances are she would have spent a decade clawing her way up through the ranks. Instead, she bursts onto the scene as a candidate for the leadership of the last best threat to the Libs, making sure that everyone in the country knows exactly who she is; spends only a couple of years with the new Conservatives, then crosses the floor at the moment best suited for creating a really big splash, and walks into a Cabinet portfolio and national attention.

~ I had my annual checkup, albeit almost two years after my last one. My doctor is happy that I've stopped smoking, but is now clearly obsessed with my weight. I did finally get her to admit that the pain in my knees is arthritis - for ages she's been saying that I am too young to have arthritis. Apparently I am no longer too young. She says that if I lose 20 pounds, my knees will feel better. As for the frequent indigestion, if I lose 20 pounds, that should clear up. And, if I lose 20 pounds, the itchy scalp should be fine.

~ in an effort to make my doctor happy, then, I've had my bike tuned up for the summer, and replaced my lost helmet, so I can take advantage of the myriad bike paths and get some exercise. Unfortunately, the only day that's been bike-worthy was the day that Colin was home from school.

Today is another rainy, cold, generally miserable day, so we're having a late brunch of strawberry and custard crepes, then we're off to the McCord for the 'Growing up in Montreal' exhibit.

In case you were wondering

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This is what I've been doing, instead of blogging, of late:

~ marking
~ finding new and inventive reasons not to mark
~ cleaning the home office
~ packing up the work office (see below)
~ watching my garden grow
~ making the guest room inhabitable (it's currently inhabited by my good friend Heather, in town for the weekend. The world's best mother-in-law will be inhabiting the room in July and August.)
~ laundry
~ despamming

The office saga
I've heard tales of teachers at other colleges sharing office space with up to five other people - and by 'sharing office space' I mean there's one room, one phone, one computer, and six people. So for the past year and a half I've been remarkably lucky to have an office all to myself; furthermore, said office overlooks the football practice field, and does so from a large, sunny window.

I have this office because its actual 'owner' has been on leave, working for CIDA in Europe. The single-person office next to mine has been similarly occupied by a relative newbie (we were hired at the same time) because its occupant was on leave, teaching at Bishop's in the Education department.

The rationale behind our occupation of these offices was that since the official occupants were expected to return, there was no point in installing a more senior teacher and then forcing that person to move if and when the office was reclaimed.

Now, my office has been a source of envy, not only because it's a single, but also because I am, in the words of one of my colleagues, the "Martha Stewart of the English Department." (Mum, I can hear you laughing. Stop that.) I have made my office comfortable and personal, true, but as I have explained to those who express their covetousness, if I leave the office, the contents are coming with me.

This spring, we lost a colleague after a horribly prolonged illness. The original occupant of my office was a close friend of this colleague, and has specifically requested his office when she returns to the college this fall. In the meantime, the original occupant of the neighbouring office is definitely not returning, preferring to stay at Bishop's and chair the Education department. The upshot is that the two offices are now officially available. So my neighbour and I have been asked to move into a double office together, thus allowing the current doublers, who both outrank us, to have single offices. Now, this is only fair, and neither my neighbour nor I raised any protest whatsoever. However, my neighbour, whose very good friend is an archaeologist just down the hall, has asked if he can share with the bone guy.

So as it stands, I not only have an office to myself, now I have a double office to myself.

Yes, the office gods do indeed smile upon me.

More from the Robert dictionary

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Isabella may have something to say about this one. According to Robert, octopuses have eight "testicles."

The final insult

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So a student at Queen's was killed last week when he fell from the side of a campus building. The National Post headline, complete with subtle editorializing:

3-storey fall kills 'skilled' mountaineer

Zarquon!

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We managed to squeeze in three movies this past weekend; two on DVD and one at an actual cinema. So, in brief...

Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason
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Oh, what a dilemma. Sex with Hugh Grant vs sex with Colin Firth. What is a girl to do?
Funny moments, and Renee Zellweger, although she cannot walk (!!!) has her moments as a comic actress. I found Shirley Henderson distracting because of her role as Moaning Myrtle in the Harry Potter series (I have the same problem with Miriam Margolyes in the new Mystery! series).
Seriously, though, what is up with Zellweger and her inability to convincingly move like a human being?

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
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I did see this on the "big screen" ages ago, but since (a) Dr. T had not seen it and (b) it features Johnny Depp, who is on my list, I was happy to watch it again. Depp is perfect as Captain Jack Sparrow, and I was glad to have a second viewing, which helped me appreciate Jonathan Pryce's performance - altough Steve has ruined Jack Davenport for me.
In short, this is a fun movie with some easy-to-ignore plot problems (as Steve mentions, there's a presumably undead pirate underwater somewhere; also, Captain Jack is seen in his prison cell by moonlight near the beginning of the film, which in retrospect shouldn't have happened). It's Johnny Depp. All is forgiven.

...and finally...

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
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Let me begin with my credentials - I have seen the really low-budget TV series, and own it on DVD. I have read the books - all of them - several times. I have heard the radio series that started it all. I have listened to the audio book, as read by the author. I have played - albeit rather unsuccessfully - the computer game. I know the answer, if not the question.
Having said that, it is my firm belief that you cannot be a HHGG purist - HHGG has existed in too many incarnations, and your first exposure to the series partly determines your appreciation. My parents, for instance, listened avidly to the radio series eons ago on CBC. Then they bought me the first book. My kids, however, know the TV series best.
There are many, many things that I liked about this movie - for instance, Zooey Deschanel is a much better Trillian than Sandra Dickinson was in the TV series; and I loved Mos Def's interpretation of Ford Prefect - he was just kind of, well, alien. Stephen Fry is lovely to listen to, and OH MY GOD Alan Rickman was made to be Marvin.
On the other hand, I was not thrilled with the romantic subplot - it's not vital to the story, and at the risk of contradicting myself and all that "can't be a purist" stuff, there's no record of such a romance in the other versions.
Nonetheless, I was very happy with this particular incarnation, as were Dr. T and the boys, both of whom very grown-upedly sat through the movie with us. Colin has already extracted a promise from us that we will get the DVD when it becomes available.
I originally set this at 3.5 stars - the extra star is partly for the Vogons, who were priceless, and partly for the opening sequence with the dolphins, which is worth... well, perhaps not the price of admission for four people at a downtown cinema on a Saturday afternoon, but close.

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