Thursday, September 27, 2007

cyberdrama and another job

1. Two posts in two days! OMGWTFBBQPONIES!!

2. So, my day was made slightly weirder today by a blog I like to read by a guy named Shannon Larratt. He's an odd guy, but his blog is often a good read and bounces between sustainable living, custom cars, insane cooking, body modification, and co-painting with his daughter Nefarious. She's a preschooler and positively oozes cute:Anyway, he's either completely lost his mind or his best friend and his exwife (with whom he is still fairly close) have decided to steal his entire online identity and his body modification site (the largest in the world, with a simply huge worldwide community). I've been reading his blogs for years and so for some reason feel like I know him, but this episode makes me wonder if he might be very different than I think he is. Either way he deserves some sympathy, I think.
Note: probably most people would find his blogs, especially the ones dealing with body modification, extremely weird and probably gross. I don't recommend them to most people, but I find them anthropologically fascinating. His day-to-day blog is pretty much like most blogs, though - lots of musing about news stories and cooking and what he did on the weekend.

3. I often mention Matt and Porter staying at our house, and in fact they are here a lot, mainly because St George is pretty boring and they don't like it there very much. So Porter has been looking for a job up here, and now he has found one! We're finding him an apartment of his own, and then he will no longer sleep on our floor, but lead a happier existence in Fredericton. The cats will miss them, but I'm sure they will come to visit.He took a picture of our microwave.

4. The gallery opening was this evening, which made for a hectic day at work. I won't really get into the most entertaining bits of it, as it would be unprofessional, but in the end we put together a very good show and I will try to put up pictures very soon.

5. Winston is a smooshfaced cat:

6. Links:
And as with most real world protests, this one attracted off-message sign-wavers. For instance, I asked this humanoid stack of square discs what Korea had to with the strike.
"Is that what it says?" the stack of discs replied, surprised. Someone had handed it to them, they told me, but couldn't tell what the sign read. And the discs excused themselves, and went off to locate a more fitting message.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Erica! Basil! Fireworks! Job!

1. All that I wrote about having a life, doing exciting things? The problem is, I'm really really busy. I am actually looking forward with glee to getting cut down to five hours per week at the NBCC, not because of the work but because I just don't have the headspace to keep up with my work right now. While technically there are enough hours in the day for five hours of being actively engaged in things every day, it becomes trying when you try to fit it the languages and readings as well, and downright impossible when you make time for these things during periods in the day where the brain is anything but unattractive mush.

2. That having been said, I did make time to go to Seeley's Cove this weekend with Megan and Sean, probably unwisely, but staying home to translate while my boyfriend and friend go hang out at his parents' house to watch movies, play with dogs, collect sand dollars on the beach and do silly things in Saint John... it sticks in my craw.
Sean left on Friday afternoon before I got home from class, but I stayed that evening in order to see Erica, who was here for a visit (on her birthday!). We caught up on what she's been up to in that magical place, Toronto, and gossiped about the people we know. We had a thoroughly good time with Neil before she left to go to Sweetwaters (a club that I do not go to) with some other friends of hers, at which point I watched Pirates of the Caribbean and went to sleep.
On Saturday morning, Megan came over with her weekend bag and we went to the market before catching the bus. She had never been to the Fredericton market and we had enough time for a whirlwind purchase of wontons, samosas, cheesecake on a stick, fresh orange juice, a large bunch of basil and a sickly basil plant (bought in confusion, but was a steal at fifty cents).
We met Sean in Saint John and spent a ridiculous amount of time drifting from place to place. We went to Value Village, and I found an ankle-length sweater coat (black) in bulky weight cotton that will probably find itself transformed into a better sweater soon; we were thoroughly underwhelmed by Old Navy, but I did find a jersey hoodie-dress for $7 that has become my ubiquitous hanging-about-the-house-being-comfy dress overnight. I remembered that Urban Planet had been fun in Ottawa, a million years ago when I was last there, and so we went; I didn't find anything, and nor did Sean, but Megan found an entire new wardrobe on the 3-for-$10 rack (lots of retro flower print dresses and leggings).
We went back to the house in thoroughly good moods and spent the evening with the dogs and a fire in the fireplace, and watched most of the Return of the Pink Panther (the Peter Sellers one, with the melting nose? much beloved of myself and Michelle).
The next day we made serious and contrite effort to do our homework, but ended up chatting in the living room over bacon and eggs for most of the afternoon, broken up by a couple of walks to the beach (Megan is now a sand dollar millionaire) and a drive in to St George proper for ice cream and a viewing of the St George waterfalls and fish ladder. We also discovered that fireworks are legal for purchase in rural New Brunswick, and spent the evening playing with Roman Candles on the beach.
A really terrific weekend, but one that I am still catching up from.

3. So we returned to the cats and have been muddling through the week as best we can. My week is a lot like last week, in almost every way - the homework, the office organization, the frosh saying silly things in World Lit (today: "Solomon the Wise was a big fat liar! I wouldn't marry him no matter how many pretty poems he wrote me!").
Sean returned home to the unpleasant news that he didn't get either of the workstudy positions he interviewed for last week, but one of the interviewers sent him an email telling him to apply for another work study - the one at the Electronic Text Centre that I interviewed for (unsuccessfully) last year. He interviewed yesterday and was hired on the spot! Hurrah for work study positions! It's tedious work, scanning old journals, editing them for scanning errors and converting them to XML, but his coworkers sound hilarious and he's pretty pumped about having the job.
Porter came up to visit last night, as he had a job interview today (dishwashing at the Delta, in fact - Sean's old job). He's visiting for the moment.

4. This week, from here on in: tomorrow night is the gallery opening at the office, so that will be interesting. Friday morning Sean is leaving for St John on the morning bus, and will be spending the weekend driving to Antigonish and back with his father. I am really, really annoyed that I am marginally too responsible to seize the opportunity to spend the weekend with Michelle, but I guess I will see her for Thanksgiving. But still. Weekend with my sister and her brood of frosh, or weekend of cooking for myself, talking to the cats and translating, translating, translating? Gosh.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

filling in the corners

1. You'll notice that my twitter is starting to develop a pattern - school, decompress, work, decompress, homework, etc. It seems to take me about two hours, minimum, to recover from the outside world when I get home.

2. Now that work and school are beginning to settle into patterns, I'm letting myself look at the things going on that aren't work and school. The NBCC seems to be determined to cut me down to five hours at some point, and so I'm interested in being a TA in the Classics department; Professor Kerr came by the Philosophy lounge to look for people who might be interested, and I've put in my name to be considered (the Classics society has been kicked out of their usual lounge in Carleton because of renovations, and has annexed the Philosophy lounge; I think we need to put up a flag or something, because we now own the place). It's a maximum of ten hours a week, but usually (I hear) much less.

I joined the Classics society. Woot! It only took five years of fully intending to. I also seem to have both candidates for the presidency of the Anth society trying to get me to be on the executive again. I'm not sure why. The society was not marked by success last year.

I'm also playing D&D again. To play D&D, you need at least one or two, but preferably three or four other people who are interested in playing and committed to showing up regularly. If you are very popular and strong with the Force, you can even play more than one campaign with different groups, but I've never really been in that position before.

Now, Sean and I are teaching Danielle to play, and so we are playing an oddly delightful campaign on Sundays, accompanied by cooking vegetarian food in quantity together (Danielle is veggie) so we can have lunches during the week. We've played two or three sessions at this point.
Will, with whom I have traveled three foreign countries, has recently moved here and has no one to be nerdy with, so we are starting a campaign soon (Will, Sean and I). I don't really want to introduce him to Danielle's campaign because we're sort of making a tutorial run of it, and also he wants to run the campaign, with Sean and I playing. I am going to play a druid with a rust monster companion, ha ha ha how awesome is that I'm such a nerd.

And Erica is coming to visit tomorrow, and I'm having coffee with Neil on a semiregular basis, and Megan Mackay is back in Fredericton and hopefully will come over a lot to visit and have a break from icky residence people and caf food.

In summary: I have a life! of sorts!

3. Also, Sean has applied for a few workstudy positions and has two interviews lined up! They are good jobs, that pay rather well and are interesting and academic-based (like my lab assistant job). He has an interview tomorrow to work at The Fiddlehead, a literary magazine (this is very exciting). and an interview on Thursday to be research assistant to a sociology professor (less exciting to me, but he's pretty pumped about getting lots of experience researching). We're very hopeful. It's either this or washing dishes. Or working at the porn store.

4. Tomorrow: school, decompress, studying Latin with Cora Vetch in the early evening, and then visiting with Erica in the later evening!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Central Kings, you effing rock

1. Saturday. Or Caturday, if you prefer. It's Harvest Jazz and Blues weekend here in Fredericton - downtown is dotted with large circus tents in every parking lot and park available, all of them booked solid with music acts. It's terribly popular with almost every stratum of Fredericton, and even replaces the weather as the default topic of conversation (instead of "wow, it's wet today" we get "so do you have tickets to Harvest?"). Being fairly poor and not really motivated to go out, Sean and I aren't attending this year, but if we start to feel left out all we have to do is open the window and we can hear two or three shows on any given night.

2. This week was flat out tiring. I formally switched out of Anth of Literacy and into Media Culture, which was a good move for my sanity and my pitiful physique, though a slight blow to the ego (what, self, you can't handle it?). Even so, four classes in a row is an awful lot, and work is pretty busy, too. I spent a lot of time cleaning up the computer situation, and now the main storage (which was horribly disorganized) is only a little disorganized, and mine and Shasta's laptops have been cleaned out and transferred over to Kate and Amy. Unfortunately that leaves me stuck with the absolute slowest computer we have to do my "IT" work, but that's life I suppose.
I'm feeling sort of overwhelmed right now. I don't have any escape route, really, which makes me nervous - I have no choice about how many courses I'm taking, or putting off one of my languages, or quitting my job. I'm really hoping that this will get easier next week, as I get more used to my new rhythm and settle back into my languages.
At least the Greek isn't nearly as bad as I thought. My vocabulary is literally flooding back - I only have to look something up once and it's solid again. I can't say the same for the tables and tables of verbs, but I suppose that's what flash cards are for.

3. Some links!
  • the new fall Knitty is out hooray!
  • I think that Patrick Stewart has a moral duty to bid on the lionfish.
  • Sean and I have adopted his parents' ancient ice cream maker just to try this out.
  • In news about tolerance - this is pretty cool, but this is cooler because it's about a high school, and I didn't even realize until I went to post the link that it is actually Central Kings, you know, the school next to West Kings. Good job, guys. You make me proud.
  • Dear Vinyl Gods: I want this and also this.
4. Interesting anecdote of the day courtesy of Cat Bordhi, a knitting guru, in an interview in the new Knitty:

Q: What's the one thing most people don't know about you that you're willing to share with Knitty readers?
A: When I was young we lived in a huge old house that had been built just before the San Francisco earthquake by the obsessed and eccentric Sarah Winchester, who built the 160-room Winchester Mystery House, now a tourist attraction in San Jose, California. Our house was much smaller of course (Mrs. Winchester had built it as a wedding gift for her niece), but still, everyone who came to the front door asked how we found our way around. We weren’t allowed to go on the roof, so of course we did (there was a door that opened onto the roof and how were we supposed to resist that?), and I remember thinking that I really didn’t know my way around on the roof, and it was actually a bit scary. It had so many ups and downs and ins and outs that it made me feel like I was lost on Mt. Everest. We also had some of the same fireplaces and details as Mrs. Winchester’s house, but fortunately none of the most bizarre features, like staircases that ended in ceilings or windows installed in the floor. We never stopped looking for hidden passageways, but never found any.

One year my father spotted an ad in the paper offering carpeting at $39.99 per room, installation included, no matter the size. Our carpets were threadbare, so he figured he should take full advantage of such a fine opportunity. The carpet guys nearly choked when they saw our house with its enormous rooms, and this was probably when they decided to balance things out by giving my colorblind father only one choice of carpeting, which he agreed to. I don’t think he consulted my mother. The rather thin carpet had been woven out of the factory’s age-old stash of leftover yarns. It was the equivalent of knitting a blanket out of random scrap yarns. There were single-line stripes of one color after the other – no sequence, just hundreds of different colors, very bright and a little crazy. We kids (there were 6 of us) thought it was great for broad-jumping, because you could start at the door and try to land on a particular color. And it wasn’t too long before that carpet was threadbare too. But we sure had fun. Next time my father bought better carpet, in the only color he could see: red. I still don’t know if he consulted my mother.

5. This weekend: my second blue Monkey met with a fatal error two days ago when I realized, two repeats in, that I had botched the cuff badly, so I'm casting on again. I have both Greek and Latin (of course), and also Sean has been suddenly felled by a nasty flu of the sinus and sensitive skin variety, so I'll be feeding him tea and soup and making him sleep. A quiet rainy weekend.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

so many lines to go before I sleep

1. It's been raining all day, and I was forcefully reminded today that my boots, which bore me all through last winter in all manner of gross weather, are full of holes. Boo. We're still in money limbo, where we need to pay rent and buy books and work less, and all that general sort of back to schoolness, but have not yet recieved our fat student cheques, so everyone is going "where is my money yo" and we're stuck repeating "um, look, can you ask me again in about a week maybe? 6-8 business days?"

2. School yesterday was exhausting, and I learned a lesson. Several, actually.
  • it takes more than two hours to translate thirty lines of poetry. I could swear it used to take less time, and admittedly I'm rusty, but that's just plain terrifying when you consider we're talking about fifty lines of poetry every Monday, Wednesday and Friday until I turn 24.
  • it takes longer than ten minutes to boot it up the hill from WLCS to Anthropology. I arrived panting, in disarray, late. Awkward.
  • while I'm not as rusty as I thought I would be at Greek, I'm still pretty darn rusty.
I'm seriously considering dropping the Anthropology of Literacy and Learning, interesting readings or not. The petty concerns of time and space and my poor little legs aside, it is a fifth year course that I don't need to take, and I really ought to be preserving my shiny Anthropology GPA, not gambling it on whimsy. The reading and coursework would be intense, and I just don't have the time to devote to it. Yes, I did seminars last year and Latin - but now I have Greek too.
World Literature Culture Studies is turning out to be an excellent impulse course, though. I've started looking at every class through the lense of my honours subjects, and it's about ancient texts (Classics, even) from a cultural point of view (Anthropological, in fact). I spend the class thinking about how I would teach it if it were my class, and not because the prof is teaching it poorly (he's doing an excellent job, in fact) - just because I think about the things he's talking about, and have read some work on them in the past. I also finally learned what the Sapir-Wharf hypothesis is, which is kind of embarassing for an Anthropology honours student.
Tomorrow I'm going to start a new class to possibly replace Anth - Media Culture 1000. It might be interesting, and it will probably be a lot easier to fit into temporal, spatial and academic spaces in my life.

3. On Sunday, I finished a hat. I need batteries in a bad way.

4. Yesterday was Will's birthday, and Sean and I went to visit and play Mario Party. Sean got to meet Fraser and Amanda, two of our Mexico amigos.

5. I'm running out of steam, so I had better get started on my poetry for the night.

Friday, September 07, 2007

time and space

1. Could it be... my last first day of school? At least until grad school? (Is there a first day of school in grad school?)
I got up with a feeling of slight nerves, on account of not having caught up much with my languages or even really looking at where my classes were going to be. I hunted down my trusty old UNB '02 clipboard and headed up to campus on the 9:15 bus - it's always been sufficient to get me to class on time for a 9:30 class before, so it must be still, right? No.
My Latin class was inexplicably located in an obscure corner of the third floor of the physics building, and so I arrived a bit late and more than a bit out of breath. Then, I learned that we are reading Vergil's Aeneid this year in Latin. An epic poem about the mythic founding of Rome.
"I sing of arms and of a man: his fate
had made him fugitive: he was the first
to journey from the coasts of Troy as far
as Italy and the Lavinian shores
Across the lands and waters he was battered
beneath the violence of the high ones for
the savage Juno's unforgetting anger."
I have never liked translating poetry in Latin, but I suppose it must be faced. I have most of my old classmates back, plus a nice student from last year's Latin class who is taking an extra year of Latin to get ready for grad school, and Cora Woolsey, better known as Vetch (the singer for the band that always plays the craft fairs to thundering applause), who isn't exactly finished second year yet but is starting third year anyway.

2. I stopped at the science library to get a coffee before facing my second class, and there ran into Simon, an old acquaintance, who has finished his degree at STU and is taking his Masters at UNB; he was on his way to intermediate Latin. Good fun.
My second class is sort of a filler class. I had planned to take three classes so as to focus on my languages, but I received a scholarship this year that requires me to take four courses each semester, so it's cheaper to take four than three. That said, it should be an interesting class nonetheless. I was sort of confused that it was in the nursing building, though, and then even more confused that the professor (Callahan) has his offices in Bridges, one of the dorms. He then cleared up my confusion by explaining that Carleton Hall, which has been my second home for several years, is undergoing extensive renovations to put in an elevator, so all the Classics and Literature and languages and English and History is displaced.
The literature class will be interesting. I've gotten really used to massive term papers and small classes of snooty upper year students, whereas this class involves 500-word "reflection pieces" and hordes of smelly frosh in leggings. (I suspect they haven't found/figured out/gotten over their fear of the dorm showers yet.)

3. My next class was Anthropology of Literacy and Learning, which is an education course cross-listed with anthropology and taught by an anth prof named Evie Plaice. Unfortunately, it is held in the education building, where I used to work - clear at the top of the hill. I have ten minutes to get from the bottom of the hill to the top, assuming World Lit doesn't go over time, and I fully expect to arrive half-dead at every single class.
Anticipating this, I strode up the hill vigourously and then got utterly lost in the building and ran from one end to the other and up three flights of stairs, arrived at the room half-dead with the class already in session, walked in, spotted a friend from the Mexico trip, sat down with her, and then - the class ended.
I had walked into the class before mine two minutes before the end of the lecture and the professor didn't even bat an eye.
I apologized to the prof, who laughed, and waited quietly for my class to start. Cora (Vetch) is in the class too, which is nice, and Prof Plaice seems very nice and has lots of interesting ethnographies for us to read. I'm looking forward to it.

4. For lunch, I went down to Doreen's cafe in Tilley to meet Sean, but ended up chatting with my Latin classmate Daniel a bit while waiting. When Sean came I introduced him to Doreen, and we had a nice catch up on classes, etc, and went for a walk so he could see where some of his classes are (Economics is also displaced from Carleton and so he has classes all over the place).

5. My Greek classes are with Professor Murray, the Dean of Arts, and because of the shortage of classrooms and his schedule, we're meeting in his (very swank) office for class. The four other students are all male, and we have varied stories about past Greek experiences - two of us took it two years ago, two are survivors of last year (there was a higher attrition rate than usual), and the other is a transfer from UNBSJ. We're continuing to voyage through the text I used before, Athenaze I & II. I think it might almost be manageable. I didn't even get nearly as badly put on the spot as I thought I might be, as rusty as I am. I do, however, have nine chapters to review for Monday.

6. After all was said and done, I met Neil at Doreen's for coffee. I've been friends with Neil since Frosh Week, and we fell out of contact about a year and a half ago when he had to take a year off of school, but he's back and determined to finish his degree, so we'll actually be graduating together this spring. We caught up on our lives and the people we know; James is relatively well (Neil is living with him again) and Sid is fat and talkative, as always. I hope to have a great deal more coffee with him over the school year.

7. And then I came home. I hurt all down my right side, from a combination of some sort of pain in my neck from lifting at the festival and enthusiastically bounding up and down the hill all day. I think we're going to have a quiet evening of rented movies and spending time with our whiny, neglected cats; I think Tonks is either stressed or sick, as she's been throwing up all day. Poor thing.

8. This weekend: getting up early tomorrow morning and getting to the bookstore while the hordes of shoppers are too hung over to queue up! And then probably seeing Will, who is now moved into his new place.

Thursday, September 06, 2007


1. The show is over.
Setup was pretty bad, as I wrote, but the show was... long. Too long. It's an exhausting thing to be completely engaged in something fourteen hours a day for four days, physically, mentally, emotionally, grammatically....
Friday was a slowish day, with only about 800 people through the doors. Friday are usually slow, though, and it rained on and off all day, which tends to keep people away. The actual downpour held off until the band (and the expensive rented sound equipment) was off the stage, but there were points where they were playing keyboards under draped tarps. Still, people seemed pretty happy, for a rainy day. Craftspeople are shockingly philosophical about bad weather during outdoor shows. The most surprising event of the day was that our only glassblower was noticeably not set up or even present when we opened, and drove up at about 3 in the afternoon - he thought setup was Friday, not Thursday. So it goes.
Saturday was a very long day, despite the terrific marathon performance by Vetch (six hours of singing?!) and far superior weather. We had staffing issues all weekend, with people not showing up or calling in sick or snapping at craftspeople, and it started to really show on Saturday. I boothsat for a couple of people and tried to take deep breaths. Shasta and one of the craftspeople successfully busted some shoplifters - how low do you have to be to steal from independent craftspeople who rely on it for their living? They were trying to make off with enough jewelry that they will probably at least get house arrest for it, and possibly real jail time, but still.
Sunday we had the Annual General Meeting in the morning, which delays opening until about 11, and by 11 I had had enough of the festival for the weekend. We were still short of staff and Stu had a fight with Shasta and people in general were overtired and snappish. After a rocky start, though, the afternoon passed faster than I thought it would - the weather was good, and we were pretty busy - and teardown went fairly relatively smoothly. Shasta and I had to wait around for the tent people to show up to make sure no one stole the fire extinguishers (again) or the rented tables, but just as we were getting really frustrated with waiting, Matt and Porter mysteriously showed up at the park looking for me and Sean and kindly watched the tables while we went to our storage across the river and dropped off everything.
And really, that was that. Happy craftspeople, attendance slightly better than last year, reasonably good weather, frazzled Stephanie.

2. Sean and I headed up to his parents' house for Monday and Tuesday, to recharge and to keep me away from the office, and we passed a very peaceful couple of days watching silly movies and playing with Lucy the puppy and eating terrific food. On Tuesday I even got to go to a terrific yarn store in Blacks Harbour called Cricket Cove, though I missed the sea silk somehow (that's okay, I got some sock wool for Jaywalkers), and for supper we went to a seafood place called Comeau's, which has the best fish and chips in New Brunswick (won awards, etc) and deep fries every item on the menu. Good times, and a peaceful rest. When I came into work on Wednesday, Shasta was shocked how much more happy and rested I looked.

3. Shasta is officially at Downtown Fredericton Inc now, and last night we all went out to the Blue Door for a sort of goodbye party (Shasta, Amy, Kate and myself). We stayed until about 10:30, and it was a really good time, just sort of chatting and eating and having a couple of drinks. We also gave her one of Beth Biggs' oxidized gold rings, which she was pretty happy about. The Blue Door is a terrific restaurant, if a bit expensive. I think I'm going to take Sean there this evening for his birthday (he's twenty-four today!).

4. Tomorrow is my first day of class, somehow. I'm a little concerned that I've been to busy with the festival to spend time on reviewing and catching up on my languages, but hopefully I can get up to speed quickly. All of my classes are Monday, Wednesday and Friday, which leaves my Tuesdays and Thursdays free for work and homework (as well as after 2:30 on MWF). Here's hoping for a school year as successful as last year, although hopefully not as hectic.