Sunday, November 28, 2004

A dialogue.

A: First, recommend to me:
1. a movie.
2. a book.
3. a musical artist, song, or album.
4. an artist (contemporary, manga, us comic, historical, whatever).

B: I want everyone who reads this to ask me three questions, no more, no less. Ask me anything you want.

C: Then I want you to go to your journal, copy and paste this allowing your friends to ask you anything.

Thursday, November 25, 2004


Just got a nice card with a letter enclosed from my grandma.

Which got me thinking... paper letters are cool. We don't send enough of them these days; it's all about the e-mail and the MSN and the homing pigeons and the singing telegrams.

So, here's the deal:

Anyone who wants a letter, anyone at all... email me (the first three characters of this blog's URL, at your address and within a few days you'll have a piece of paper in your mailbox, ensconsced within an envelope, with your name on it (and not with an "Or Occupant" tacked onto the end). And who knows, maybe you'll be nice enough to return the favour.

"Penpals for the 21st Century." Ooooooh, I likes it. This idea's got legs it can stand on.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Wise words.

Looking back all the time at what happened -- riding the brake and not putting your foot on the accelerator -- gets you literally, nowhere.

This gives me an idea.

Nuts to you, Richard and Tavis. I think my article was funny... so for all y'all, check this out.

Going to Ottawa.

So, it's settled:
  • going to Ottawa on the protestbus
  • staying in O-town overnight with a friend
  • coming back to Kingston on Wednesday
It's been a couple of years since I've been at a protest march... ah, I almost pine for the days of Mike Harris.

***vigorously slaps some sense into himself***

But, no, I couldn't really think of a better way to spend my birthday than by throwing limp cooked spaghetti at George W. Bush, or perhaps at an effigy of said world leader, or perhaps just randomly throwing pasta at any kind of target, seeing as how I don't own a dartboard, because I live in a basement, and the ceiling is too short, and I don't really have enough space on the wall anyway because the wainscotting comes up almost four feet, and I'd want to mount the dartboard on cork to save the drywall just like we did at the place in London a few summers ago.

That was a fun time, London. "Oystnolo Links" in the back yard, with the possum.

Wait a second... where was I? Who are all you people looking into my brain?

Monday, November 22, 2004

Anti-Bush Buses.

Fifteen bucks to yell at Dubya on November 30? Sign me up.

Kingston Departures:
9:00 am, JDUC (University and Union)
9:15 am, Queen Street Blockbuster
(leaving Ottawa at 7:30 pm)

$15 for all people who can afford it. Homeless and working poor people can inquire as to a subsidized or free rate depending on their situation.

There are two ways to purchase your ticket:

1. Ontario Public Interest Research Group (OPIRG) offices, 51 Bader Lane (formerly Queen's Crescent; the first office through the front doors, on the right). Phone 533-3189.
Tracey will be selling tickets there on:
Mon. 10:00 am - 4:30 pm
Tue. 10:00 am - 4:30 pm
Thu. 10:00 am - 4:30 pm

2. The Sleepless Goat, 91 Princess St., at the following times where there will be a ticket-table:
Wed. Nov. 24 from 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Fri. Nov. 26 from 11:00 am - 2:00 pm and 6:00 - 9:00 pm
Sat. Nov. 27 from 11:00 am - 2:00 pm and 6:00 - 9:00 pm
Sun. Nov. 28 from 11:00 am - 2:00 pm


Sunday, November 21, 2004

Road Trip to Ottawa.

Whee! With all this butt-kissin',
I'm gonna need a whole case of Chap-Stick!
Posted by Hello
(more funny captions here)

So... who wants to take a little drive to our fair Nation's Capital next Tuesday to greet the Moron?

Friday, November 19, 2004

Queen's Players.

For those not familiar with this phenomenon, it's an original play put on by a group of Queen's students, apparently twice a year.

I went last night to the show at Alfie's, and it was the stupidest, drunkest, funnest night of theatre I've experienced in quite some time. The narrative structure broke down a bit in the second act, but I doubt anyone in the place (including the cast or the band) really cared that much, as we were all pretty uniformly full of liquor by that point. For the first time, I used the "Hey, I write for Golden Words" line on a girl, and it actually ended up making for nice conversation. (I gotta play this card more often, methinks.)

Alas, nine hours after I returned home quite drunk from Queen's Players, I was sitting in a colloquium on West Campus where the student (a friend of a friend) was presenting her thesis proposal, about motivation in Grade 12 and Advanced Placement Biology classes. It's not often that a colloquium is on a topic in science, or at the secondary level... they always seem to be about ESL programs and elementary stuff. (Not that I have anything against those pursuits, it's just that they're not terribly applicable to my research area.) It was actually pretty interesting, and went alright for the poor, terrified M.Ed student (although one professor acted, somewhat uncharacteristically, I'd say, a bit like a bulldog in her questions).

I'm just glad I hit the water and Rolaids the night before.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Nick Drake is following me.

My Winamp, which is on "Shuffle," has played four straight ND songs.

I think it's a sign that I should buy an acoustic guitar.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Someone'd better hire this guy.

Best resume ever.

Secretary Rice.

I am really, really curious to see what Colin Powell does in the upcoming weeks or months. My money's on him writing a book like the very, very excellent Against All Enemies by Richard Clarke. (If anyone in K-Town wants to borrow my copy, let me know and I'll gladly loan it to you.) Or maybe he'll take a vacation, chill out, spark up a blunt or two, and decide to retire somewhere sunny. At least his son will still be busy ruining the FCC.

What's on my mind today is not the future direction of U.S. foreign policy (because we all know where that's been going, and where it's bound to be headed with Condi at the helm), or what initiatives Dr. Rice has in store for the world (e.g. giving all Republicans a 10% discount coupon redeemable at any Chevron station in the lower 48). What struck me today is this question:
Would I do Condoleezza Rice?

She just turned 50 on Sunday (happy belated birthday!), so let's turn the clock back a decade or three and reconsider...
  1. She is pretty foxy, in a sort of "Diana Ross meets Karl Rove" sort of way.
  2. Brains are a big turn-on; they ain't exactly giving away PhD's in international relations to Cletus the Slack-Jawed Yokel.
  3. I'm not normally a fan of short hair, but she pulls it off quite nicely.
  4. Poise out the yin-yang, with excellent posture.
  5. Apparently she's a concert-quality pianist.
  6. Extensive knowledge about the Cold War (makes for good storytelling 'round a crackling fire, with bourbons in hand).
So, there you have it. Condi, how's about you c'mon over Saturday night... I'll put on Ween's "Chocolate and Cheese" album, light some candles (made by 8-year old Indonesian kids, of course), and we'll play a serious game of Risk. (You can invade my territories anytime!)

...or at least send some Secret Service goons over to give me a good frisking. For a fellow as strong as Agent Mitchell is, his hands sure are gentle.

Monday, November 15, 2004

It's that time of year again.

Autumn is entering its "crisp" phase these days. The walk home from class tonight -- breath visible, stars punching through the city's artifical glow, nose getting a little bit nippy by the time I reached my door -- was serene and quiet and peaceful. Just me and my thoughts.

And the squeaking of my boots. Stupid boots.

Busy as a Japanese beaver.

Fortunately, my hell-week is over. Assignments and presentations aplenty, it tested my organizational skills like they haven't been since my last days of teaching. After all was said and done, I handed everything in on time, and managed to devote my Sunday to GW, as per normal.

Now comes the tricky part: keeping this industrious momentum flowing through the next three weeks or so. The "October Lull" bred the "October Sloth;" if I keep on top of things, though, we won't be going down that road again by the beginning of December.

In a relationship, trouble can begin when the two participants don't see the same situation the same way. If it isn't discussed openly and honestly, without personal attacks and put-downs, the situation can breed mistrust and resentment. Too often, people let their emotions do the talking, and that's very often a bad, bad thing to have happen... because emotions aren't logical beasts, not by a longshot.

This past weekend has taught me that, if approached like adults in a calm, rational way, even the trickiest of situations can be resolved with a minimum of permanent damage. While our own situation didn't exactly work out like we'd hoped it to, I think we handled it very, very well, and there were zero hard feelings.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Busy times.

This has probably been my busiest week since June. The B.Ed kiddies are back on campus, so I'm TAing a lot this week; I've been doing a couple of things for profs; I have a paper and a presentation due on the same day (i.e., tomorrow); and I have a field notes assignment due the next day in another class (but I asked for an extension to Monday, for the first time in my life)... hence why I'm up at such a stupid hour on a Tuesday night/Wednesday morning. Coffee certainly helped.

It doesn't hold a candle to teaching, though; that's like getting put through a wringer-washer five days a week. This is, comparatively, a big, delicious piece of carrot cake.

PS: I love semicolons.

Monday, November 08, 2004

Nice show.

The northern lights were out tonight, in all their ghostly glory. Also added to the mix, at such a late hour as this, was a slender crescent moon rising in the east.

'Twas a lovely sight. Did you catch a glimpse?

Courtesy of Kate:

1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open the book to page 33.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the sentence in your journal...along with these instructions.

"It [learning] is a moral achievement when people develop the capacity to choose new ways of thinking."

Pratt, D. (1994). Curriculum Planning: A Handbook for Professionals. Orlando: Harcourt Brace, Inc.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Busy, these days.

This past Monday, my prof came to class a bit frazzled. One of her PhD students, whose dissertation was due in one week, merged together her thesis from separate files (one for each chapter) into a single monolith, and the formatting got supremely messed-up. We're talking random bolds, underlines, italics, margin changes... a royal cack-up. This wouldn't normally be a daunting task to untangle, except that it was (a.) due in seven days, (b.) the most important document of her life, and (c.) two hundred and seventy pages long. (Did you even know MS Word has a limit on how large a document can be? It's 32 MB, which is a lot of text... but put a bunch of high-res photos in there, and things can get a bit elephantine.)

So, my prof asked around the group to see if there was anyone who (a.) didn't work full-time, (b.) was "picky," and (c.) was willing to help. Seeing as how my courses are raining assignments on me these days, I said, "Sure, I'll give her a hand." I called the student that evening; she woke me up by returning my call Tuesday morning and asked if I could come in to chip away at it that very morning. I groggily agreed, and in no time flat I was cursing Bill Gates' name (as I am wont to do when I use Microsoft products).

The thing was a wreck. It was a behemoth, for sure, with lots of ad hoc fix-ups (e.g. manually typed in captions, instead of letting Word handle them), random formatting miscues, and of course nowhere near APA in terms of general structure. This wasn't her fault; I had a paper draft from which to work, and it didn't look too bad. It all happened when she put it together into the single file.

Aaaaaanyway... long story slightly-shorter, I put in 13 very productive hours showing that dissertation who was boss. She managed to get a three-day extension, and I didn't move from my chair today for seven straight hours. But, we beat the thing into submission, and aside from a few extra things she has to pencil-in, it's done.

This actually follows a trend we have going in our family. When people need some help, we help 'em out without really thinking about it. Pitching-in is what we do. (What's that about a good man being hard to find? Maybe you're just looking in the wrong place.)

Inothernews, Jeanketeers, I spent all day Friday in lovely Auburn, New York, at a mini-conference on assessment and evaluation in education. One of the presentations was horrible (to be fair, he was pinch-hitting for the real presenter... but damn, man, doesn't a PhD degree give you a few presentation skills?!?), one of them wasn't terribly applicable to education per se, and two of them were really quite good.

However, the focus of this annual excursion to upstate New York was, as always, food. Lunch was good, dinner was great, and we kept up the Queen's tradition of buying Ben and Jerry's ice cream at the Price Chopper at exit 45 in Watertown and making ourselves cones. (The yellow plastic scoop was joined this year by a penguin-shaped sibling.) We got a few strange looks, not only because we were having an ice cream party in amongst the shopping carts, but because we were tearing into ice cream at a couple degrees above freezing.

Grad school is fun.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Get 'em next time.

From the very excellent Get Your War On site:


We're smarter than those motherfuckers.
We can learn more quickly than those motherfuckers.
We can be more ruthless than those motherfuckers.
We can be some six-million-dollar motherfuckers ourselves.

Chin up.
We're more American than those motherfuckers.
We're more responsible than those motherfuckers.
We're more compassionate than those motherfuckers.
Hell, our atheists are more Christian than their Bible-thumpin' motherfuckers.

There's an election in two years.
There's nothing we can't do.

Chin up.
Because it's on, motherfuckers.
It is on.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Dear America.

Specifically, 51% of you.




The World

Monday, November 01, 2004

Eve of destruction.

Not just a great '60s song by Barry McGuire... a possibly-apt description of this All Saints' Day.

As I remarked a few days ago, phone polling doesn't include cell phones, which (to me) puts a few more votes in the Democrat column. Nobody really knows how the whole bin Laden tape fiasco will end up "helping;" I'd wager to guess Americans have largely forgotten about it.

All I know is that I'll be watching the Daily Show tomorrow night, fo' sho'. You'd best be, too. (And if you don't get the Comedy Network, c'mon over and we'll have some tater-tots.)

Merit, my ass.

I shop at a grocery store these days called "Super C". I'd never heard of the chain before moving to K-town, but hey, as long as it ain't Loblaws or any Loblaws-owned store, that's good enough for me. (The Weston clan loves private schools.)

Anyway, their equivalent brand to Presdient's Choice is called "Merit Selection"; perhaps other stores carry this one, too. But, every time I see the name printed on the box-of-whatever, I have to chuckle to myself. The name implies that I chose the product based on its merits; i.e., that it tastes better or is more nutritious. But really, I just bought it because it was thirty cents cheaper than the name-brand.

Marketing is funny like that sometimes.