Friday, January 28, 2005

You hate Nickelback.

And so do I.

So go here to see just how badly they suck.

(link courtesy of the always-awesome P-Diddy Isaac)

Third time is the GOD DAMN CHARM.

Ann Coulter strikes again!

If you get a chance to catch this past week's fifth estate on Newsworld called "Sticks and Stones" (see the show's website here), which talks about the American media's willingness, since 9/11, to ideologically fellate the White House and parrot its party line, do it. The right-wing commentator, who I'm convinced somehow does not own a vulva despite outward appearancees, was sure that Canada had sent troops to Vietnam.

"I think you're wrong," she told the interviewer, who replied, "No. World War II and Korea, we sent troops; Vietnam, we didn't."

"No, I'm sure... you were in Indochina."

"You're thinking of Australia. Australia sent troops."

"Well, I'll have to get back to you on that one."

She didn't.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

The Wall.

Not just a great Floyd album... just what I feel I need to build around myself to keep out the weird, freaky-ass world I live in. (Don't worry, this ain't no cry-for-help, I'm-gonna-go-listen-to-Good-Charlotte- when-I'm-done-typing kind of post; after all, this ain't LiveJournal. Oh, snap.)

I just sometimes feel as if the world does things one way, and I always attempt the same task from a weird angle; sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't, but it's usually hard to explain to someone why I chose that method. I used to revel in this -- being able to get the same things done while thinking differently from everyone else -- but there are a couple of places where, try as I might, it just doesn't seem to work. And now I just want to fall in line with the rest of 'em, because (a.) it apparently works, and (b.) it looks a hell of a lot easier.

But, like a set of eigenvectors under perturbation theory, change is tough (to use a quantum physics analogy). I've put a lot of "mental capital" into who I am, and I guess this is what came out the other side. So now it looks darned tempting to forget about other people and make myself "a majority of one," to paraphrase the U.S. Army's current advertising slogan. While it would perhaps save on phone bills, humans are social creatures... which means I guess I'm stuck with you lot until the bitter end. Damn you and your ways!

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Minor irritations.

What good is a blog if you can't vent now and again? None, I say. So, here goes.

1. My web browser doesn't take me seriously anymore. I'm actually not joking about this. I'll click on a link, or press Enter with the cursor in the Location bar, and it'll do... nothing. It just sits there like a moron. Then I do what my technologically-challenged dad would, and press the mouse button/Enter key harder, and it'll magically work. It's as if the thing said to me on the second try, "Oh, you were serious about going to that goat-porn website? Fine, then, I'll take you there." Digital devices are not supposed to be pressure-sensitive... well, at least not mice and keyboards.

2. On another geeky note, my upstairs-neighbour, who is also in charge of the router for the house, has spent about two weeks jiggling cables and waving his hands over the thing, magically trying to bring the thing back to life. Meanwhile, our broadband connection is acting like something out of 1993. Granted, it's included in the rent... but it'd be nice if it worked.

3. When I was in Germany in December, I kept hearing "This Love" by Maroon 5 (I later learned) everywhere; stores, train stations, brothels. So I... ahem... acquired it and had a good listen. Now, I'm not one to listen to pop music, but I must admit pop music done well (and it is a rare thing these days) is alright; just listen to Michael Jackson's Off The Wall album. This song, close-up, sounds... musically empty. Sure, the hook is a catchy idea, but aside from that the thing is basically a shell. MJ filled in those great tracks with intricate strings, horns, and percussion... I'm not saying Maroon 5 should've been Spectorized or anything, but it was a huge let-down in the end.



Addendum. In trying to play "This Love" on guitar, and finally resorting to getting the tab for it... its chord structure is actually more complex than one would expect for your average radio-friendly pop song. It uses one of my favourite chords, the underemployed minor seventh (specifically Fm7, which is easy-peasy on the fingers if you use a barre). Oh, and I just baked up a stupendous-smelling pan of banana bread, which is why I rule.

Monday, January 24, 2005

A missed opportunity.

Why, oh why, did the rap world pass by the Digital Underground and go gangsta in the early-'90s? I dare you to listen to "The Humpty Dance" or "Doowutchalike" and not dance around your bedroom like a fool. Intestine-rattling bass, a plethora of Parliament-Funkadelic samples, hilarious lyrics... what's not to like?

Saturday, January 22, 2005

A theory about laziness.

I've been having some serious productivity issues lately (i.e., since coming back from the Christmas break), and I think they can be explanied by my General Theory of Laziness.

This is something I first noticed in high school. For my last four semesters at the venerable East Lambton Secondary School (R.I.P. 1890-2000), I took three classes and a spare... and I was far more likely to leave homework to do in that spare. (It often just didn't get done... yeah, I know, I set a great example for my kids.)

Then, for my last two terms at UW, since I had taken an extra lecture course in my 3A term and two distance ed courses (statistics lectures on tape are friggin' boring), I took four courses instead of five. (Included in those were two half-courses in film, and Intro to Macroeconomics.)

Now, my schedule is fairly... how-you-say... flexible. I have two grad courses, some TA duties, and also some RA stuff going on.

The common theme in these slack-times is my generalized lack of productivity; the stuff I have to do, even though I have more time to do it, doesn't get done as quickly as it should. But, back in the aforementioned 3A term, and when I was teaching, I was busy as hell, didn't get much sleep, and I was a productivity machine. Jesus, you should've seen me.

I guess there are two possible solutions. One is to fill up my life with a lot of extra crap to get the ball rolling (based on this tentative theory). The other is to figure out how to better use my time so that the things that need to get done, get done. I think putting a cinder-block through my TV would help; I'm probably up to over an hour a day (but in my defense it's usually Newsworld or something else geeky; I really quite like George Strombololopoulopoulous' new show). Writing out a schedule would very likely be a positive step, too, as I have numerous whiteboards. Oh, the slings and arrows of grad school.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Le premier chose.

Three "firsts" occurred recently.

1. I joined the girls on Wednesday to learn how to knit. Yeah, you heard me. I figured it was about time to try to address the serious gender-balance issues this pastime seems to have, and I feel I represented the Y-chromosome well. Mind you, the end product looked pretty terrible and it ended up being unraveled, but that's not the point. The point is, a guy knitted. Knit? Knitted? I dunno. Hell, I ain't no Ingliss mayjur.

2. I curled tonight, with a bunch of education-folk. Our team did fairly well, all things considered (i.e., one of us six had moderate curling experience, and the rest of us had never thrown a rock before... then again, the other team was similarly experienced and we lost 2-1 in three ends). A good time was had by all, especially with the boozing afterward.

3. I ventured into the legendary S&R department store at the foot of Princess street yesterday in the crazy-snow. Man, that place has everything... I initially was thinking I'd have to make three stops, but I got 'er all right there. Maybe next time I'll ride the elevator.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Tuktoyaktuk, anyone?

It's days like today that make me glad I have the schedule I do. I'm going to stay in, do some reading, do some RA work, and do a load of laundry in the ice-cold laundry room.



Even though I'm coming out of the major symptoms of mono (sore throat's almost gone!), my body is still fighting off the virus. Apparently, this leaves my liver slightly enlarged... which got me to thinking about its ability to metabolize alcohol.

I asked my upstairs-neighbour for some advice. She said, "Well, if your liver's a bit larger, it has more surface area inside it, which means it should be able to process alcohol better, right?"

Physicists... is there anything they can't do?

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Har har har.

I can't explain to you how funny I think the phrase "jazz hands" is. I can't stop giggling whenever I hear or read it.

That's all.

Friday, January 14, 2005

I laughed my balls off.

Dennis Quaid was on the Daily Show a couple of nights ago with a "Vote for Pedro" t-shirt on, similar to that worn in Napoleon Dynamite by its eponymous main character.

Such a good flick.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Surprise, surprise.

U.S. calls off search for Iraqi WMDs

U.S. inspectors have ended their search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq in recent weeks, a U.S. intelligence official told CNN.

The United States is taking steps to determine how it received erroneous intelligence that deposed Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was developing and stockpiling nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, White House spokesman Scott McClellan said Wednesday.



And so on, and so on. Y'know who could've told you this in 1998? Scott Ritter.

Back in late 2002, when the American media were all too happily beating the drums of war after Bush's State of the Union address, Ritter was getting grilled and vilified at every step. For doing what? Substantiating in the late 1990s that Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction, thereby discrediting the U.S. government's flimsy claim of Big, Bad Iraq.

Oh, sure... there was poison gas, back in the '80s... and sure, Hussein used it. But, the question is, where did he get it, and who suggested it'd be a good idea to try it out? Hmmmm, I wonder.

Monday, January 10, 2005

This game we play.

As much as we'd like to think men and women think along similar lines... there's a fundamental difference in how we go about doing business in this game called "a-courtin'."

I read recently about a misunderstanding between a chap and a lass, in regards to the chap feeling as if the lass had "led him on," when in reality the lass had already bequeathed herself to a rival suitor.

There was a point in my life a couple of years ago when I swear this would happen to me every single time I met a girl. We'd get to talking, the conversation would be flowing, I'd be cracking-wise and getting a great response... and then after a good twenty minutes, she busts out the "myboyfriend," far under the radar, spoken quickly as a single word.

The cynic in me paints a picture... women know they have power over men, and they act not unlike a cat stringing along a mouse who thinks he's going to escape, until the fatal pounce comes from nowhere to finish off the poor creature. Great fun for the cat, not so much for the mouse.

The realist in me suggests something far less malevolent. Maybe women think guys are supreme drift-catchers... put out a couple of hints and references, and they'll get the point. Sorry, ladies, we're clearly not that bright. I mean, c'mon, this is a gender which invented the Jackass show (although we can debate its genius for hours, I'm sure).

And so the game continues, as it will for eons. The fundamental mis-fit of boys and girls, and their strategies at bedding the other (or not), will no doubt continue to inspire our poetry, songs, and knife-fights far off into the sunset.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Still... odd.

I really do think my body hates me. I'm not sure why; it's not like I took my buddy Paul up on that dare years ago to eat that gigantic tablespoonful of butter or anything.

But yes, I still do feel very strange. I'm hungry, yet have absolutely zero appetite... I got random heartburn tonight from eating rice and carrots... then there's the intermittent dizziness and sensitivity to sound... and my head still feels like there's a rock implanted in the back of my skull, causing lingering fogginess. (Luckily, though, it stopped hurting.) And, to top it off, today I started getting random cold symptoms.

I just hope I'll be able to put together my presentation proposal by sometime Monday, and maybe bang out an article for GW from home sometime tomorrow. I have an ending line and a premise; now all I have to do is work backwards and see what happens.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Sleepy-time.

I've been sleeping ridiculous amounts lately, and that's not such a good thing. Today, I TA'd a class this morning at 9 (oh, yikes, 7:30 was brutal), and came back home just before noon. Hell-bent on preparing a decent meal despite my overwhelming lack of appetite lately, I had it all planned: scrambled eggs, grilled cheese sandwich, and some delicious cow-juice.

Instead, I slept for five hours on the couch with the lights on and no blanket. Out cold.

Despite this setback, I did have some semblance of dinner, and I'm feeling a bit better this evening. I just hope I'm back to normal by whenever my classes start up again. (One has yet to be scheduled; it's a late addition, and there are three of us in it. Oh, the joys of graduate studies in education... this'll be my third single-digit class so far.)

I did get my term papers back today, all of 'em 80 and above. I even scored a 90 on my lit review of metacognition in science education; I worked my ass off for that thing, and it paid off. Then again, this is grad school; one of my profs in the summer said, "If you're in the 70s, chances are we've already had a talk." So that puts things into perspective.

This weekend I plan on staying in, polishing up my GSES proposal, sleeping a lot, and keeping as full of extra-strength Tylenol as dosage limits will allow. And maybe coming up with "the funny."

Monday, January 03, 2005

Back from the Big Town.

A few days before leaving for NYC, I complained to my mom that I felt "foggy." This was not a good omen, as it was the beginning of a week (and counting) of feeling generally awful. But, people had been consulted and plans had been made, so the trip was going to go ahead, dammit.

Calamity first struck while in Toronto visiting my good buddy Dave. Pulling into his snowy/icy driveway, I got stuck in a rut, so I popped the trunk to get out my snow shovel. Lo and behold, I'd yanked the lever too hard, and actually jammed something inside the release latch which prevented me from closing it again. A bungee cord pinch-hit for the broken part, and the next day the good people at Addison on Bay had me fixed up good as new (and washed my filthy car to boot).

A couple of days later, Elena and I were off to the Big Apple, to eventually meet up with Sascha and Jess for a house party on New Year's Eve out on Long Island. (We initially thought the thing to do would be to go to Times Square on the big night, but as a friendly New Yorker put it, "I wouldn't stand three hours in Times Square to see the Pope do the tango with Hitler.") By the time we hit the suburban hell that is northern New Jersey, though, we were both feeling ridiculously hideous, and hit the sack around 10.

The next day we set off to see some sights in Manhattan -- Rockefeller Centre, Times Square (it looks much smaller in real life), and some unbelievably expensive (and large) diamonds at Cartier and Tiffany's. We walked by the Ed Sullivan Theatre at 53rd and Broadway, and who did we see in front of the place but the one and only Rupert Jee, of Hello Deli fame. (He's quite short.)

That night we drove and drove and finally made it past the pink Chinese restaurant to the party, after hearing "Johnny Cheesecake from The Bronx" request a song on the radio. It was a Great Gatsby theme, which Sascha neglected to mention, but it's okay because my flapper dress was at the cleaners at the time. After some excellent Desmond Dekker tunes and about six "countdowns" we headed out around 1:30.

New Year's Day... who knew that all the museums in town would be closed? No matter; we poked around Central Park and Greenwich Village, experienced the NYC subway system, and hit a comedy club. We caught the last bus back to Jersey, exhausted, practically leaning against each other to stay upright.

So, there you have it -- a whirlwind road-trip to New York for New Year's. I think I'm going to have to sleep for two solid days to get well again, but it was worth it.