Sunday, July 30, 2006

gone fishin'

i set off to work at the information commons today quite happily. the pay is great, the job is cushy, and i had decided to do a bit of extra work on my indexing because the server was down for a few days this week. plus, i really really like the idea of making over thirty dollars an hour. but when i got here, i realized that i forgot my power cord. there are few things that i dislike more than having the desire (well, at least the plan) to get some work done and not to be able to do. it really gets my goat.

one of the things that could have circumvented my annonyance would have been a nice giant sized cup of coffee. but, of course, our cafetaria service on campus is switching contracts, so everything is closed. in my opinion, to withhold coffee from the poor saps that have to work on sundays is absolutley medieval. there are very few things i can't handle without my extra cuppa joe.

so, instead of getting work done while comfortably enjoying a nice hot drink, i am a bit bitchy and a bit bored. on the upside, i've made a few dinner and lunch plans this week. and, for the most part, i am all set to head off to scotland on thursday. tasha sent me an excellent email of things to do in glasglow (she lived there for a few months) and i am looking forward to seeing the things she recommends for a couple of reasons: a) i am sure they'll be worth seeing and b) its a neat kinda time warp thing whenever you send someone to some place that is special to you.

it is true that i do have a paper to write tomorrow (thought...should i start that now? maybe i will, maybe i just will!), but i am, for all intents and purposes, already on vacation. that might not be a good thing, but only when it comes to the paper.

Friday, July 28, 2006

the little brown dress

my mom sent me this link this morning:

The Little Brown Dress

Check it out before you continue reading, otherwise you'll have no idea what i am taking about for the rest of this post. i can give you a brief synopsis, but it won't be the same. a woman decides to make and wear only one brown dress for 365 days. she adds on sweaters or layers as needed, but the core of the outfit is only the brown dress. she maintains that most of her co-workers did not even notice that she was wearing the same dress day after day (asserting that our own self-absorbed-ness prevents us from seeing other people.) the whole experiment can be summed up by her saying, " made one small, personal attempt to confront consumerism by refusing to change my dress for 365 days." (Alex Martin)

now, i was expecting to see one dress, 365 times. but she spruces up her outfit daily (in nice traditional granola wear), to the point that i now understand why she said that her colleagues did not even notice that she was duplicating her outfit. now, the woman seems to be some kind of creative force, also transforming this experiment into a dance. the whole experiment seems intriguing to me: the idea that we are not what we wear, no matter how hard i'd like to justify the goodness of what not to wear. i think it also fits perfectly into our national tendency to over-produce and over-use. not only did wearing, gasp, one article of clothing not stifle the spirit of this woman, it inspired her.

when i was in grade 12, our high school decided to embark on the path of uniforms. active in student government, i have to admit, i was prepared to put all my student influence towards rejecting the uniform (or clothing simply existing to turn us into clones, whatever you'd like to call it.) and i wasn't the one you'd think would protest: i was overweight, friends with the artsy types (who have all turned out to be wonderful interesting people, just like they were then), and heck, i was on student council. i was the poster girl of why there should be uniforms. but i hated the very idea of them. but that hate lasted about one second after my mom bought me mine. not only could i roll over and practically be dressed, i also looked like everyone else. and because everyone looked the same, all of a sudden, people had to listen to what other people said to distinguish them. i don't really have to words to describe this process. was it because we were teenagers? because we didn't really know who we were yet (but do we now?)? did clothes really make for class disctinctions? i don't know. but i do remember a vastly different environment when we did have uniforms. one that i was quite thankful for. and i do remember that people words meant more than they had mattered before.

now, ms. martin isn't promoting uniforms by any means. i would hate to put words in her mouth. but, i still like the message. and i think the message is rather pertinent to us, overconsumers and mass wasters, and that we should listen.

Monday, July 24, 2006

i'm sleepy

i've been up since five this morning.

today was jarrod's first day at a new place of employment. we live downtown toronto. it was located in richmond hill. on saturday, we tested out the commuting water. it took a long time. so jarrod decided he'd just take the go train, even though it is slightly more expensive. well, the joke was on him. the go train does not run from toronto to richmond hill, excepting evening rush hour. there is not even any go bus until ten in the am. so he was back to the ttc. but, he had to leave so early in the morning that even the subway was not yet running. so he had to bus it from yonge/dundas to finch. and then to richmond hill. and then a local bus. ouch. and by he, i might as well have been saying we, since, for this one morning, i went with him. (i have a sense of direction, he doesn't.) besides, i wanted to get a head start on the day. ahem. well, i am working on switching my schedule so that instead of staying up till four or five, that is the time i wake up. we'll see if it works.

i believe that keeping a relatively similar schedule is the only way to prevent one of us from killing the other. we're both fairly light sleepers and there is simply no way for one of us to get up without annoying the other. sometimes, i get passive agressive about it. like, i'll ask him if he wants to use speakers to watch tv. or he'll come out and be, "do you want help unloading the dishwasher?" when i've woken him up with the clanging. for the most part, we're adjusting remarkably well. but, i am a terribly spoiled girl who's never had to share a room before (excepting of course first year where my room mate and i just simultaneously snoozed our alarms through class, feeling better because we were both still in bed). so, i'm adjusting, just to some things better than others. for instance, i really like having an ally on the cleaning front. we might still be losing the war, but we've won some good battles.

i rode the subway home (it was running by then) alone. getting on at finch, it wasn't hard to get a seat. however, i was completely blown away by just how incredibly packed it gets. for a commuter city, i have to say that the experience of finding a way to richmond hill, and then seeing this overcrowding, shocked me. why on earth aren't we focusing on making public transit easy, affordable, and timely? i read an article the other day comparing toronto's subway with chicago's (two cities of comparable size). toronto's is a cross. chicago's is a multi-pointed stick star.

except for the viva buses, i am widely disappointed. fortunately, i brought my book and i could pretend no one else existed. even the woman who kept touching my arm. gross.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

i'm halfway to fifty

yesterday was my birthday. i both hate and love my birthday. not for getting older, that doesn't bother me yet, but because, and i know some of you aren't going to believe this, i don't actually like being the centre of attention. i mean, when i'm cracking jokes, of course i want people to laugh. but i hate feeling like i am obligating people to be nice to me or to treat me special. (this feeling excludes boyfriends, family and close friends, who are, in every way, obligated to treat me special for the day...and they always come through.)

but birthdays are weird, aren't they? people say that blogging is self-indulgent, but i believe that the birthday is the holiday most guilty of this trait. at least at christmas you also give away presents. but a birthday, its all about one person. at least when we were little we had to throw one heck of a party to get presents. and by we, i mean our parents. wheelies will always have a special place in my heart.

as birthdays go, yesterday was very nice. i have decided that i will keep on having my birthday on a saturday, forever. its just a nicer day to relax on. jarrod was off, i was off, much nicer than say, a monday. we spent the morning figuring out where jarrod's new place of employment was. richmond hill is not far from T.O., but, in terms of having been there before, it made for an interesting jaunt. first of all, the buses are amazing. get this: the bus stops have displays that show you when the next bus will arrive. brilliant. there's nothing worse than waiting when you don't know how long you have to wait for. its kinda like doing push ups. its much easier to do a number of push ups when you can visualize the ending than to not know when you'll get to stop. that's a true story. in tae kwon do, sometimes our teacher wouldn't tell us how many we'd have to do. it was pure terrible torture.

after we scoped out richmond hill, we did a little shopping (it was my birthday!) and then grabbed jeff for an early dinner at reb lobster. i love love love crab legs. i don't remember this ever happening before, but, somehow i couldn't finish all the crab. i had to give some away. it was awful. i kept saying, eat alli eat! and i was just too full. this is why i would never be able to have gastric bypass surgery: i pride myself too much on the sheer volume of food i can put away when i want to. like chugging. i know there's something disgusting about it, but, i just feel so proud of myself. now, my only complaint about red lobster is that they don't give away a free slice of birthday cake. with bills that high, i think everyone should get a piece of cake. just for being there. regardless of birthdays. it would be such a happy place.

these things also made my day:
  • a balloon bouquet from my parents. i like to tell people it came all the way from england, but i suspect balloons don't travel so well. so they're probably torontonians, born and raised. though i think the best part was hearing my mom talk about how she chose them...she knows me too well!
  • a pair of green socks, with little frogs attached to them, from my grammy. i hesitate to wear them in case the frogs fall off. but i'll probably risk it.
  • emails and phone messages from friends and family. although i don't like obligated people to call or email, it sure is nice when they do!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

things i learned while reading reader's digest

  1. the word mendacious means untruthful
  2. you need government permission to commercially produce eggs. you have to buy "quota" (to participate in the system), which works out to about 175 bucks a bird. the high cost keeps many people out of the egg game and leaves a nice monopoly for those who can afford it (under the guise of preserving market equity and protecting farmers from competition)
  3. Carl Leffler, the mathematician behind the popular game 'bingo,' was hired to create unique bingo cards and, according to legend, went crazy after he produced about 6000 of them.
  4. The average lifespan of pets (cats and dogs) has increased by one third over the past decade due to increased vaccinations and better vetrinary care. (and in my personal opinion, a growing penchant to treating an animal like one of the family and a decrease in number of shotguns kept in the house)
  5. the japanese have this word, "katahara itai" to describe the phenomenon of laughing so hard that your stomach hurts. english suuuuucks.
  6. psychopaths enjoy dramatic lying for its own sake
the reason that i choose to sit at the starbucks at st. george and college is that it is close enough to campus for me to still reside on the university of toronto's network. and i get to sit in a coffee shop. i do need an internet connection to complete my indexing (which must must must be done by a week friday!). and i do need coffee to do my work. so, the situation is win-win.

however, i feel like as i've gotten older i've gotten more and more intolerant of other people. let me say this as clearly as possible--other people piss me off. for instance, those people at canada's wonderland, weeks ago, if i think about them too much even now, i can feel my blood starting to boil. i hate when people are inconsiderate. not in the emotional sense, heck, i don't care how you treat the people in your life. you're a stanger. inconsiderate in the inability to recognize that other people exist.

i'm sitting in the comfy chairs. you know, there's two in every starbucks. i am by myself. (working, remember?) but then this middle-aged man sits down in the other chair. and he didn't ask if he could. he's supposed to ask. these chairs are two of a kind. i could have been waiting for someone. they could have been getting a coffee or be in the bathroom. he should have said, "excuse me, is anyone sitting here?" he needn't ask my permission, but he also should put me in the place of having to be "uh, there's someone sitting there." see what i mean?

now, the thing that really pisses me off is that he's one of those rather creepy people. he keeps checking out the young girls, nursing his coffee. i hate when people do that. its just so...dated. get on the internet already! they don't care if you look!

other than that though, starbucks is pretty boring today. so, at least he's providing a little entertainment. he's not in the league of full body suit girl (i miss her), but who is?

Monday, July 17, 2006

when i should working, i am reading...

i spend a lot of time browsing the internet. i work from home. what can i say? my reward for doing a good half hours work is to read a blog. i set up a bloglines account, which i thought would streamline my blog reading, but i found that i missed reading blogs in their natural environment. every blogger creates their own space and somehow, it makes a difference. (if you've not seen bloglines, its basically just a text file. not pretty.) because these blogs are essential to amusing me during the day (when my boyfriend and room mates are not home to amuse), i thought i would share my favourite ones. now, these are not the blogs of my friends. those are my favourites, of course of course of course. i mean, i check those everyday. and not just because i might be mentionned, but because, my friends are creative, hilarious, good people. even my mom keeps a blog (she's "A Bowmanvillain Abroad," in the links section there to the right). and i love that too, because as i've grown up, as i think is rather normal, i've realized that my mom is not just my mom, but also...ready?...her own person. you don't really get to see that as a kid, but, as an adult, i love getting that little look into her life. plus, she lives in england, so she has some really great stories.

so, here's my favourites (but in no particular order):

I am, therefore I date: written by a young woman in new york. i started reading way back when she was just a single girl having a whole lotta fun, now, she's leaving new york for washington. a new job, a new boyfriend, a new future. this process (though she doesn't write as often as she used to) is something that is especially interesting to me. how often do you get to hear about this? as young women who value our careers and our friends, it is often difficult to navigate the role we want our significant others to play in our priorities. roxy naviagtes these with us, setting an example that is very human. i enjoy reading...even if the sex has almost disappeared!

Why don't we get drunk and blog?: i am about to betray my gender...i think boys are funnier than girls. i think male comedians are funny. I think female comedians are not. of course, there are exceptions (myself? absolutely!). but for the most part, boys seem to be the ones who can make me pee my pants a little from laughing so hard. i have a very strong background in hilarious male friends (as well as a very amusing boyfriend and little brother). so, i mean, my bar is set pretty high. but dave, who exists for me only as "some guy," is hilarious. and so, since i like hilarious, and although this blog is fairly new to me, i am still really enjoying it.

Spendqueen: okay, this is as close as i get to knowing someone that i am writing about here. she's a friend of a friend. and honestly, she's someone that i hate to love. superficially, her and i are many many miles apart (for instance, she's buying a half million dollar condo...i'm buying microwave popcorn and calling it dinner. okay, not really, but you know what i mean). but every once in a while, she writes in such a vulnerable, yet clever, manner, that i keep on coming back.

This Fish: some blogs i read because they are funny, some blogs i read because i think their life and their choices are interesting, and some blogs i read because they are well-written. my mom calls me a snob, but really, i can read something that is poorly written with a great story and something that is well written but has a poor story. if it has both, i'll treasure and love it forever. hence, i love this blog. (but not as much as the book thief. huh. it says this book is for young readers. i am shocked. its quite detailed. shall i say sophisticated?) heather writes about her life: unlike some others, she doesn't have a gimmick. she keeps readers coming back (and boy does she have readers!) because, well, for all the stuff i just said.

No Sex and the City: as much as i just disparaged gimmicks, this one, though based on such, is one that i approve of. its the only blog i read that is written by more than one person. can you guess? its written by not charlotte, not carrie, not samantha, and not miranda. see? good gimmick. why go to four different blogs, when i can get four at once?

now, of course, i also read the celebrity blogs. and i say of course, because if you have met me once, and this is not something i am proud of, but you'll know. probably because i have said this, "oh, i read somewhere..." which really means "on the superficial today..." its not a very difficult code, but it still makes me feel a little bit like how i think a master's student should feel.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

doin' my part

i love when people find stuff like this.

Check out "My Great Idea" from Why don't we get drunk and blog?

Wednesday, July 12, 2006


i wanted a ginger molasses cookie from starbucks. they are big and soft and coated with a light coating of white sugar.

its been a long day. first of all, i had to get up at ten o'clock this morning. now, remember, its all relative. i usually work till about midnight, mimicing jarrod's hours, and so i never call it a night before one or two. and i will be the first to admit that i need a lot of sleep. or else i turn into this she-beast that roams the condo until noon. i worked hard today though, had several meetings, and got a lot done.

so i felt like i deserved a cookie.

so, i set off to starbucks. first stop, my regular haunt. nodda. see, this is the thing about starbucks: they are terribly sporadic. it depends on the day, the time, the gods, i don't know, but half of the time they have nothing that i want to eat. today, they had a cookie called "breakfast cookie." now, everyone who knows me knows that i try to stretch all my pastries into breakfast foods, but not even i would try to include a cookie. its probably some kind of granola-trail mix-good-good-for-you cookie. which, in my opinion, isn't actually a cookie as much as something baked in a round shape. that does not a cookie make. a cookie needs chocolate or oatmeal or ginger. ah, right, back to where i started.

now that i had decided that i wanted a cookie, i was getting a cookie. starbucks was not going to limit me to what was simply in that particular display case. there are too many starbucks for that. i headed to the starbucks at the athletic centre. nothing. again. of course, i happened to run into a few friends outside of the starbucks...who of course thought i was a bit off my rocker. they don't know how good the cookies are. of course, it started to rain, adding to both the hilarity and the determination. the only thing that would make this better is if i fell off my bike. but i didn't.

then i went to the starbucks on queen street. third times the charm!

so i bought two. just for good measure.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

"i just wish you didn't know each other"**

my brother and i pride ourselves on being sneaky. it is a pride that is completely not earned, and worse, it is not accurate--we are not sneaky at all. i think we like to think we look sneaky, but mostly, we spend our time looking over our shoulders. its all that damn honesty mom built into while raising us correctly. i'm sure we'll be grateful for it someday. my brother and i also pride ourselves on the number of movies we see. if its playing on the big screen and if i have the evening free, i'm all about seeing it and jeff usually has his shoes on by the fourth word of "what are you doing tonight? movie?" but, i have to admit, i hate paying fifteen dollars to see a movie. i also hate having to pay fifteen dollars for popcorn and a pop if i want something to snack on while seeing said movie. i often leave thinking, thirty bucks? for what? and the urge to beat the system grow and fermented, and, eventually, bloomed.

i hope you can see where this is going. yes, jeff and i have combined our sneakiness and our love of movies. really, its all AMC's fault. growing up, the process was this: you bought a ticket for one movie. you hand ticket to ticket guy. you enter the hallway that led to the one theatre that was showing your movie. they don't make 'em like they used to anymore. now, the megaplexes have no time for this one screen, one ticket holder business. suddenly, one ticket granted you access to five, ten, even fifteen or twenty movies. and, once you were in, they never looked at you twice. i have been known to see three movies in one day. its not something that i am proud of, but it has happened. in my defense, why would you leave? there's toilets and pop and so many movies.

on sunday, we saw two of them. its been a dry summer, but i think things are picking up. a scanner darkly, for jarrod, and pirates of the caribbean, for me and jeff. jarrod didn't quite make it through the second movie (thus suggesting that not everyone likes to sit in one place for seven hours) unlike the AMC, this was a slightly smaller theatre. and we had to kill quite a bit of time in between. and the lobby wasn't all that busy. but then we noticed something, something that makes me think that they intend for you to stay for more than one movie. varsity theatres has a little cafe. you can buy beer, coffee, snacks...all rather lingering refreshment breaks, if you ask me. perfect for killing time. i have to say, my cafe mocha was much less expensive than the price of another movie ticket. and much more relaxing too. (i have heard that theatres make their money not on ticket sakes but on concession sales--to this, i say to you, movie theatre owners, why not embrace the multi-movie phenomenon? put up signs! encourage us to stay!)

of course, to avoid being too obvious in an uncrowded theatre lobby, we slipped into another movie to kill time. thus, really, i saw two and a quarter movies. and i swear, i almost had to drag jeff by the shirt out of the devil wears prada.

**the quote refers to a family dinner a few years ago. it was after a hockey game, so jeff and i did not see each other very often. i think leanne and julia t. were around as well, so jeff and i were probably putting on a show, as we are wont to do. after some particularily crude remark, dad muttered, to everyone but jeff and i, "i love my children dearly. i just wish they didn't know each other." its right up there with "this is NOT a good idea!" but, that's another quote for another post.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

words unread

i read postsecret pretty religiously. as in, its pretty much the first thing that i do when i wake up on sunday mornings. its a little like christmas, except without the santa claus and presents. but with all the touching moments. this one, in particular, struck a chord with me.

why? because its true. when someone hurts us, or even when we just feel hurt, we find it hard to accept. we see answers to questions, explanations, and even, closure (which, due to sit-coms, has been given a rather bad reputation lately). and yet, we get to the point where we can't say how much we hurt to the person that hurt us anymore. because they've moved on, because we should have moved on, because...for a million reasons. i think even because we shouldn't care anymore but because we just...can' do you think that she still loves him? (it seems like a girl to me. but maybe just because i empathize with the author. and you know, i'm a girl.) does she write to him, even though he won't hear because she can't help herself? because she still is hurting? maybe even, because she won't let him know that she still hurts because that will give him still power over her. and its a small but satisfying revenge to at least hold something back.

i am not proud of being a dweller. or a worrier. or a planner. but i am all of these things, perhaps even to the extreme. (i've been called manipulative, but i have decided to reject that particular label.) when the person i first said "i love you" to broke up with me, i'll admit it, i wrote letters. or emails. and i sent them. and then, time passed. life went on. some of the hurt went away. then all of the hurt went away. but every once in a while, and here's deep dark secret, i get this pang in my stomach. and i find myself wanting to speak with him. to really speak with him. i have a friend that makes me feel this way too. we were room mates in fourth year. and even though we said terrible horrible things to each other (and i think we truly meant them), i find myself, now that time has passed, wanting to write to her, to say sorry, to that there were more good times than bad, and that really, all i want is friendship in this life. i want to speak with her too.

i wonder if many people do this. write letters that aren't sent. some, i am sure, should not be sent. but perhaps, some should be. the ones that say, i am sorry. that say, i still love you. that say, that was a mistake. to say, you are special to me. letters that are so true to the heart that one cannot send them. so i will confess: if you know me, and we've had some kind of disagreement, some of falling out, the chances are very great that i have written you a letter that i have not sent. i always thought that getting older meant that you learned how to forge and maintain relationships. it doesn't. its like the solar system: people rotate around you through life, getting closer, going farther. there's nothing you can do--its natural. things wax and wane, some explode, some burn out, some collide and make something new. (okay, i am done with the universe analogy. sorry.) are we supposed to just take what we can get? to leave things up to chance? i have no idea. some people stay, some people leave. and some people leave even though you dont, dont, want them to. and so we write them letters, that go unsent, not because we want to make them come back, because we don't have that kind of power, but because we are sad and sorry and because we still think of them, even if we won't admit that we do.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006


okay, i tried posting a comment today. and i failed the "word verify" test. and i failed it because, even though i am a literate person with several years of education, i cannot identify six letters when they are all scrambly like that. i hope this happens to other people. but i am afraid it does not.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

i am still impressed with the internet

well, turns out this summer working from home is going a whole heck of a lot better than last summer. first of all, i have a nicely defined position: i have a binder. i have a bunch of images. i need to make them navigable. i can do that.

of course, i do need to do some background work. which really, has led to a whole bunch of neat things. first of all, all you writers out there, WordNet. Basically an online thesaurus, it'll really help me when it comes to assigning key words to images. my vocabulary may be a little above average but it certainly is no match for this web site.

i also found an ongoing indexing project, Flamenco. I think that i will incorporate this search interface into the finished project because it gives a great overview as to what is actually included in a database. it also prevents dead ends and dead links. plus, you can easily add to it.

wow, this might be my first "librarian" related post since i had to do so for class work. maybe it won't even be the last.