Monday, September 28, 2009

no virginia, that wasn't vanilla ice

Today's soundtrack:
"Cheap and Cheerful" by The Kills
"Raygun" by Matthew Good Band

I can barely keep my head up today. It's probably for the best. Sleeping last night was a bit dodgy, as the bed didn't stop spinning until about 9 this morning. My head was made of glass until about noon, when I crawled out of my bed, staggered to the futon, and collapsed. What was the cause of these insults to my delicate constitution?

We christened our apartment last night.

No, not in that way. Pervert. Get your head out of the gutter. We christened it in that we finally had a big party. There's nothing like squeezing 20 people into a tiny room and plying them with beer to make a house feel like a home. Even though we didn't get to do any knitting, I did manage to tell the Canada Research Chair that he was wasting his potential in Computer Science. The looks of absolute horror on the faces of his grad students was all the entertainment I needed. I'm still giggling. It's always good when the faculty has a sense of humour.

In that way, this group is a lot like the HCI crew at the U of S. Sure, there was no one singing in a bad British accent to "Wonderwall" while playing Rock Band, but we did have a good time making Miguel paranoid... although for the life of me, I can't quite remember what we were making him paranoid about. I met more knitters and crocheters, one of whom is now my new BFF (poor girl), and no one complained about the Radiohead-heavy music selection.

However, it's just not quite the same as Saskatoon. First of all, Alberta folk are drinking lightweights. They'd never make it through a Bunker Party. Secondly, all of these people work together professionally, so there isn't the complete and utter disregard for propriety. Also, no one got folded into the futon.

That being said, my new BFF and her lovely although tragically illiterate boyfriend (I mean, honestly, who pronounces Z "zee"?!) didn't leave until after 2am, I'm pretty sure nobody got sick in our bathroom, and the neighbours didn't call the cops. So all in all, a successful night. Once we get these Calgary folk trained up a bit, they should pass for half-decent Saskatoonians... Saskatooners... Saskatoonis?

Saturday, September 12, 2009

we now return you to your regularly scheduled programming

Today's soundtrack:
Begin to Hope by Regina Spektor

First, we've had a bit of a summer. Between weddings, last minute moves to other cities, and seemingly endless days spent hovering over a blank page on my computer, I've completely forgotten both about this blog and my summer list. So let's see how I did:

- Read Wuthering Heights, The Sea, Niebla, The Idiot, Leaves of Grass, Norwegian Wood and The Rainbow. Also, I want to finish Possession and re-read The Divine Comedy. Hmm, that's a somewhat pretentious list, no? Well, you can just suck it, Stephanie Meyer.

Well, I did finish Possession. I also read Wuthering Heights, The Sea, Norwegian Wood and am mostly through The Rainbow. Possession was everything I'd been lead to believe it was. Essentially, a lit student's wet dream. It was fantastic and had references to my comp's reading list almost every chapter. And here I thought I never come across a textual reference to Roderick Random. Wuthering Heights and The Sea should always be read together, especially since it's impossible to understand the depth of the main character's suffering in The Sea and that moment he lashes out, screaming in anger at his dead wife, without having read Heathcliff's shouting out over the moors. I so thoroughly enjoyed these two books that they are now on my Top 5 list of the greatest books I've ever read (along with Dante, Austen, and Sterne).

Murakami, on the other hand, was a complete and utter disappointment after Brontë and Banville. Self-indulgent and repetitive. Nothing shocking or out of the ordinary. Dare I say it? It was boring... although perhaps not as boring as I've heard Atonement is. As for the other books, well I didn't get around to them this summer. In fact, I bought more books (Headline: Kate bought books - Moon also not made of cheese) that may supplant the rest of the books on my list: Don Quixote (in English translation), Not Wanted on the Voyage and The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.

- Go quasi-vegetarian for the summer. Why only quasi? Because giving up eggs, cheese, and milk is just not going to happen people. Also, I might sneak the odd bit of fish. But no red or white meat.


- Make my Ravelry queue, which is finally down to a reasonable size. At the very least, I want to have my Christmas knitting done by the end of August.

Would be done if people would keep their legs together for 5 minutes. I mean, Jesus Murphy people, give a knitter a break!

- Swim continuously for at least 45 minutes, twice a week. That means no more than a 30 second pause to grab water or a flipboard.

Okay, so that didn't happen. I did, however, perfect the fine art of deck slugging up at the Lake. And that takes some serious training and intensive practice.

- Finish a chapter of my dissertation.

Ha! Who was I kidding?

- Be less antisocial.

Only if people stop being idiots.

- Meet Lady J for a day-long coffee.

This only happened once, which makes me sad; however, Lady J was very busy and important with various wedding duties. I reinterate: This is why we eloped!

- Drink a beer at sunset on the roof of the Yard. Drink a beer at sunset at the Lake.

Didn't get up to the Yard for a beer, but did get to the Lake. Besides, there's always next year.

All in all, a nice and relaxing summer to help me recover from the burnout of field exams. As I'm feeling almost sane again, it's obviously time to begin work again in earnest. This time, however, in Calgary - a city which I am extremely ambivalent about. Sure, there's mass transit and an Ikea (woot!), but there's also Hummers and conspicuous consumption of every variety. I've never seen such pretension or entitlement as I've seen walking around the U of C campus. This student body is far removed from the farm kids of U of S and the hippies of Mal U/C. In truth, what this city reminds me of most is my high school, where if you didn't have name brand this and that, you just weren't worth the air you were sucking in.

But it's two years at the most and we're out of here. Away from steaks at every meal, 3 cars in every garage, and Louis Vuitton on every arm. It's true what Peter said in Florence: Too much love and too much money ruins everything.