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Nov. 13th, 2008

Because I need to take partial credit....

Hallo there, this is me, still existing. I had a moment of inspiration earlier this evening: what if we could teach all first-year university classes with reference to The Princess Bride? It led to the following awesome conversation with my dear friend katydidinoz :


semantics: The word 'inconceivable'. Discuss

Biology: what, precisely, is the difference between "mostly dead" and "all dead"?

Religious studies - is revenge an acceptable motivation for the invocation of miracles? why or why not? does chocolate coating mitigate your decision?

History: the noble pursuit of war-mongering. Discuss

Engineering: design a method for storming a castle. your assets include his smarts, inigo's steel, fezzik's strength. oh, and a holocaust cloak.

Zoology: the connection between vocal sounds and the type of prey in the eating habits of shrieking eels. Discuss

Mythology: rodents of unusual size. do they really exist? discuss

Geography: Cliffs of insanity as an example of continental drift. Discuss

English: the good parts version - is it?

PE: Fezzik's way is not very sportsman like. Discuss

Labour studies - how did class limit farmboy's options? was buttercup's exploitation a contributing factor in his high-risk job selection?

Economics: there's not a lot of money in revenge. discuss

Psychology: torture - no one withstands the machine. discuss.

Math: describe using a visual graph of your choice, the ratio of kissing to other activities. Does this, in fact, make this a kissing book?
 
Suggest more! It's too much fun to resist!

Oct. 24th, 2007

Moment of Awesome

I will briefly rear my head in this space to make note of a moment of child-based awesome I just overheard at the laundromat.

A mother was trying to deal with loading the washer and keep four very active boys (none older than about six) under some semblance of control.

Mom to one of the older boys: Stop arguing!
Boy: I'm not arguing, I'm getting ANGRY!

Man, if only adults understood the difference. :)

Sep. 12th, 2007

(Stolen) thought for the day

"It's always darkest right before you get clobbered in the head with a pipe wrench. But then it actually does get darker."

Sep. 9th, 2007

On Drama

I know I wrote this on this journal at some point, but damned if I can figure out where, so...

Back when I was a less healthy person, I used to actively cultivate drama. I didn't realize that's what I was doing, but it was. I thrived on drama, partially because drama and crisis were familiar, and I could act on adrenaline. Over the past few years, as I've been doing a lot of work to pull myself together, to choose a different path for my life, I've recognized the destructiveness of this pattern. I don't know that I ever enjoyed drama perse, but there was certainly a good reason why it was always such a big component of my life.

Now, I actively avoid drama, but the thing is (and I know I've said this on here before) that it seems that drama still thought we could be friends. I could avoid drama all I wanted, but it would seek me out, and it was tough to get rid of it--partially because yes, I knew I was sick of my friendship with drama, but I wasn't entirely the most skilled at laying down the boundaries yet, so even if I wasn't creating it, I wasn't that great at getting out of its way. But see, I'm getting better at that as well.

So drama has upped its pursuit. This is different. And I think drama is really enjoying the way that this time, it caught me completely and totally off my guard. It wins this round by rather a wide margin, and I'm going to have to seriously coach my defense on how to avoid being completely blindsided.

You know that scene in Buffy Season 6 where Riley comes back into town and they've heard nothing from each other in like a year and a half? He says something like "We'll have to take time to catch up--I have so much to tell you" and she replies "Did you die?" He Rileys "No". She turns away and says cutely "I'm gonna win".

I pretty much always win. Seriously, even if it's been like, two weeks since I've seen somebody, the conversation almost invariably starts with me asking what's new with them, hearing "Not much" and then the reciprocal much longer narrative from me.

I think this may be the only time in my life I've ever said that I'm sick of winning. But I'm sick of winning.

Sep. 8th, 2007

New feature

First of all--for those of you who have, by various means, caught on that I've been something of a train wreck these past several days, thanks for your support. All of a sudden, I'm in a much better place than I was. The result has not been anywhere close to what I would have expected or hoped, but things are better.

Oh, and I'm so totally not leaving Hamilton at all, but as per usual, so it goes. Alberta hates me anyway.

But on a lighter note, consider this the first record of me documenting another random thing that amuses me--sentences used in actual conversation that will never come up again. You know, because the combinatorial potential of language is awesome and hilarious, and things that make no sense out of context just help with the smiling and the coping.

Said last night in my apartment:

"We need to think of a good reason why we hate golf, so we can put a big word on the egg"

(in this case actually, I think the story makes it even better, but it can't be told right now)

Sep. 6th, 2007

Stealing Thursday Thirteens

katydidinoz has done a couple of "Thursday Thirteen" lists, and today's included "Thirteen things that make [her] happy". Since right now, it's Thursday and it really couldn't hurt to remind myself of thirteen happinesses, I'm grabbing onto this lovely alliterative distracting meminess.

  1. Inventing words ('meminess' just reminded me of that). I regularly joke that this is what a Master's degree in linguistics comes with--license to make up words. My proudest recent use of said trade license comes in the form of the word 'fauxfound'.
  2. Being fauxfound. 'Fauxfound' refers to sarcastically and self-mockingly drawing elaborate metaphorical connections relating to life, the universe and everything from the most tenuous or convoluted of strands (I can never think of any good examples when I describe this, but trust me, I do it all the time, and it makes me laugh in this unbearably geeky way). A bonus is that in brainstorming the invention of this word, one of the lovely young men who helped me pointed out that adding a French portion to it in such an obviously bullshit way makes the word fauxfound in itself, and therefore "meta-fauxfound".
  3. Geeky media, particularly anything which makes extensive use of metaphor, either thinly veiled (Star Trek, Buffy) or elaborately and elegantly constructed (I was discussing the season finale of BSG yesterday for the first time in ages, and was suddenly reminded of layers of awesomeness that nearly eradicate all other forms of awesomeness).
  4. Friends, specifically forgiving ones. To be frank, that's pretty much all of them, but some more than others.
  5. Singing. I always say that I sing terribly (and I think that used to be absolutely true), but I've gotten better over the years and, while not really ready for public consumption, I've gotten to the point that, far from causing me pain to hear myself, I actually enjoy both the release and the sound of it. And damn can I let out a lot of overwrought emotion via song.
  6. Overwrought emotion music. I realized a while ago that a common thread underlying a lot of my taste is that I really like media that is unafraid to say big things and express huge feelings, whether it has to do it through a filter or not (as with something like BSG that has the freedom to make major political points, and score huge emotional impact, precisely because it's sci-fi and isn't doing it directly). This is also the source of my love of musical theatre--the suspension of disbelief required to accept that they'll just burst into song in an instant is enough for me to break the cynicism that would otherwise me prevent me from appreciating the oft-clichéd emotions being expressed.
  7. Church. I don't always 'like' Christianity, and I certainly don't believe every aspect of what's being told, but I love being in church, partially because of the big emotion music we tend to use. Also because I can't imagine having found a church more perfect for me than St John's, and I am constantly filled with nearly overwhelming warmth to think of the people and the presence there.
  8. Random expressions of love and affection, both giving and getting. The smallest things that say the most about the ways in which one is thinking about another person. Example one: I just found a card that Erin made for me in first or second year university, homemade via computer, absolutely hilarious and given because I was clearly upset or sick, though I can't for the life of me remember in what way (which also ups the thoughtfulness quotient in my mind, because it's not like during that time I had some sort of horrendous illness or heart surgery that would make people auto-pilot their way to buying me flowers or whatever). Example two: when, back in April, dan_the_tax_man phoned me at work, not having actually spoken in years, and presumably having googled me to find that number, but wanting to make a point to ask what was up on a couple of levels. So unbelievably sweet.
  9. Coffee. Because it is the lifeforce without which I would be constantly a mere shell of a human being, because it gives structure to my morning and forces me to sit, sip, read and appreciate, and because it is a wonderful beverage over which to socialize (I don't drink, and you can't just ask someone to go for a Pepsi, you know?)
  10. Books. Having the energy and attention span to read them, holding paper in my hands, having them on my shelf, learning about other people by checking out their bookshelves...books in their physical and metaphysical form. Just books.
  11. Being childlike. Finding the greatest statements of depth in the Muppets, the Fraggles, Winnie-the-Pooh, silly jokes, giggling, whatever. Getting to the point that I can experience that joy.
  12. Being barefoot. I regularly joke (fauxfoundly, actually) that my surname (sounding as it does an awful lot like "Shoeless") has become a self-fulfilling prophecy, but I really do love going without shoes--it makes me feel grounded, connected, liberated. Such a simple thing, and it's indescribable how much happier it can make me when I'm in the space for it.
  13. Looking back at past events (well, lately, anyway). I get to recognize just how far I've come, see signs of strength and growth, get nostalgic, be generally appreciative of my life.
It's funny--I wrote "coffee" because I was just on my way out the door to meet Erin for coffee, and then I came back to finish the list. But my mood and mental state clearly shifted over the course of that coffee date, and the remaining items on the list come from a radically different definition of 'happy'. Sometimes we're aiming for serenity, sometimes we're just grasping for the string.

Aug. 21st, 2007

Just dropping by to say hello

Sometimes, my life gets really really complicated, really really fast. This time, it's pretty much in an all good, if entirely unexpected and more than a little bit scary, way. But...complicated.

So, as a distraction, some random moments of blatant misogyny that managed to surprise even my bitter, hardened self*.

Example the first: I was in Toronto this weekend and went to a discussion-thing at U of T. I spent the hour and a half I was in this 8th floor room looking out the window at an enormous--like, the entire side of the multi-story building across the street--vertical banner ad for Oh Henry that said
   "Success requires brains, hard work and nuts"
Well, at least they're spelling it out for us.

Example the second: I've mentioned that I seem to get a lot of street harassment in general, but the general routine is that these things abate when I'm in the presence of a male, particularly one who appears to be asserting his possession of me already (I hope you're all recognizing the generalized sarcasm there). So I continue to run over in my mind an incident from a few weeks ago, when I was enjoying a goodbye kiss after a morning coffee date and a guy walking by said
"Atsa boy. Own it."
On the plus side, at least he was being absolutely honest about what he was doing, rather than couching it even a little in terms of being some kind of 'compliment' to me (he would probably have disagreed). It's almost comforting to be able to point out "See, this guy is clearly a) objectifying me ('it') and b) asserting patriarchal possession over my public existence ('own')". Saying it all with two words--I have to appreciate that kind of conciseness.

Neither of these incidents is noteworthy for its heinousness. Honestly, what strikes me most about them is just their flat-out, on the surface, unapologetic attitude. Seriously--sometimes it's nice not to have to explain to others the underlying misogyny in a statement.

The latter incident has me thinking about a pattern of sideswipe-harrassment/objectification. I was going to say initially I didn't think I'd ever been put in my place in that way via a partner, and then realized just how many times I'd been out with a boyfriend and been introduced to someone, only to have that person comment on my attractiveness to the boyfriend in some form of congratulations or whatnot. And see, here again we see the benefit and generosity inherent in the conciseness--now I have a new category of things to look back on and be pissed off about. Fun!

*Also because noting that things are going well is apparently, in general, just too much for me to deal with for too long. I'll be cheery again soon, don't worry.

Aug. 9th, 2007

How do I deconstruct thee...

Be Yourselves, Girls, Order the Rib-Eye.

Not really much need, it's pretty much all there in the title, but: when did we actually start actively convincing women that "being ourselves" really meant "behaving against stereotype, but doing it because men will like it better"? Apparently, being a vegetarian says I'm neurotic, pretentious, not down-to-earth and weight obsessed (three out of four may be fairly accurate there, but that's really beside the point). Some rigourous analysis has gone into the semiotics of meal choice here, and it seems to occur to no one that sometimes a salad is just a salad.  (Also: there's a reference to a $60 hamburger. What the fuck is anyone doing with a $60 hamburger? No, seriously. Inquiring minds and all that).

Aug. 8th, 2007

Sarah might actually be happy

I've been a little less than internet active lately, and that's been a really good thing for me.

Being the kind of reflective person that I am, I look back on regularly on the changes that have happened to me over the past year or so, and this past weekend was no exception. For those of you who don't actually see me in person, and perhaps never have, I don't know how apparent a lot of this is, but damn is my world different now, from the inside out.

I've been gradually becoming more engaged with the world again (if I get time, I have a post in mind about some struggles I'm having with active community involvement, but they're not motivation on my part). Maybe 18 months ago, I sat on my couch a lot. I watched hours and hours on end of television, not because I really enjoyed it, but because I was numb. As I started feeling better, I upgraded from television to the internet. For me, this was an upgrade, in that it required an increased sense of involvement and giving a damn. The further upgrade was when I started blogging more and more, because of the obvious increase in involvement there. I'm at the point of now having upgraded to actually wanting, above and beyond anything else, to be around *people*. I'm feeling actual energy. I have trouble sitting down and watching television for even a couple of hours, not because I'm antsy or anxious, but because I'm just not feeling joyful doing it.

For God's sake, I get up at 5:30 and enjoy it.

I don't know who this person is, really, either. But I think she's kind of...happy.

Jul. 26th, 2007

Canadian Sicko

Well, apparently I'm getting requests as to what to write about, in response to allusions. Fair warning: not so much on the sleeping last night, so articulate might not so much be my thing this morning.

The allusion to something I was going to write about, a few posts ago, was Michael Moore and this new movie "Sicko". I hesitate to criticize Moore, because honestly, it seems like the "in" thing to do among people who are kind of getting leftier-than-thou, but I do think his approach is really problematic. Now, I haven't seen Sicko, so anything I'm saying about it is based mainly on the copious numbers of blog entries and publicity I've seen on the subject.

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