Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Summer fruit!! Cure what ails ya.

I made Pad Thai for supper on Sunday, and I don't want to talk about it very much because just thinking about it makes me want to throw up in my mouth a little bit, but it was with a sauce I got from Superstore that smelled a little dodgy, and some suspiciously cheap shrimp. Suffice it to say that it gave me and Joel both a little bit of a stomach bug.

So I was doing a little barfy mcbarf Monday morning, having forgotten that I'd had a handful of blackberries an hour or so before, and wondering if I was puking up blood (scary! gross! informative!), and mourning, because Joel and I were going into Burnaby for my mom's birthday, and there would be chicken wings. So I didn't eat anything for the rest of the day, hoping that loads of water and some sweet Cultus Lake sunning would purge my system. (As an aside, on the way back from Cultus we stopped at one of the innumerable fruit barns because I'd been asked to bring a salad. Joel laughed when he found out that my salad was corn. H'anyways, the two girls that I was with bought a $5 little basket of blackberries. BLACKBERRIES! Why, I asked, would you spend money on blackberries when you can pick them for free IN THE DITCH! EVERY DITCH!)

So we made it into Burnaby, and I was able to gorge myself on chicken wings and corn, and this tomato salad my sister had made which reeked of vinegar but tasted fabulous, and my brother had bought two blueberry pies from White Spot. Now, I don't know of anything good to come out of White Spot except for these pies, but MAN! It's less a pie, and more a crust filled with fresh blueberries that have been tossed in a bit of a glaze. Nummmm. And because it's (almost) all fruit, and because seven people go into two pies 1/4 times, we each ate ourselves a quarter of a pie without batting an eyelash.

Today I bought ten pounds of blueberries, which I am going to (mostly) freeze, along with the four pounds of cherries I bought yesterday, and the pound of raspberries. I am also going to give myself the runs.

Gorge yourselves, friends. Summer fruit season is almost over, and then you'll be returned to your mediocre apples and oranges, and ill-fated Asian experimental dishes.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

A litany

Hey folks, sorry about the no-post yesterday. I can't even say I was busy. In fact, I would be hard-pressed to come up with one solid thing that I did yesterday. I seem to remember working on a paper, but that could have been Monday. Or June.

So, um, things that happened to me today:

- One of my classes started ten minutes late and ended an hour and a half early. Zoot!

- One of my classes started three minutes early and ended ten minutes late. Boo-urns.

- I met the vaguest woman in the world, and hey! She's teaching the latter half of my one really hard class! Awesome! She's one of those people who gives you quizzes with all kinds of random questions that you can't, for the life of you, puzzle out, and then tells you that psyche!* She hasn't actually taught you any of this yet, and this was just a practice quiz. How stressful.

- I got a paper back that it actually gave me the sweaty-palms to think about, because this prof is super-intellectual and intimidating, and you can tell that he secretly hates Christians and he'd never come out and say it, but he'd imply it hand-over-fist, and I think he also secretly suspects me of being one, and (what with the only other Christian in the class [that I know of] being this guy), I feel obligated to prove to him that Christian ≠ moron (like that's my job. Like God needs me to defend him). Also, I wrote the paper in totally the wrong frame of mind, and the night before, and so when I went back to proofread it the next morning, I hadn't achieved enough distance to decide objectively if it was really and truly awful, or just fine, and also, I hadn't left myself enough time to do something about it if it was really and truly awful, which I suspected that it was. H'anyways, I got it back this morning and actually did quite well, which makes me feel better overall about my situation in life. Aren't I cool? I will not, however, post it here, because none of you want to read about how a short story you've never read compares and contrasts to a novella you haven't read either. Trust me.

- Joel pinched me on the foot.

- I phoned my prodigal sister, who has returned from the fatlands of South Carolina. We had a lovely chat about the embarassing things we'd done while she was gone. Welcome back to the realm of the only-moderately-obese, mien chatz.

- I had a nap. It was sweet bliss.

- I had a bowl of popcorn for dinner (this may not yet have happened, but rest assured, fair reader, it will).

- I read all of your blogs. Unless you are a lurker, and I don't know you, in which case, make yourself known! I promise, I will read your blog. I am a flagrant blog-reader. I spend more time on the computer than I do sleeping, and I spend more of that time doing things that aren't school.

Engrossing, non? This is why I do not blog about my day more often.

*May not have used exact wording. Intent was, however, very obviously that of the late-80's prankster.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Because I'm a bad person, and these are the things I think about when I'm supposed to be studying

Ok, it’s Make Fun of People I Hardly Know time.

There’s this fellow in my one class with carefully-sculpted facial hair and a tanlines too sharply delineated to be believed. He’s that guy who’s desperate for the prof to notice him, notice how smart and insightful he is, how vast his life experience. The guy who full-body nods when the prof is like, 'Has anyone ever been to Peru/ridden one of those mechancial bulls/eaten daisies?' I mean, I'm all for aligning myself with the Charles In Charge, laughing at their jokes, putting in my two cents when I think I have something to say so that I'll get my 10% participation mark. I understand that once you've made yourself the Golden Child, you can pretty much do no wrong when it comes to most professors, and you can kick back and enjoy the rest of your semester. But when every question propels your hand into the air for its crazy-wave of desperation, when half the things that come out of your mouth begin with 'This one time I/in my experience/I know this guy who' (which all roughly translate as 'I promise this will tie loosely into the discussion somewhere, and will also make me look really, really cool'), when even a BookNerd McKeener like me is giving you the old fisheye, it is time to get yourself some blasé. And a hobby.

Monday, July 23, 2007

For your time-killing pleasure

Hey there folks. Anyone want to hear about how I spent the day writing another paper? No? That's ok. I have some other fun treats for you to liven up this rainy day.

Let's start it off with some top ten lists. Not, like, the top ten things you would do before you died, or the top ten reasons pugs are funny. Hows about the top ten cheesiest soundtrack singles of all time? Hilarious, non? Or how about this, the top ten greatest advancements in fast food? I'm not even joking. Or the top ten most fascinating urinals? My favorite is the one in Stockholm. I bet it feels like you're watering those plants.

Had enough? Let's talk about the English for a while. English people are hilarious. Did I ever tell you about my friends, Hannah and Martin, that I met in Thailand? They were English, and, being such, hilarious. They taught me many interesting facts, such as how the Queen owns all the swans, how 'pants' are those little things you wear under your 'trousers,' and how all red-haired, freckled people (aka 'gingers') ought to be mercilessly teased and ostracized. I didn't believe that last bit, because that's a whole new brand of crazy, but I have since then uncovered incontrovertable cyber-proof. Here, evidence of a ginger-safe house, evidentally necessary to protect them from this kind of scorn. Aren't the English stark raving mad?

Ok, tired of my top-ten lists and Anglo-bashing, but still have some time to kill? Upload a picture of yourself here, and give it a moustache! You can trim said moustache, wax it, toss some tonic on it to make it grow, give it a little shave-y mc-shave. Splendid. And, apparently, here, you can upload a picture of yourself and they'll Simpsonize it for you. My picture's been 'uploading' for ten minutes, and so far no dice. False promises crush my spirit.

In a last bid to make you feel better about yourselves before you go on about your day, go here and check out some celebrities reverse-air-brushed. That's right, they're made to look MORE normal! More like you and me! Less like skeletons with great hair. I feel more attractive already.


Sunday, July 22, 2007

About two films

So, I was watching 'Marie Antoinette,' the one with Kirsten Dunst that was supposed to have all the great costumes and stuff. And it really did. I spent the whole movie thinking 'Geez, she looks great in that. I wish I could wear fabulous ruffled dresses and foot-long feathers in my hair and not be hauled off to the crazy house.' But I totally hate her as an actress, and her teeth are fangy, and the film couldn't decide if it wanted to be set back in the day, but have them talk all modern-y (a la A Knight's Tale) or be set in modern times and have them talk all medival (like the last Romeo and Juliet, what with their calling 'swords' what are clearly guns) and so she kept saying things like 'hanging out' but then she'd have these awful, pompous, faux-Shakespearean lines, and then she didn't even get beheaded at the end! This is MARIE ANTOINETTE, people. She of 'Let them eat cake' fame. Cruel. Heartless. Rich. I wanted a guillotining.

Anyways, so I was watching this and kind of hating it but sort of getting sucked into the awkward story line (she's the princess of Austria, marries the prince of France to formulate an alliance, which can only be done by producing an heir, but her husband is too young/stupid/shy/gay to sleep with her and so months [or weeks, or years...the film was kind of unclear on this] go by without him making a husbandly pass at her. And then her brother has a chat with him and all of a sudden he just 'gets it.' I forget what the rest is about, because problem solved kind of in the middle of the film, and the rest is sort of vague) and then Joel phones and asks what I'm up to, and should he pick up a movie on his way home, and I say YES OH YES BUT NOT MARIE ANTOINETTE BECAUSE I'M ALREADY WATCHING IT AND IT'S BAD! And so he phones from the movie store and says 'Apocalypto?' and I scream some more things in all-caps and he ends up bringing home Word Play, which is a documentary on crossword puzzles. Yes, crossword puzzles. This guy I worked with at Red Robin last year bought me a book on (not of) crossword puzzles called Cruciverbalism of something of that nature, it's on the bookshelf behind me and I'm just that lazy. Anyway, it's pretty awesomely terrible, what with its history of the puzzle and its coverage of the National Crossword Puzzle Competition, which was sort of thrilling because this one guy, see, he came in third every year for the past, like, five years, and once again he's in the top three, and so the top three are up on stage all doing the final puzzle which is on these three huge whiteboards, and they have headphones on so they can't hear anything from the crowd or each other, and their racing and the guy who always comes in third finishes first, and calls 'Done!' and whips off his headphones and the room is silent, and he looks, and he's left two spaces blank because he forgot to go back and look it over and he loses the final and comes in third AGAIN! See? Thrilling. Just like sports.

And then yesterday, because I can't leave even a bad thing unfinished, I watched the rest of M-A, and it was worse than the first half because it didn't have that hilariously awkward what-do-you-do-when-your-sixteen-year-old-husband-doesn't-want-to-have-sex-with-you vibe and, as I mentioned, she didn't get beheaded. Which, I'm pretty sure, happened in real life, and I figure that would be a pretty benchmark moment in your life, and if they're going to make a movie about you, should be included.

I, Rachel Krueger, in my unofficial living e-will, do hereby declare that if I am killed in some exciting or vengeful fashion (by bloodthirsty mob, say) and a film is made to depict my life, I would like to have my unseemly death included in the rendition. Also, I would like to be played by...hey, since I don't know how to make those clever polls everyone is doing these days, let's make this an open comment poll. If they were to make a movie about me and my thrilling, untimely death, who would play me?

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Sometimes, I look at vegetarians, and I think, yeah, they've got it right. Not because of the respect they have for animals. No ma'am, any look into the eyes of a cow will tell you it's too dumb for anything but delicious eating. It's because they're usually gloriously skinny (the vegetarians, not the cows. Cows are fat and eatable). Let's face it, though. If I were a vegetarian, I'd live mostly off of chips and I'd be anemic and they wouldn't accept my blood at the donor clinic.

Anyway, Joel and I (not being vegetarian) but a hunk of cheap ribs from the store. This day marking the third month since our nuptuals, we are celebrating by drownding those ribs in BBQ sauce and making them sit in the slow cooker and think about what they've done. We should have perhaps picked a day to do this when we weren't going to be around all day, because the smell is insufferable. Joel finally gave up and went to the library, but I'm still here surrounded by a nearly tangible BBQ cloud. The smell makes me want to eat things, but if I eat things, then I wont be able to enjoy the true glory of the meat (meat which I just poked with the poking fork, and which is falling off the bone).

The idea of throwing food into a pot and coming back at the end of the day to a prepared meal is right up there with the invention of penicillin. I mean it. We got this fabulous crock pot from Joel's aunt and uncle, and I almost want to write it into my will, I love it so much. If I love it this much now, in decidedly non-crock-pot-y weather (hee hee, potty), think of how much I'll be raving about it in the dreary days of November! Prepare for a number of stew-based posts, world!

The countdown to RIB is 28 minutes. I told Joel that if he wasn't home by four, I'd eat his share. He countered that if I ate his ribs...and then growled around for an appropriate response for a minute before telling me that if I ate his ribs, he'd slice me open and eat mine. Please. They wont even taste good.

Friday, July 20, 2007

What else I did last night

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand I spent close to an hour last night having two different conversations with my sister on Facebook while she sat in a pool hall in South Carolina.

Yes, two conversations. Very efficient. See, we were having a light, airy chat on our walls about how sometimes we're afraid to think about doing things like jumping into skytrain tracks because if we think about them for too long, our subconscious might take over and do it, and then we were having a much more serious conversation about Things That Are None Of Your Business over in the messaging section where other people can't spy on you, and while she was replying to my last message post, I was replying to her last wall post, and so there was no awkward lull where we had to talk to other people or stare around the room or THINK about things. See? Very efficient.

Also, since my sister is a greedy attention-whore (which, we determined last night, has nothing to do with her youngest-child status and everything to do with her genes, since my brother and I are attention-needy-oldest- and middle-children, respectively), here's a photo of her.

That's my hand.

A shameless promotion

Ok, I broke my streak. It was almost a week of solid posts (ok, 4 days) but yesterday I was up at 7:00 to finish a paper, and then I was in class from 10:00 until 7:00, and then I fell asleep while reading a book, so clearly I am in need of a Sabbath (this is what I call Friday's now) of rest and pizza.

Today, however, I would like to bring to your attention one Greg Neufeld. If any of you watch Canadian Idol, you know who I'm talking about, and if you don't you should.

He was on last year's Idol, but we were all on voting vacation the week he sang 'Rocket Man' and he got kicked off. Alas.

This year, Greg is back and better than ever. He has my vote, not only because he's a friend of Joel's, and any friend of Joel's is a friend of mine (unless she's a pretty girl, in which case she is mine enemy), but also because he persistantly sings songs by Jason Mraz, who is my secret boyfriend. Par example, his audition this year, where he sings 'The Remedy.' Fabulous. And then there was this time, when he sang that song by Maroon 5 which I really kind of like even though it reminds me of Red Robin. Crazy awesome. But then this last week, he sang this song by the Killers, which I hate, and I still thought it was amazing.

Ok, so my point is that you should take up watching Canadian Idol on Mondays at 9 (I think) and vote for Greg. You know, even if you don't, maybe Mondays you get acupuncture from 9-10, I don't know, tune in at 9:55 to get the phone # and vote. Vote vote vote. Every week that Greg doesn't get kicked off, you'll feel like you're contributing to a greater good.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

For those of you who read blogs at work and have really boring jobs

Because I am to busy and lazy to blog about something interesting due to the sudden influx of papers that came with me starting two new courses in July, but I would like to extend my 3-day blogging streak into 4, I will allow you all to read this fascinating paper I wrote about how Disney movies teach harmful gender stereotypes to young girls, a position which a) I totally agree with, and b) I will totally disregard when I have my own children, even if they are *shudder* girls, because I grew up on Disney films, and so. will. they.


The fairy tale has no landlord. - Greek saying

The fairy tale has always been at the mercy of the teller. Originally part of the oral storytelling tradition, these stories were manipulated to suit the tastes of both performer and audience. When the infamous brothers Grimm set about gleaning tales and putting them down on paper, even they fell prey to a bit of editing here, some censoring there (Gould 24). Subsequent editions of their Nursery and Household Tales saw incidences of illicit sex and incest disappearing, making the stories more child-friendly, while the violence exacted upon evildoers was intensified in order to reinforce the underlying morals (Tatar, Hard Facts 19). It should come as no surprise, then, that later renderings would be further distorted. The only versions that many story-lovers are familiar with today are those censored by Walt Disney, himself arguably a 20th century Grimm (Gould 24). Few people know, for example, that Cinderella’s sisters cut off parts of their feet to fit them into the slipper, and that a trail of blood and a singing bird let the prince in on the deception (Grimm 221). Or that it was a servant’s stumble, and not “true love’s kiss” that resuscitated Snow White (Grimm 197). Or that the Little Mermaid did not, in fact, marry her prince, but died a sacrificial death (Anderson 76). These adaptations, it could be argued, render narratives that are better suited to a younger audience. However, many of Disney’s changes enhance the tendency of fairy tales to instill unrealistic ideals in children, particularly in young girls.

Fantasy tales have an enormous amount of power over impressionable young minds. The Walt Disney Corporation has frequently come under fire for assaulting children with “saccharine, sexist, and illusionary stereotypes” (Zipes, When Dreams 25). Whether they did so simply as a reflection of popular culture (Wright par. 2) or to deliberately control their audience’s “aesthetic interests and consumer tastes” (Zipes, Happily 91) is debatable, but the power they wield is not. Bruno Bettelheim, in his book “The Use of Enchantment,” argues that fairy tales help children structure their impressions of the world in general and of their lives in particular (45). Given that there is much power in the art of narrative, it is only right to examine some of the elements of these new renditions and their potential effects. Many fairy tales come pre-made with harmful assumptions regarding their heroes and heroines, and, more often than not, Disney’s adaptations intensify the damage done by those implications.

A nearly universal characteristic of fairy tale heroines is their overwhelming physical beauty. Briar Rose (or, Sleeping Beauty) is “so very beautiful that the king could not cease looking on [her] for joy” (Grimm 41). Little Red Riding Hood’s features are such that she is “loved by everyone who look[s] at her” (Grimm 137). Even the obscure Jorinda is “prettier than all the pretty girls that ever were seen before” (Grimm 24). While some heroines meet with disaster through jealous mothers-in-law or incestuous fathers because of their beauty, they are almost exclusively vindicated and rewarded in the end because of their winning smiles and gentle manner. In thirty-one percent of tales, beauty is directly tied to inherent goodness (Baker-Sperry and Grauerholtz 9). The implication is that children who are obedient and kind will also be attractive and successful (Tatar, Hard Facts 30). The Grimm brothers designed their book of tales as a sort of “manual of manners” (Tatar, Hard Facts 19). Charles Perrault, when speaking of fairy tales, commented that “virtue is rewarded everywhere and vice is always punished” (qtd. in Tatar, Off 25). Selflessness and diligence are correlated with physical attractiveness and “happily ever after,” and sloth and malice with ugliness and painful, messy deaths. Beauty was used as a carrot to lure children towards proper behavior.

Disney shifts the focus from virtue versus vice to beauty versus ugliness. By removing many of the challenges faced by the heroines and substituting jaunty woodland helpmates and stirring tunes in their place, beauty is no longer correlated to good behavior. It becomes an end in itself, desirable above all others. Ariel does not spend weeks in intense physical and emotional pain trying to win a man’s love, as Anderson’s Little Mermaid does. Rather, she spends three quick days trying to make herself pretty and appealing enough that a boy will kiss her. In the Grimm’s tale, Snow White accepts laces to tie her stays and a poisoned comb for her hair from her disguised step-mother. These two items both appeal to her vanity, and result in her near death as a result (Sale 41-2). Disney eliminates this clear warning against pride in one’s appearance, since including them would undermine the idea that beauty is eminent.

Once upon a time, beauty was only one facet of a heroine. Charles Perrault’s Cinderella is not described as pretty until the second paragraph of the story, and then, rather off-handedly. The brothers Grimm only happen to mention how attractive “Ashputtel” is (their version of the same tale) when she finally arrives at the ball. Disney’s heroines are certainly generous and good, but their inner beauty is overwhelmed by their tiny waists and shimmering locks. To intensify the effect of such lovely ladies, each heroine is tailored to suit the tastes of her generation. From the plump, bob-haired Snow White of the ‘30s to the lithe, toned Ariel of the ‘90s, from the Marilyn Monroe-with-wings masquerading as Tinker Bell to those comely efforts to embrace multiculturalism: Jasmine, Pocahontas, and Mulan, each female form is lovingly sculpted in the image of modern perfection (Marling pars. 6-8).

Attractive protagonists are a prerequisite for the survival of a tale (Baker-Sperry and Grauerholtz 12). Stories that have been reproduced into the twentieth century reference the good looks of their main characters more than twice as much as those stories who’s players are lovely in character alone (Baker-Sperry and Grauerholtz 11). By choosing to build feature films out of “Cinderella” and “Sleeping Beauty” instead of other classics such as “Hansel and Gretel” and “Little Red Riding Hood,” Disney is reinforcing the Hollywood assumption that the only people worth talking about are the pretty people. A woman must be flawless in both figure and dress before she is worthy of consideration.

Such flawlessness must be both inherent and acquired. Disney’s Cinderella is impeccable from the moment her blue eyes open in the morning, yet the entire first scene of the movie shows her grooming, showering, and slipping into a set of rather fetching “rags.” Large portions of airtime are devoted to preparing a dress for the ball, acquiring accessories, prepping her sisters’ hair and clothes, and prancing about in a shiny white gown (Tatar, Off 138-9). Belle, of Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast,” has an even more elaborate wardrobe. She, likewise, begins the film in something efficient but flattering, only to replace the outfit with a succession of increasingly decadent gowns. Ariel, while undeniably alluring underwater, must be primped and polished for her presentation to the prince. The clear indication is that physical beauty, while essential, must be accompanied by laborious effort and expensive trappings in order to be recognized.

Aside from the hours each heroine (or her singing wardrobe, or her rodent accomplices) spends nurturing her precious beauty, she usually has little else to do besides sweep and dust. Cinderella slaves away for her step-mother and step-sisters, Snow White tidies up after seven full-grown (if short) men, and Belle looks after her absent-minded and cowardly father. Even Sleeping Beauty and Peter Pan’s Wendy engage in mild bouts of servitude. Off-screen, these periods of tribulation act as a catalyst to bring about maturity and growth in the heroine (Gould 24). Onscreen, these housewifely duties are dispatched with no more effort than a song and a wave. Snow White’s helpful woodland friends make short work of the untidy dwarves’ house (a house which, in the Grimm tale, the dwarves are perfectly capable of cleaning themselves) and Cinderella blithely warbles a tune as she scrubs the floors. Housework is not only portrayed as effortless (an assumption that may cause some shock once these films’ young viewers acquire homes of their own) but as the only legitimate occupation for a young woman to engage in. Disney women know their place and do their housewifely duty, biding their time until salvation comes (Zipes, Happily 128).

Flamboyant action has never been the fairy tale heroine’s strong suit, but a certain decisiveness can be found if one looks hard enough. In her article “And She Lived Happily Ever After?” Kay Stone discusses how an alternate view of heroism can shed new light on seemingly-passive protagonists. She argues, truthfully enough, that many heroines do more on their own behalf than they are often given credit for (629). A mutilated girl gains a royal marriage in “The Handless Maiden”. A bereft sister wins her brothers’ freedom through pain and dedication in “The Seven Swans.” Even the tales that Disney has pared down originally show evidence of active women. Grimm’s Cinderella lacks a fairy godmother completely, and it is only through a series of heartfelt actions (requesting the first twig that touches her father’s cap as he returns home, planting that twig on the grave of her mother and watering it with her tears) that she ends up at the ball. Anderson’s Little Mermaid, after she sells her voice for a pair of legs, spends an undisclosed length of time (but certainly much longer than Disney’s three days) walking as though on sharp knives, devoting her life to the prince, and eventually sacrificing herself so that he may live (Anderson 58-78).

Disney’s heroines lack even this semblance of assertiveness. Ariel, whom the majority of young women are more familiar with, also seeks out the witch and buys herself two extra limbs. Once she reaches the surface, however, she sits and simpers, counting on her pretty face and her father’s minion to win her a prince. Aladdin’s feisty Jasmine sets out to escape her wretched, pampered existence, but immediately gets herself into trouble and must be rescued by the titular hero, a theme which continues throughout the flim. Others are not even this daring. The responsibility for their fate is taken out of their hands and placed firmly in the sword-wielding hands of the inevitable Prince Charming (Gould 25). Cinderella remarks that, whatever else her antagonistic family may do to her, “they can’t order [her] to stop dreaming,” and dream she will, until those dreams take handsome human form and whisk her away. Snow White likewise flits about her domestic tasks, convinced that “one day [her] prince will come,” before collapsing into unconsciousness to await him. Sleeping Beauty is completely insensible for much of her adolescence, patiently biding her time as well. Because these “barely alive” heroines (Stone, Things 44) all receive their happy ending, a young girl discovers that “to be happy she must be loved; to be loved she must await love’s coming” (Weigle 36).

Marriage is portrayed as the crowning achievement of a woman’s life. Disney indicates that the ultimate purpose of being beautiful, helpless, and handy with a broom is to win one’s self a man. It is not an immortal soul (the ultimate goal of Anderson’s heroine) that Ariel is pursuing, but a lavish wedding. Snow White does not wrest her life back into her own hands by challenging the queen directly, but allows a man to rescue her so that they may wed. Mooning about her house, waiting for the duke to find her and bring her back to the prince, Cinderella may as well be lying in a coma next to Sleeping Beauty. The prince formerly acted as a symbol that a woman had reached endured her trials faithfully and reached maturity (Gould 25). By removing many of those trials and “strip[ping] the original fairy tale of anything but the romantic trajectory” (Cummins, qtd. in Craven 6), the prince becomes the end to which all means were subjugated

No ordinary man justifies this sort of Herculean, life-long waiting game. No woodcutters, no lackluster royals, and certainly no beasts are worth a second glance. True, Madame de Villeneuve’s Beauty was able to see the good inside the Beast, but Disney’s Beast is so vicious and coarse that there does not seem to be any good in him until Belle force-feeds it to him manners and gentility (Craven 11). Beasts aside, the men to whom these damsels give their hearts in the end are paragons of masculinity and romantic endeavors. Snow White’s prince spends much of the film off-screen, patiently searching for her (Wright par. 33), while Cinderella’s young man sends his vassals on a tireless search of the kingdom in the off chance that they might find her. Sleeping Beauty’s husband-to-be slays a dragon and fights a forest of brambles, and Aladdin overcomes his street-rat origins to become “Prince Ali Ababwa,” a worthy suitor indeed. Some may view this as an encouragement to seek the best in a mate. However, even the best of men could never reach the elusive ideal embodied by Disney’s Prince Charming, and the girls who doggedly expect them to will only suffer for their misplaced optimism.

Unrealistic expectations of life and love are inherent in tales of fantasy. Disney films have done an extremely thorough job of reinforcing some of the more harmful aspects of these stories. Instilling generations of girls with the desperate need to be beautiful and the desire to do little else besides dust a room and catch a man, Disney has all but ignored the great strides towards the empowerment of women since Snow White first pranced onscreen in 1937. It is true that, with “Mulan” and “Pocahontas,” they have made alleged efforts to depict strong women. Since both these women inevitably marry their rescuer, their success is dubious at best (Maio 639). This manipulation may or may not have been intentional; entertainment organizations such as Disney - and the brothers Grimm before them - often simply reflect the values of the societies in which they interact. Other aspects of the media likely deserves more blame in the oppression of young girls. However, as Maria Tatar argues, the fluidity of fairy tales is such that they can and should be told so that “they challenge and resist, rather than simply reproduce, the constructs of a culture” (Tatar, Off 237).

Works Cited

Anderson, Hans Christian. A Treasury of Hans Christian Anderson. Trans. Erik Christian Haugaard. New York: International Collectors Library, 1974.
Baker-Sperry, Lori, and Liz Grauerholtz. “The Pervasiveness and Persistence of the Feminine Beauty Ideal in Children’s Fairy Tales.” Gender & Society 17.5 (2003): 711-726. Sage Journals Online. 15 June 2007 http://gas.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/17/5/711
Behrens, Laurence, Leonard J. Rosen, Jaqueline McLeod Rogers, and Catherine Taylor, eds. Writing & Reading Across the Curriculum. Toronto: Longman, 2003.
Bettelheim, Bruno. The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales. New York: Vintage Books, 1977.
Craven, Allison. “Beauty and the Belles: Discourses of Feminism and Femininity in Disneyland.” European Journal of Women’s Studies 9.2 (2002): 123-142. Sage Journals Online 12 June 2007 http://ejw.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/9/2/123
Gould, Joan. Spinning Straw into Gold: What Fairy Tales Reveal about the Transformations in a Woman’s Life. New York: Random House, 2006. 11 June 2007 http://site.ebrary.com.proxy.ucfv.ca:2048/lib/ucfv/Doc?id=10124968
Grimm, Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm. Fairy Tales. Trans. Edgar Taylor and Marian Edwardes. New York: Random House, 1992.
Maio, Kathi. “Disney’s Dolls.” Behrens 634-639.
Marling, Karal Ann. “Are Disney Movies Really the Devil’s Work?” Culturefront 8.3/4 (Fall 1999): 25-8. HWWilson. 12 June 2007.
Sale, Roger. Fairy Tales and After: From Snow White to E. B. White. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1978.
Stone, Kay. “And She Lived Happily Ever After?” Behrens, 623-630.
---. “Things Walt Disney Never Told Us.” Journal of American Folklore 88.347 (1975): 42-50. JSTOR: Journal Storage. 15 June 2007 http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0021-8715%28197501%2F03%2988%3A347%3C42%3ATWDNTU%3E2.0.CO%3B2-3
Tatar, Maria M. Off With Their Heads! Fairy Tales and the Culture of Childhood. New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1992.
---. The Hard Facts of the Grimms’ Fairy Tales. New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1987. 12 June 2007 http://site.ebrary.com.proxy.ucfv.ca:2048/lib/ucfv/Top?id=10035888&layout=document
Weigle, Marta. Spiders & Spinsters: Women and Mythology. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1982.
Wright, T. M. “Romancing the Tale: Walt Disney’s Adaptation of the Grimm’s ‘Snow White’”. Journal of Popular Film and Television 25 (Fall 1997): 98-108. HWWilson. June 12, 2007. http://vnweb.hwwilsonweb.com/hww/jumpstart.jhtml?recid=0bc05f7a67b1790e9e46204822cf035489000c6ed73372ee66b3503a6eb486f2de1755c624cb2210&fmt=H
Zipes, Jack. Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales, Children, and the Culture Industry. New York: Routledge, 1997.
---. When Dreams Came True: Classic Fairy Tales and Their Tradition. New York: Routledge, 2007.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


September, dearest, if you would kindly click on the blogs found under 'other blogs of people i know' found just to your right, you would quickly find that only three of them have updated since April. That is to say, it's not that I don't love you, it's that I'm LAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAZY. My blog needs a little housecleaning. For the rest of you, go read September's blog. It's like a heart-wrenching novel, only more so, because it's real.

It's like reverse dibs

So, we live in a basement suite, see. And there are lots of spiders. And I'm forever hollering to Joel that I found a spider and can he come and kill it for me. Then this morning...

Joel: Hey babe, I found a spider. Do you want to come and kill it for me?

Me: Not really. That's your job

Joel: Oh. I thought whichever of us found the spider first got to call the other one to come and kill it.

A thorough analysis of my effectiveness as a human being

Jane just did a 'Clean Sweep Assesment' of her life, and challenged all her blog readers to do the same. Since I am one of those faithful readers, and since there are fewer things that I love more than a good self-help tool, especially one with boxes to check off, I nodded my inner Oprah and jumped on board. The idea is that you check off the things that TOTALLY AND COMPLETELY apply to you, no cheating or hedging your bets. Then you work on making the ones that DON'T apply to you DO. They promise 'more energy and vitality...perspective on who you are, where you are, and where you are going,' etc. I buy it. I have copied and pasted the questions, with my answers, here.

Physical environment:

My personal files, papers, and receipts are neatly filed away.
No. They are stacked in piles that are mentally-labelled 'file me,' but I don't think that counts.

My car is in excellent condition. (Doesn't need mechanical work, repairs, cleaning or replacing)
The car is Joel's job, but I'm more than willing to take credit for the fact that it runs. So yes.

My home is clean and tidy. (Vacuumed, wardrobes and drawers organized, desks and tables clear, furniture in good repair; windows clean).
I have to give a 'no' because we've vacuumed twice since we got married, and neither of those times qualifies as 'recently.' Plus, there's toothpaste spray on the mirror, and that's not likely to change any time soon. But I did laundry today.

My appliances, machinery and equipment work well. (Fridge, toaster, lawn mower, water heater, hi-fi etc.).
I just got married and everything I own is new. So yes.

My clothes are all ironed, clean and make me look good. (No creases, piles of washing, torn, out-of-date or ill-fitting clothes).

Refer to two questions ago. Just did laundry. So yes.

My plants and animals are healthy. (Fed, watered, getting light and love).

Have no animals (phew! Dodged that bullet) and plants are all in various stages of 'alive.' So yes.

My bed/bedroom lets me have the best sleep possible. (Firm bed, light, air).

Yes! Oh yes, I love my bed. My massive, luxurious bed which Joel claims is too soft, but isn't, and in which I can starfish myself without touching him or falling off the side.

I live in a house/flat that I love.

Again, many yesses.

I surround myself with beautiful things.

Joel is a beautiful thing. As is my leather chair. And my bookshelves, and my knicknacks and all of my delicious books. And did I mention that my bed is fabulous? Yes.

I live in the geographical location of my choice.

A ten-minute walk from school? A twenty-minute walk from the Walmart? A coffee shop and theater and McD's within spitting distance? Yes.

There is ample and healthy lighting around me.

Each of our (basement suite) rooms has a window (except the bathroom, because, how creepy!) and our front room/kitchen has four lighting options. Yes.

I consistently have adequate time, space and freedom in my life.

I can think of no concrete examples to this vague-ish question, but my gut sense is yes.

Nothing in my environment harms me.

There are spiders, but none have bit me thus far. Yes.

I am not tolerating anything about my home or work environment.

Yes. I am luxuriating.

My work environment is productive and inspiring. (Synergistic, ample tools and resources; no undue pressure).

I'm going to replace 'work' with 'school' and say yes. All my pressure is due.

My computer works very well and fully supports my efforts.

Sadly, no. It has slugged down recently, and it's driving me bats.

My hair is the way I want it.

*Sigh* The answer to this may never be yes.

I back up my hard drive at least monthly.


I surround myself with music which makes my life more enjoyable.

Yes oh yes!

My bed is made daily.

Surprisingly, yes. I have mentioned (twice, I believe) that my bed is fabulous, and this makes it easier to make, because of how much more fabulous it looks when made.

I don't injure myself, fall or bump into things.

No. This, again, may never be true. I am an injurer, faller, and bumper. I am the daughter of a man who could cut himself on a perfectly spherical object, or a feather pillow.

People feel comfortable in my home.

I hope so.

I drink at least 2 liters of water a day.

Yes. Joel is the water-nazi.

I have nothing around the house or in storage that I do not need.

This question makes me glance around awkwardly. I have many things in storage that I am convinced I will need someday, but much of it will be thrown out before it is ever used again. So no.

I am consistently early or easily on time.

Much no.

My Physical Environment total is 17.


I rarely use caffeine. (Chocolate, coffee, colas, tea) less than 3 times per week, total.
*Sigh* We all know this is no.

I rarely eat sugar. (Less than 3 times per week).

I rarely watch television. (Less than 5 hours per week).
Luckily, without cable, TV becomes much less interesting. Yes.

I rarely drink alcohol. (Less than 2 drinks per week)
Alcohol costs $$ and we've drunk all our wedding wine. So yes.

My teeth and gums are healthy. (Have seen dentist in last 6 months).
When I eat chocolate, I can feel it seeping into all my cavities. I have no coverage. No.

My cholesterol is at a healthy level.
Probably yes. I'd bet money on yes.

My blood pressure is at a healthy level.
Again, likely yes.

I have had a complete physical examination within the past 3 years.
Definitely no.

I do not smoke tobacco or other substances.
Yes. Wait...no. This one should have a qualifier too, like, 'I smoke less than two cigars a year' in which case, yes, but it doesn't, so no.

I do not use illegal drugs or misuse prescribed medications.
Yes. We have a medicine cabinet full of T3's, and I haven't touched them

I have had a complete eye examination within the past two years.(Glaucoma check, vision test).
Oh yes. My optometrist is the keenest.

My weight is within my ideal range.
Yes. I am neither too fleshy nor too thin.

My nails are healthy and look good.
I got nail extensions for the wedding, and they peeled off later and now my nails are like parchment. No.

I don't rush or use adrenaline to get the job done.
I definitely DO use adrenaline to get the job done! I don't see how this is bad.

I have a rewarding life beyond my work or profession.
I have no work or profession, so this has to be yes. Even if 'work' is 'school,' very much yes.

I have something to look forward to virtually every day.
I suppose, if I look hard enough, which I don't usually do. So we'll give this a no for now.

I have no habits which are unacceptable to me.
I crack my knuckles, and sometimes my hips and my knees and my wrists and yesterday my shoulder, and I procrastinate and eat fatty things when I'm stressed out and pull out my eyelashes when I'm thinking and get undressed onto the floor instead of into the hamper.

I am aware of the physical or emotional problems or conditions I have, and I am now fully taking care of all of them.
Yes. I have sparkling new contact lenses, bless their squeaky, stain-free hearts.

I consistently have evenings, weekends and holidays off and take at least four weeks of holiday each year.
Very yes. I am covetous of my leisure time.

I have just the right amount of sleep.
No. I sleep waaaaaaaaaaay too much or waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too little.

I use well-made sunglasses.
I sat on my sunglasses. I wear Joel's when he leaves them around the house, but otherwise, no.

I do not suffer.
True. Yes.

I laugh out loud every day.
Also yes. My sister is very funny.

I walk or exercise at least three times per week.
I ran 10k this morning. Yes.

I hear well and protect myself from loud noises / concerts / music.
No. Joel tells me that I'm going to damage my hearing, the way I turn my iPod up so loud. I tell him to stop using my iPod.

My Well-Being total is 13.


I currently save at least 10% of my income.
I have no income. No.

I pay my bills on time.
Yes. Our landlords went out of town for the month, so we paid them for July and August. I feel so rich.

My income source/revenue base is stable and predictable.
I have no income source/revenue.

I know how much I must have to be minimally financially independent and I have a plan to get there.
If 'going to school to get reasonably-well-paying job' counts as a plan, then yes.

I have returned or made-good-on any money I borrowed.
No, Joel and I still owe Jon and Laura $30 from New Years.

I have written agreements and am current with payments to individuals or companies to whom I owe money.
We have no written agreement with Jon and Laura, we just remind them every so often that we owe them $30.

I have 6 months' living expenses in an easily accessible account.
I'd better. Have I mentioned that we neither of us have jobs?

I live on a weekly budget which allows me to save and not suffer.
I don't suffer, but I don't save either. Saving requires income.

All my tax returns have been filed and all my taxes have been paid.
Not just yet, no.

I currently live well, within my means.
Yes. Joel and I are both extremely Mennonite (read: frugal).

I have excellent personal insurance. (Life, accident, disability, medical etc.).
No. If I die, Joel gets all my debt. And my laptop.

My assets (car, home, possessions, treasures) are well-insured.
The car's insured, and we have nothing else worth insuring. Yes.

I have a financial plan for the next year.
It's sketchy and on some loose leaf paper, but yes.

I have no legal clouds hanging over me.
Except my massive student loan.

My will is up-to-date and accurate.
Haven't got one. I only assume that Joel will get my laptop. I know he'll get my debt.

Any parking tickets, alimony or child support are paid and current.
I don't drive or have any children, so yes.

My investments do not keep me awake at night.
They certainly don't.

I know how much I am worth.
Does this mean I know how much money I have? Because I do, and it starts with this sign (-).

I am on a career / professional / business track which is or will soon be financially and personally rewarding.
Not soon. But yes.

My earnings are commensurate with the effort I put into my job.
I have no earnings.

I have no "loose ends" at work.
Unfinished assignments count as 'loose ends,' so no.

I am in relationship with people who can assist in my career/professional development.
I am going to school. I think this applies.

I rarely miss work due to illness.
I have to be vomiting blood to miss school.

I am putting aside enough money each month to reach financial independence.
Again, what's with the savings? I have no income. Everything is 'out-go.'

My earnings outpace inflation, consistently.
Dammit, no.

My Money total is 12.


I have told my parents, in the last 3 months, that I love them.
I must have. Yes.

I get along well with my sibling(s).
Ha ha ha, many yesses.

I get along well with my coworkers/ clients.
'...fellow students.' Yes.

I get along well with my manager/staff.
'...professers.' Yes.

There is no one whom I would dread or feel uncomfortable "bumping into". (In the street, at an airport or party).
I was at a wedding in May where TWO of my ex-boyfriends were in attendance. One was surprisingly pleasant. The other, maddeningly awkward.

I put people first and results second.

I have let go of the relationships which drag me down or damage me. ("Let go" means to end, walk away from, declare complete, no longer be attached to).
Yes. I hope.

I have communicated or attempted to communicate with everyone whom I have hurt, injured or seriously upset, even if it wasn't fully my fault.
Again, I hope so. Anyone have a beef with me?

I do not gossip or talk about others.
Ahhhhhhh, I do.

I have a circle of friends/family who love and appreciate me for who I am, more than just what I do for them.
Yes, yes, yes. SUCH good friends.

I tell people how they can satisfy me.
I tell Joel to empty the dishwasher and tell me my hair looks pretty. Yes.

I am fully caught up with letters and calls.
Emails and Facebookings. Yes.

I always tell the truth, no matter what.
Yes. Is that bragging? I have plenty of other flaws...

I receive enough love from people around me to feel good.
Yes. So much love.

I have fully forgiven those people who have hurt/damaged me, intentional or not.
No. Not yet.

I am a person of his/her word; people can count on me.

I quickly correct miscommunications and misunderstandings when they do occur.
I try. Yes.

I live life on my terms, not by the rules or preferences of others.
Again, I try.

I am complete with past loves or spouses.
I don't understand the question. Yes?

I am aware of my wants and needs and get them taken care of.
Yes. I want chips, and I need to eat them.

I do not judge or criticize others.
Ah, this section is making me feel bad about myself. No.

I do not "take personally" the things that people say to me.
Again, no. I'm the queen of 'taking it personally.' Everything Joel says is somehow a slam in my direction, even when it's not.

I have a best friend or soul-mate.
Joel, babe, I love you.

I make requests rather than complain.
No. Does requesting work? Complaining is so much effort!

I spend time with people who don't try to change me.

My Relationships score is 19. I am awesome at relationships.

My total score is 61 out of 100. I am getting a passing grade in Life. Hurrah.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Like Whack-a-Mole, only with guns.

Our friend Laura's mom lives up in Salmon Arm, and she has a gopher problem. Laura and her husband Jon were headed up there for the weekend before going off on holiday, and cordially invited us along to help do something about the infestation.

I shot a gun. Here's proof.

I did not, however, shoot a gopher, but not for lack of trying. I have, as we all know, bimodal eyes and no depth perception, which translate in to terrible aim.

Joel, on the other hand, proved an admirable marksman.

He shot some 15-odd gophers and a marmot, which we thought at first was the mother of all gophers.

Gophers are a dumb lot. We could get within ten feet of them without startling them off, even after we'd started reducing their numbers. Jon shot at one and missed, and the idiot critter didn't even flinch. He just kept on nibbling his grasses to give Jon time to reload and shoot at him again.

Gopher-huntin' was kept to the late-evening/early-morning due to the excessive monstrous heat (refer to my previous three posts, in which I gripe about the weather). Saturday was devoted to grunting at each other and moving as little as possible. We did venture down to the creek (the three-minute drive was nigh on unbearable) only to find that it was full of lithe, tanned, bikini'd teenagers. How I hate them. However, we were all certain that we'd die if we didn't cool off, and there are few things more enjoyable than ruining the fun of those younger and better-looking than you, so we splashed in with our respectable, ass-covering bathing suits, careless tan-lines, and Laura's seven- and five-year-old nephews. I guess our stodgy old-ness ruined their flirting, so they packed up their boyfriends and left.

Creek to ourselves, we let our crazy out. Jon and Joel jumped off the bridge in to the water. We tried floating downriver on the pokey current. Laura's nephews pretended to drown, and we pretended not to rescue them. It was a riot.

In the evening, Laura's siblings and their attendent spouses came up for a BBQ. Yes, that's right. We not only fired up a BBQ, we built a fire and roasted weiners on it. The weiners tasted oddly like sweat. After dessert, the skies opened up and threw down 18 drops of rain on us. We thought we were being cruelly teased, but later that night, after another round of gopher-erradication, the real and true shower started. Joel and I drove home to that delicious smell that is as a part of summer as nectarines and plastic pools, the smell of rain on hot pavement.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Each to his own beverage cadaver

Joel is on a soda-water kick (I blame the heat), and the other day he remarked, 'Soda water is delicious' to which I replied, 'No. If you refer to my post from Monday, you will see that the statement "Soda water is delicious" is, in fact, a myth and that soda water, in truth, tastes like a soda that has died.' To which he replied, 'Mmmm, soda spirits' and took another gulp.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


I lived in Abbotsford for four years while I was going to school, but I usually went home for the summer. The only summer I spent here, I was locked in a frigid basement classroom for the majority of the day.

So I never knew that the Fraser Valley was a crock pot.

We are in the middle of a heat wave, and there is no breeze off the ocean to help wipe the sweat from our collective brow, because the ocean is way over there. The UCFV campus is like an overbaked tomb. There are no boys playing frisbee and doffing their shirts, no girls laughing and tanning and watching the boys, because everyone who can conceivably be inside IS inside, hiding from this insideous heat. Everyone moves as slowly as possible, as if, by moving quickly, you might combust. It is too hot to cook, too hot to eat anything that isn't chips and salsa or bundt cake, too hot to focus on a grammar textbook.

I wish I were some sort of reverse-ground-hog, and could hibernate until the weather toned it down a bit.

Monday, July 09, 2007

A pleasant diversion

It's time, folks, for a little game I like to call Fact or Myth? Answers to be found below.

1. I blog less frequently because I am now married.

2. I just made a bundt cake.

3. Robyn and I know a lot about monkeys.

4. Soda water is delicious.

5. I have an assignment due tomorrow that I'm not currently doing.

6. I am allergic to the summertime.

1. Myth. I blog less frequently because I am lazy, and because my days consist of 'Did the laundry. Finished an assignment. Read in the sun. Visited landlords. Made bundt cake.'
2. Fact. Bundt cakes are delicious, also fact. Putting zucchini in them makes them a healthy treat, fact as well. Cutting off thin slices makes you thinner, regardless of how many slices you eat. Fact.
3. Myth. Although Robyn and I are both excessively fond of monkeys, PC Jeopardy 2003 has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that we know next to nothing about them. We do, however, know loads about ants, salami, and tents in the Bible.
4. Myth. Soda water tastes like a soda that has had something bad happen to it, or that has died. Soda water is the ghost of real sodas.
5. Fact. If ever you read this statement on a Monday or Wednesday, it will be fact. All other days, it will be myth, if only because I do not have class on the morrow, thus negating the 'due tomorrow' segment of the sentence.
6. Myth. In fact, I am allergic to the spring. Unfortunately, due to the climate crisis, spring was pushed into July this year, and I am paying heavily for it.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

I before E except after C

Hey, does anyone know what a predicate verb is? Anyone? No? What about a subject complement? Corrolative conjunction? Come on. Lurkers? Faithful readers? Does any of this sound familiar to you?

I feel that the public school system has badly failed its students in the area of English grammar. My sister took a communications class last year, and they had a grammar quiz. All the ESL students aced it. All the native English-speakers? Flunked it. Joel bombed high school French because he didn't understand what it meant to conjugate a verb. When I took Greek, our professer had to spend a whole class teaching us about sentence structure, objects and subjects and indefinite articles and the like, just so that he could explain to us what a sentence looked like in Greek.

I just started a class called 'The Structure of the English Language.' We are learning all these things that most twelve-year-olds of yore would have known. We are learning, in part, to diagram sentences thusly:

The girl next to me leans over and says 'From now on, I'm writing all my papers in diagrammed sentences. Twelve-page paper? Two paragraphs.'

After I spent six hours or so today reading about different sentence structures and parts of speech, and after Joel wrote his last midterm (finally), we sat ourselves down to play several drunken rounds of...

It's way more awesome than you think it's going to be. One of you is the Alien, and you're trying to land ships on Earth. The other of you is the Earthling, and you're trying to destroy the Alien ships before they land. It lends itself to a lot of 'Surrender, Earthling!' and 'I'm going to kick your Alien ass!' and 'Bweedledeedledeep!' Particularly when mixed with wine. Joel took this picture, saying 'As long as you're going to blog, you may as well talk about the alien game!'

As though I had nothing better to say. I can diagram sentences.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Not as smart as we think we are.

I own a copy of 'How to Increase Your Word Power.' I have a 'Word of the Day' delivered to my email. I use words like 'fractious' and 'ubiquitous' when I'm talking, and I use them in correct context. I understand the synonyms that I pluck from the thesaurus and plunk in my papers. I read books on punctuation for fun.


The American Heritage Dictionary published a list of 100 words every high school graduate should know. High school graduate. Not double-major-BA-valedictorian-going-back-for-another-BA graduates. High school. Grade 12.

I could define maybe half the words to a nine-year-old (a true test of whether or not you really know what they mean) and could use about three quarters of them in sentences (which only means you've heard them before).




Sometimes I think I need to get out more, but other times I figure I should stay in and read the dictionary. I've got some catching up to do.