Thursday, August 30, 2007

PS: Because I am merciful

I will spare you pictures of my sunburnt, blistered, peeling lips, and the stye I developed yesterday and self-operated on this morning, and the piece of skin the kitchen counter took out of my back, and my jaundice-shin.

I do this because I love.

I could have cooked on the kitchen floor

Me dears, I am home. Do not believe the lies of my Facebook status. Internet was rampant at the old Sun Peaks. However, to avoid developing that particular shade of computer-flesh-grey and looking horrible in all my vacation pictures (like this one),
I convinced myself that the wireless was down, and that my blog would just have to wait til I got home (aside: I'm totally faking it in this picture. A hurricane couldn't blow that dandylion apart. Those seed-pods you see floating on the wind? I ripped them out and chucked them right before the picture was taken).

Our vacation was bookended by the Chilliwack Superstore (on the way there to pick up treats and eats, on the way back to re-stock our surly home-cupboards). Massive franchises like Superstore and Walmart are a bit of a head-trip: Every new one is enough the same to make you think you're in your old familiar store, but enough different to feel like you've stepped through some sort of space-time continuum. The Superstore in Chilliwack is laid out exactly like the Superstore in Abbotsford, but they don't carry certain things, like low-fat yogurt, and where the bulk foods should be, there's soda and chips, and I must have stood in front of the cheeses for ten minutes wondering if it could possibly be true, that cheese in Chilliwack only comes in sliced and whiz, before a man with an infant sidled up behind me and whispered, 'Looking for the hard cheeses? They're in back, by the deli' as though a block of mild cheddar were an ounce of cocaine.

Now watch as I switch subjects without a segue....whap-bam! Here I go! Our honeymoon in Mexico was awesome because, come on, we're in Mexico, and you can swim up to the bar. The accomodations were, however, a tad rustic. I knew that Joel had hoped for better, so I was pleased as punch when our Sun Peaks resort (who could go ahead and pay me now for this post, because I am about to rave, except that I can't remember the name of the place...Stone's Throw, or something) looked like this:

Lush, no? What you don't see here is that the entrance-way tiles were heated. As were the tiles in the fully-stocked kitchen (they had a SALAD-SPINNER, people! I never knew drying lettuce could be so much fun! Wheeeee!) and both the bathrooms. And the bathrooms numbered in the both's! We went for a run on Wednesday, and when we got back there was no 'you go shower, I'm going to stretch out for a, you shower, I want to eat, let me shower, I have class in twenty minutes...quit hogging the damn shower, some of us have things to do!' because we could shower in tandem. Also what you don't see here is our flat-screen tv WITH CABLE, and when you don't have cable at home, being able to watch back-to-back episodes of Family Guy is almost as great as having a hot tub and BBQ on your deck. Especially if you've just crawled out of the hot tub on your deck to eat your BBQ'd burgers and watch back-to-back episodes of Family Guy.

And because it was a two-bedroom suite, Joel could practice the song-that-he's-playing-for-his-sister's-wedding-and-that-I-never-want-to-hear-again in one room, and I could read this book

(which is, sadly, not as fabulous as this book,

but was at least long enough to take three days to read) in the other room, or in the living room, or on the patio. And then we could reconvene so that I could Boggle his ass (he cheats, and writes down words that probably aren't words but sound like words, and so I started doing that too, just so that we didn't have to have the 'that isn't a real word' conversation because, word or not, I also had it and we had to cross it out. Nobody gets points) and so that he could cream me at Ticket to Ride and so we could play a long and leisurely game of UFO because, until now, the Earthling has never won. It doesn't matter who plays the Earthling, Alienity always triumphs.

With nothing but time on our hands, this is what we came up with to do: see if it were possible for Joel (hands down the better gamer, and I totally kind of take pride in saying that, because who's the bigger nerd? Not me) to beat me at this game.

He didn't.

Ok, so it's kind of disappointing to walk in my front door and not have heated tiles, and to have to wait my turn to pee, and to go back to eating real meals and not just Mini-Pepperoni-sticks and popsicles, but home is sweet home, and I am more than glad to trade this

in for this.Home is, after all, where your oversized-but-completely-necessary bed is.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Five down...

...three to go.

This has been the summer of weddings. Granted, we started the landslide in late April, but since then three of my friends have tied the knot, and this afternoon Joel's cousin Ryan was joined in holy matrimony to the lovely Emily (her family's British, and their speeches may have been dull, but I couldn't tell, because they were given in British, and I could listen to people read the freakin' phone book in British).

Nothing really awesome happened, I have no really funny stories to tell you. Joel's mom knocked over a glass of wine while gesticulating wildly. It was funny at the time. Um...I wore a cute frock and these darling shoes...yeeeeeeeeeeeah. I'm pretty bagged, y'all. Weddings are exhausting, even if they aren't yours. Maybe especially if they aren't yours, because you aren't buoyed up on all that adrenaline and cocaine. And next weekend, Joel's best friend gets married, and then the weekend after that, his sister gets married, and the weekend after that (I'm not even joking), his other best friend gets married. Then we have a luxurious four-and-a-half months off of buying people presents and mazel tov-ing them until mine own frere gets hisself a wife. Phew.

So, Joel and I are going on a bit of a vaycay, heading out to Sun Peaks for some serious lazing. There's only a week or so left before school, so we have got to relax hard. I'm not sure if they have Internet there...I'm pretty sure they just invented door hinges out that way. Alls that to say you may not hear from me until Thursday. Or if, like, my fingers all get smashed in the new door hinge in some sort of hilarious irony, then maybe ever.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Yesterday I...

- speed-wrote an exam (either meaning that I totally knew my stuff, or that I had no idea and just put 'c' for every answer)

- tubed down the Vedder River (apparently the thing to do on hot days in Chilliwack)

- fell out of my tube and nearly drowned and got my legs smashed up on some rocks

- visited with my in-laws

- locked myself in their door-handle-less bathroom and had to call for my husband to come rescue me

- went to emergency to get my foot x-rayed because suddenly it wouldn't bear my weight (just a bruise, *phew*)

- had an exhausting dream about this guy that I had to stab with an extra-long sword (I forget why, I think he was trying to kill me or something, but he was also a friend of mine, and so I felt bad about having to stab him with an extra-long sword, but he kept not dying and as long as he wasn't dying, I had keep an eye on him, because he was trying to kill me, even though he was my friend AND he was dying, and we would have these extremely civil conversations while he was bleeding everywhere and I was wary and every so often I would have to stab him some more with my extra-long sword and I think he had a knife on him somewhere. Joel and I just watched 'Gangs of New York,' in which many people get stabbed in the midst of a civil conversation, but that was a few days ago, and I've watched 'Tron' and several episodes of 'Scrubs' since then, so if anything, I should be dreaming about hilarious residency or getting sucked into a video game, which, hello, AWEsome. Not stabbing).

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The day before tomorrow

Sorry if you're feeling neglected today, Internet, but I've been spending some quality time with Martha Kolln and Robert Funk.
As of tomorrow noon it is really and truly over, not just mostly over, like it was last week when I handed in my last papers. Until then, I'm sure someone else will talk to you, and they won't be diagramming your sentences in their head at the time.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

A visit to the parentses

Around some people, you can use completely the wrong word, and have them still know what you mean. Like referring to a bumbleberry pie (inexplicably) as a 'battered wife pie,'
and to those little spore/burs that we found on our clothes after picking blackberries for the battered wife pie and stuck to Koala's forehead as 'spurs.'

Some people will buy the deoderant that comes with two Biore Pore Perfect strips, and then let you use one to clean out your nose pores while you both hide your chins with your hands.
Some people can look at you with one eye, and at the camera with the other.

Some people dress you up in too much mascara and then spray water at your face to make it run, all the while saying 'I'm so sorry' because every time you get sprayed in the face, you flinch as though you've been struck. They do this for artsy reasons of their own
but then they also snap photos of you while you're telling a story, wrapped in a plaid blanket, and you end up looking shocked but not altogether displeased at the approach of your own death.

If you are one of these people, I thank you for an entertaining Monday.

Sunday, August 19, 2007


Yesterday being the opening day of the PNE, gate admission was free from 9:00 am til noon. Of course, Joel and I were all over that like fat on bacon. What with the inclement weather, it wasn't as horribly packed as we thought it would be. We excercised about five minutes of restraint before succumbing to the inevetable (YOU know what I'm talking about)...

and then started our program. In previous years, we've missed shows we really wanted to see because we just kind of floated, taking in whatever was closest and happened to be going on at the time we felt like being amused. This year, we mapped out our route on the way in so that we wouldn't miss anything important, like the pig races. Our first stop lead us over to the Family Theater for some Cirque-du-Soliel-esq craziness...

Yes, she is standing on their heads, and yes, they are spinning plates. I said I wasn't going to post these next ones, because they came out all blurry, but I have to (if you go to the PNE at all this year, you need to see the Peking Acrobats). Ok, they're still spinning plates (even if the plates are attatched to the sticks, which, come on, they might be, they still have to hold these sticks upright and shake their wrists the whole time) and now...what the deuce?

She is standing ON HER HEAD AND ALSO ON THE OTHER GIRL'S HEAD!!!! This is madness. Much more madness followed, like this,
and this (they're all on a bike, wheeling around stage), and this, but my favorite (who I didn't take any pictures of because I was distracted by how much I wanted her to get down) was this sweet-looking girl who stacked chairs upon inverted chairs (so that the backrest of one chair sat on the seat of the other chair, and then the next chair balanced its feet on the last chair's feet, and...oh hell, it was precarious) until her head was nearly level with the stage-lights and then she did a couple of handstands and things, but she looked so all alone up there, so high above the crowd, and she would stop once in a while and take a deep breath, as though impressed by her own daring, and I loved her and wanted to take her home.

After that kind of mind-bending lunacy, it was hard for anything to measure up. Luckily, the Iams SuperDogs (who I liked better when they were the Eukanuba SuperDogs) hold undying appeal for me. They played this hilarious game of musical mats where the owners have to try and get their dog on the mat when the music stops, but they aren't allowed to cross the line, so they have to issue commands like 'back up a bit.' Any dog that understands the phrase 'back up,' be he whippet or no, is alright by me.
The motorcross was the same as it's always been, even though it's now called Wheels of Steel and the logo seems to imply some sort of wheelchair racing (there is none), and they've introduced the Globe of Death, which I display for you here...

Yes, two guys on mini-bikes, racing around inside this metal sphere, and not crashing. And THEN, the mom of one of the guys got inside, and they raced around her and reached out and mussed her hair...and caused a screech or two. Pretty alright.

We hit up the Flying Canucks (trampoliners and trick skiers), got trapped by the parade (when we'd go to Disneyland as a family, we'd schedule our whole day around NOT hitting the parade, because you get stuck on one side of that thing, you have to go miles out of your way to get around it) which nearly ran us over with their giant Dora the Explorer (gay), and their massive Strawberry Shortcake (awesome! I had Strawberry Shortcake bedsheets, and my childhood experiences are a thousand times more valid than those of the current generation).

We sat on the REAL Simpsons couch...

and spent two hours in line waiting to get into the magic show to end off our night. We were hoping it would be at least as awesome if not awesomer than the acrobats, but such standards are hard to reach. There was a lot of you-expect-me-to-do-this-one-thing-and-hey-presto! I-have-done-something-else and there was some sub-standard dance filler and the lovely assistant was actually the magician's wife, which is fine, but she was trying hard not to be fifty, and it made me want to egg her. She was pretty good-looking, and could easily have pulled off distinguished and mysterious, but opted for hot-twenty-year-old instead. A shame, really.

Saving $30 on the price of admission makes you feel free to spend $30 on food, which, at the PNE, will just about feed you for the day. I got me an onion-covered long meat from the Sausage Haus...Joel got donair, and later we split a funnel cake...

For dinner we ate at Barnacle Bill's (last year we ate at Hunky Bill's, Barnacle's un-be-eyepatched brother)...

and picked up a McFlurry for the long drive home.

The PNE never fails to excite and amuse, even though all you do all day is wander around and catch free shows (that aren't really free, since you paid to get in, and it's $3.25 for a bottle of coke and $4.00 for a bag of Skittles) and watch demonstrations on a set of knives you will never buy and get your rings cleaned and pet a giant cow and eat a bag of mini-donuts and speculate how long it'll be until someone falls off the Wild Mouse and dies, and will they shut down the ride after that? Somehow, year after year, this seems like a great way to spend your day.

And it always is.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Slothery and fish

Hey everyone, guess what I did today! Come on, it'll be like a game! Not a fun one, like Ticket to Ride, but one of those boring games, like Yahtzee! Oh whatever, it was a trick question anyways. I didn't do a damn thing today. The busyness of the past few weeks, what with all the papers I had to write and the presentations I had to present, and the busyness of the next few weeks, what with all the PNE I have to go to and the visiting with my parents and eating of their food I have to do and the vacation I have to go on, has compelled me to take a personal day, a day in which I don't do a single thing I don't want to do. That's not totally true, because I didn't really want to go to the gym, but when I got home, I left my stinking gym clothes in a pile on the bathroom floor for HOURS before I cleaned them up. And when I woke up, the kitchen was a horrible mess from our steak-abration last night, and IT STILL IS!!! And I haven't eaten anything today that doesn't fit into the tasty treats category (i.e. a bag of jalepeno-flavored popcorn, a pepperoni stick, some sweet things from the freezer, half a bag of Ritz chips, a baked good or two), and I haven't killed the spider on the wall, and I wore sweatpants all day! And not my cute, bum-hugging LuLu Lemon ones neither, but my unflattering saggy grey ones! The ones that say Trees of Mystery down one leg, that my roommate in Austria gave me.
So, having done nothing all day (except walk down to Walmart to buy aforementioned Ritz chips), I will leave you with some pictures of things I did on other days to prove that I get out some.
Here is our burger-run-through, to make sure our habatchi worked and wouldn't blow up our steaks...

And here are our steaks...

And Joel, being several days into his sloth, finally set up his fish tank again...

and the fish are all bitty, but the one that you can kind of see on the left, Joel named him T-Rex, reasoning thusly: I am Joel's little T-Rex, due to my habit of walking around with my elbows bent and wrists held up around arm-pit level, Mr Burns-style, and I am also his little bat, since I am very nearly blind, and that fish there, he has no eyes, see, and by some bizarre A=B logic, the fish is blind and so am I and I am a T-Rex, therefore the fish is a T-Rex. As previously mentioned, however, I am waaaaaaaaaaaay better at naming fish, and I would have called him Stevie Wonder. Also, how hilarious is that, that the fish has no eyes? All he does is bump into stuff.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

It's OVER!!

Joel had his last final exam on Monday, so since then he's just been hanging around and getting in my hair while I feverishly write papers. However, today I handed in my last two papers and rattled off a presentation. To celebrate, we enjoyed some celebratory steak, with celebratory asparagus and some delicious celebratory potatoes, followed by some celebratory Bourne Ultimatum. I tell you, there are fewer ways I would rather spend two hours than watching Jason Bourne kickin' ass and takin' names. Plus, Julia Stiles almost gets shot, and her stunt double takes three elbows to the face! I tell you now, you need to go see this movie. Many cars are crashed.

In honor of the semester being over (well, almost. I still have a final next Thursday, but who really cares?), I thought I'd leave you with some of the loopy statements that resulted from the stress of the past few weeks:

Joel: Would you love me less if I went and played some tennis right now?

Me: Nope! Would you love me less if I told you I was a level-14 Facebook Pirate?

Joel:...Maybe a little.


Me: Sleep is for the weak.


Joel: You need to go put on, like, eight more hoodies before you go to class.


Me: This cake tastes like diabetes.


Joel: Do you want some Mr. Noodle-flavored chips?


Joel: You look like Jabba the Hut.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


It appears that inventing slang and then claiming it for your own is the thing to do these days (see: Joe Mathlete, and also every fourteen-year-old on the planet). Everyone seems a little afraid that someone else will start using their words, and then get all the credit, and the inventor will look lame because they are using second-hand cliches. Or maybe they're just worried that when the time-capsule of the Internet is unearthed by aliens in 3409, someone else's name will be attached to their verbal creation in the slanguage dictionary the aliens are sure to create.

So, it is with an eye towards posterity that I claim the following words for the Plett clan:

Larf (v): to laugh so hard that one vomits. Found most commonly in drunks.

larfing, larfed, larfs

Yarf (v): to begin with a yawn, changing abrubtly to a suspicious cough or full-blown vomit at the apex of the yawn. Found most commonly in cats and overweight dogs.

yarfing, yarfed, yarfs

fig. 1

Let the claim be so staked.

Also, another update on my papers! Rejoice!

I don't actually expect any of you to read this. This is just to prove to myself that I do get a damn thing done, and that I don't fritter my hours away improving my Facebook Pirate.

1800-word paper comparing one novel and two short stories:
Due: Thursday
Accomplished thus far:
- novel and short stories read
- 2039 words written, 5% of which is crap and must be revised/edited out

750-word rhetorical analysis of a text:
Due: Thursday
Accomplished thus far:
- text read
- 790 words written, 25% of which is crap but only 5% of which I may revise/edit out since I'm still pretty vague on what I'm supposed to be doing.

45-minute group presentation on short story:
Due: Thursday
Accomplished thus far:
- story read
- group met briefly, discussed how much we hate mosquitoes, how bad our vision is, adjurned
- presentation written up (must still practice presentation and write up outline to hand in)

Final Exam:
Due: 23rd of August
Accomplished thus far:
- still zilch

If anyone's earned a donut, it's me.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Let's all flash back to the year of my birth

Ok, this is easily the greatest thing that's happened to me in, like, a month.
When we were little, my parents had a friend named Tuan, and in my mind, I always associated him with this quality flick....
which any of you who were born before 1982 or who had rad parents that made you watch it will remember. But, obviously, my parents' friend Tuan had nothing to do with this movie, except that he was friends with them at around roughly the same time (we're talking, like, within ten years) as I first saw it. Children are impressionable, and make weird connections. Plus, Tuan sounds kind of like Tron.
So there's this guy in my class named Tron Somethingpolysyllabic (I don't even jest, it's at least five syllables, that last name) and I've spent the whole semester wondering if he was named after the movie, but how do you broach a subject like that with someone you don't even know? I ask you. Anyways, today was the 2nd last day of classes, and so I ballsed up and marched over and said 'Tron, what nationality are you?' and of course he's Dutch because they always are, and so I asked 'Is Tron a common name among the Dutch?' And because I'm really bad at foreshadowing you've probably already guessed, but he said 'No, actually, there's this Disney movie' and then I interrupted him with a cry of glee, because how awesome is that? His dad loved the movie SO MUCH that he named his firstborn son after it. That's dedication. And some sort of tolerant wifery.

Monday, August 13, 2007

In which the Internet does some good

Alright, Internet, it's partially your fault I'm in this mess (thanks, Facebook), so I'm enlisting your help to get me out of it. Welcome to *da da da DA da da DAAAAAAA!*

Paper Watch!

These are the assignments I have left to do, and how much I have finished as of 11:45 Monday morning (I went for a run this morning, so don't judge me. I wasn't just lying around, eating bonbons and watching my stories) and I'm hoping reporting to you will fill me with enough accomplishment/shame that I'll get the job done. So.

1800-word paper comparing one novel and two short stories:
Due: Thursday
Accomplished thus far:
- novel and short stories read
- 1546 words written, 10% of which is crap and must be revised/edited out

750-word rhetorical analysis of a text:
Due: Thursday
Accomplished thus far:
- text read
- 375 words written, 50% of which is crap and must be revised/edited out

45-minute group presentation on short story:
Due: Thursday
Accomplished thus far:
- story read
- group met briefly, discussed how much we hate mosquitoes, how bad our vision is, adjurned

Final Exam:
Due: 23rd of August
Accomplished thus far:
- zilch

Stay tuned for further reports (I know, riveting!).


4:45 pm

1800-word paper:
Accomplished thus far:
- 2039 words written, 5% of which is crap and must be revised/edited out

Accomplished thus far:
- notes taken on short story

Everything else:
- status quo

I believe I have earned some dinner.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Longest post ever...

Ah Sunday evening. I'd love you so much more, were it not for your proximity to Monday morning.

I was hoping that Jane would have blogged by now, so that I'd only have to tell you about half my weekend, and then link to her blog for the other half. Come on, woman. Where were you on that one?

Ok, I thought I'd blogged about these guys before, and I just spent twenty minutes reading over old blog entries when I thought I might have hung out with them and then blogged about it so that I could spare you all the bother of reading (and me the bother of writing) about them again. But I didn't and I couldn't so I can't and you will. Ok. So, every summer, Stillwood has what's called an 'Advance Team' or 'the A-Team,' if you're rad like we were, and they come up in May and spend two months pulling weeds and tearing down old sheds and boring holes for new belaying posts (and is that ever a funny story, hey man, if I ever run out of things to tell you, I'll bring out that old chestnut. It involves me falling off a stack of tires and accidentally slitting my wrist, true story) and running activities for guest groups and eating way better food than they do during the camp season, and all in all it's pretty awesome. So there's me and three guys, Jon, Mike, and Paul, and since I brought my camera on Friday night but the batteries were dead, you'll just have to make due with this picture from that summer of us at Coneheads (yeeeeeeeeeeeeeah!)
and we're up at camp pulling weeds together for hours and digging out stumps from under the new zip line and playing Teach Rachel To Drive (I hit 2 trees and dented the new office building before they gave up) and having all sorts of adventures in our off time. Like the time we watched Tombstone in the hot tub (Tombstone is freakin' two and a half hours long, and by the end we were all lying by the side of the tub and groaning, but refusing to turn it off even though we'd all seen it before) and the time we rigged the harnesses up backwards so that we could 'Superman' off the zip line, and the time we camped out at the Boy Scouts camp and got woken up by a troup of Boy Scouts (whoops), and all those times we tortured that damned cat, just because we hated it so much, and got yelled at by the camp cleaning lady even though by 'tortured' I mean 'chased' and 'occasionally threw in the dumpster,' and Two Towers Tuesday and X-Men 2 Tuesday and that time we found the rifles up in the boat shed, and shot cans off of a pile of branches up at the Top 40, and how our allergies were all so bad, but we all went off our meds for a week to see what would happen and WHO'S GOOD IDEA WAS THAT? and we all had nicknames and would use them on our 2-way radio, and the time we went skydiving (here's us looking particularly badass before our jump)

and I had just broken up with my then-boyfriend the day before, so I hadn't eaten in a good 24 hours because that's what a hearty break-up will do to you, and so when we hit ground after the jump I almost passed out, but you will notice that my jumpsuit is pink, and again, yeeeeeeeeeeah! and also that Mike (white shirt) looks like he should have a pack of cigarettes rolled into his sleeve there. ANYways, there have been many A-Teams before us, and many afterwards, but NONE of them have their own soundtrack (a mix of all the songs that we put on repeat and blasted while we were weeding, as well as clips from the zillions of movies that we watches that we repeated over and over and over all summer), nor do any of them hang out on a semi-annual basis. So. Mike's getting married next weekend, and we figured we needed a good old fashioned hang out before then, and Jon just got a firepit for his back yard, and since our gatherings either involve the Halloween train or cigars and a fire and usually us looking for a good place to have a fire (remind me to tell you about the time we built a fire on a construction site and got chased...maybe) we figured this would be a nice, legal way to hang out and smoke a nice cheroot. So we did. That's about it, sorry if it was anti-climactic after all that build-up. Sometimes you just order your Chinese food and watch a movie, and don't get chased by a bobbing flashlight through the bushes and onto a golf course.

And THEN I went to Jane's cabin on the lake with my lovely writing-ladies, and we had some time set aside for chatting and some time set aside for writing, but everyone else cheated and chatted during their writing time, but I'm the only one who's going to get a big fat F in life if I don't get this paper done. And I'd brought my camera because we have this wee darling camera now and I thought I'd capture our serenity in all it's glory, because the cabin was GORGEOUS and in my mind, cabins on the lake are like this cabin that my family used to go to in the summer sometimes, on Bridge Lake, and it was rustic but Jane's cabin is nicer than any house I ever hope to set foot in. The whole bottom floor is just one big open space and the kitchen is massive and there's this giant coffee table with nine legs, NINE LEGS, people, and there's a secret passageway behind a bookshelf that really only leads to a storage space, but again, A SECRET PASSAGEWAY! Do you understand? RAD! And there's couches and couches and couches and loads of room for sitting and relaxing and it's lovely and neat and pretty, but not in the way where you're afraid to breathe for fear it'll crumble. This place encourages breathing. Anyways, I brought my camera, but all I actually took a picture of was this:

That was the bulletin board up in the room I slept in, and those notes? The ones that say 'To Chad, you are great. Thanks for a fun day.' and 'To Chad, you are a sweet boy. I had fun swimming with you today'? Those are from Reader Radish, who, incidentally, is me. The VeggieTown Values is from my cohort, Detective Dill. My very first summer at camp, seven years ago, I did the VeggieTales Day Camp and Chad, with his saucy eyes and impish smile, was in my group. He'd tell me he had a secret for me, and then when I bent down to hear it, he'd kiss me on the cheek. He told his mom he was going to marry me. He was five years old. He's also Jane's...nephew? Small world. We'd write those notes at the start of every day, before the kids got there, and put them in their mailboxes. Then, at the end of the day, the kids would go to their mailbox to see if they had any mail, and they always did. At five, it never occurs to you that the person you are getting mail from hasn't been out of your sight, except to go to the bathroom, for the entire day. That they would have had to have scrawled the note beforehand, and then just hope that nothing horrible happened to you in swimming, because then what a rotten note. Ah, childhood. When good things just happen to you, and you don't ask why or how.

Chad, I'm glad you had fun that week. I hope you're still going to camp, although I hope you've stopped kissing your counselors on the cheek, since you've got to be at least twelve by now, and your counselors are probably boys. Jane, thanks for a fabulous weekend, for herding us all together, for feeding us and cleaning up after us, for making available your amazing cabin. You have the gift of hospitality like I've never seen. Jon, Mike, and Paul, thanks for trying to teach me to drive, and always letting me have more cinnamon buns than I was entitled to. Mike, I'm sorry I grazed that tree with your car.

Friends, thanks for reading. Longest post ever, over and out.


Saturday, August 11, 2007

Friday, August 10, 2007

You think you're reading a post, but you're really participating in my procrastination

I've hit the stage of perpetual-paper-writing where I'll be sitting here, typing away, and suddenly think 'Land sakes! There is lint in the lint trap! That simply must be attended to.' The end is near (my last two papers and my final presentation are due on the 16th, and then I have one lonely exam on the 23rd) but I just don't want to be organizing my thoughts in a coherent and grammatically-correct manner any more. I'd rather be doing ANYthing else.

This attitude has its perks. I've been going to the gym, neglected parts of our suite are being cleaned (you should see our toaster oven), Joel is getting a few home-cooked meals, I finished the 7th Harry Potter book in 2 days (he dies*), my eyebrows are really well groomed.

Currently, I'm working on a rhetorical analysis of a text. This sounds a lot more upper-level than it is. Basically, I'm looking at a text, and figuring out what the vocabulary and sentence structure and so forth indicate about the author, the intended audience, and the implied purpose. We got to pick our text, and with a stroke of what seemed like genius but was actually boneheadedness, I chose a discussion thread from a Facebook group. I thought it'd be off the beaten path of rhetorical analyses, and kind of interesting and fun, especially since I'm a raging Face-aholic. I forgot that when you take the road less travelled, you have to work a good bit harder to get to where you're going. So now I'm working with multiple authors, a hazy implied purpose, a malleable text (ie. it is not permanent text, set down in print, but rather a growing, expanding discussion that can be manipulated or refuted. I might use that sentence in my paper), and a strong desire to brew more coffee.

Last weekend, I had no plans. I also had no useful information regarding my two papers and presentation, information like topics, length, other group members (for the presentation), etc. This weekend, I'm going in to Burnaby to visit some friends, and we've been planning this excursion for months, and of the four of us, two of us have rescheduled (read: bailed) and I will NOT be the third because then Jon will say mean things about me on our Facebook group (I know), and tomorrow I'm going to Cultus overnight with my lovely ladies-who-write, and while (due to the nature of the group) a nice chunk of that time is set aside for writing, I'd waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay rather be writing something interesting, and not dissecting some high school kid's inane postings. Suffice it to say, it will be a busy weekend, and I've got this slippery beast of a paper (which is, mercifully, quite short), a whopping monster that is standing in as a final exam and, combined with the presentation also due on that day, worth 45% of my mark. There's something unsettling about nearly half my letter grade coming up due in a single 3-hour period. What if I'm having an off day?

H'anyways, all that to say, gripe gripe gripe, and I have successfully not worked on my paper for almost half an hour. Zoot!

*May not be real spoiler, but rather cruel practical joke. You'll just have to read the book, won't you?

Thursday, August 09, 2007

For your edification

Since I have done little since this time yesterday besides write an exam, draw up a proposal for paper, and go to Red Robin for late-night snacky-wings, here, as promised, is my paper on the (nearly) omnipotent and (almost) omnipresent Internet.

Are you writing a research paper? There is no need to spend hours in a library, poring over dusty old tomes. The Internet is here! Did you miss last week’s episode of ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ and forget to set your VCR? That doesn’t matter. The Internet will provide it for you, commercial-free. Do you need to invite three hundred of your closest friends to a party, but can’t afford postage? E-vite them for free via (you guessed it) the Internet!! The Internet impacts everything we do: the way we work, the way we play, the way we get stains out of our clothes. By infiltrating every aspect of modern life, and by trumping, if not the exact form, at least the basic function, of nearly every other innovation of the past hundred years, the Internet has become the most impactful invention of the 20th century.

Unavailable to the public until the early 1990’s and widely used only in the middle and later years of that decade, the Internet barely sneaks in under the wire of the 20th century. Many people confuse the terms ‘Internet’ and ‘World Wide Web,’ thinking that they are one and the same when, in reality, the Web is a sort of construction that rests on the greater structure of the Internet. It is, obviously, far more complicated but for the purposes of this paper, we will be dealing with the Internet as a whole, including the Web.

One of the primary initial uses of the Internet was the trading of information. To this day, swapping data remains one of the most prevalent activities conducted in cyberspace. Scientists can post the results of their experiments immediately, resulting in more efficient collaborations, and quicker and greater gains in the scientific field. Students researching papers on obscure subjects can find plenty of online articles on the subject in seconds. Formerly, it would have taken hours of legwork and a healthy amount of foresight in order to catch the library when it was open. True, fact-seekers must be wary when searching collaborative information sources such as Wikipedia, where contributors require no qualifications, but the same is true of any information sources, from magazines to people. When the printing press was invented in 1440 (a little fact gathered, by the bye, by simply typing ‘printing press invented’ into a search engine), it reshaped the face of education, since information could now be widely disseminated among the masses. Still, the information could only travel as quickly as the stage coach and, later, the steam engine, could carry it. On the blazing saddle of the Internet, a teenager traveling to Thailand can inform his parents back in Canada that he is safe almost the instant his plane touches down.

With the inception of email, blogs (short for ‘web-log,’ a sort of on-line diary), Instant Messaging programs, and social networking sites such as Facebook and Myspace, socialization has become digitized. The cost of a stamp once ensured that the message one was sending was good and lengthy. Email is quick and free, and has led to a more byte-sized method of communication. Instead of eight pages scrawled from margin to margin, we have ‘I’ll be home at 6:30’ and ‘Pick up some milk on your way.’ Email has replaced, not only the letter, but the quick phone call as well. With long-distance charges through the roof and finite daytime cell phone minutes, it is far cheaper to email a friend in Guadalajara than it is to phone them from Vancouver.

It is also cheaper and more eco-friendly for friends to meet on Facebook or MSN (an Instant Messaging service) than it is for them to pile in their gas-guzzling cars and meet face-to-face. It is, unfortunately far less personal as well, and has led, many say, to shallower relationships. The increased ease in communication leads to an increase in ‘friends,’ diluting the sincerity of a relationship. A visit or a telephone call means the receiver is worth an effort; an Instant Message means the sender had a second to spare. Internet-savvy friends do sometimes break away from their modems to get together, only to find that they have nothing to discuss. ‘How was your weekend…never mind, I read about it on your blog.’ ‘Want to see my pictures from the concert?’ ‘I already saw them on your Facebook.’ Whether the impact of the Internet on social interactions has been largely positive or largely negative, one can hardly dispute the fact that it has become, for most people, at least part of their communication strategy.

If the Internet has altered our communication, it has revolutionized our recreation. Gone are the days of putting on pants to go rent a movie. Netflix will, for a monthly flat fee, take your requests online and mail your DVD selections right to your door. If you are short on both cash and scruples, you can download most films illegally off of the Web almost as soon as they are released (sometimes even before). Downloading music, both legitimately and otherwise, is an activity that has risen by leaps and bounds, sending the CD industry into a downward spiral. Sites like YouTube allow one to watch entire episodes of television shows, or simply the two-minute bits one likes best, without requiring them to do so at any given time. Such sites also help propagate meaningless stardom. If a teenager in New Jersey wants to film himself enthusiastically lip-synching to a Romanian pop song and then become instantly famous for doing so, YouTube puts that goal well within his reach. Indeed, the notoriety of such dubious celebrities as Paris Hilton and Nicole Ritchie can be laid largely at the Internet’s virtual door. Even casual gossip has become digitalized.

Surely, some will say, celebrity blogs and websites will never take the place of good old over-the-fence chatter. Surely, curling up with a laptop and an online-book account will never be as cozy as snuggling down with a good book. Surely a film viewed on an 18-inch monitor with tinny, standard-issue speakers will never compare to a theatrical showing. This paper is in no way suggesting that the Internet will stomp such antiquities as conversation and printed matter out of existence. Indeed, with the exception of CD’s (which offer little besides bulk, expense, and an extra step between music and your iPod), most inventions have things to offer that the Internet simply cannot provide. Rather than replacing these things outright, the Internet simply serves as an often cheaper and more convenient option.

The Internet is a tool with many faces. With it, we can do anything from playing chess with a friend in Thailand to ordering our groceries to be delivered to our door. As of June 30, 2007, over 1.156 billion people were using the Internet (Internet World Stats). It has invaded our coffee shops and airports, our cell phones and Personal Digital Assistants, our homes and offices. With its power and pervasiveness, the Internet is has truly had the greatest impact of any invention of the 20th century.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Scholarship, at its finest

I was just going to cop out today and post a paper that I wrote about the Internet, but we don't get them back until after the final exam, and I'm not posting it if I got a bad mark. By which I mean a 'B'. But I have the exam in two hours and I am totally not studying for it and I know it's not going to be hard but it does mean that I have to sit still and concentrate for three full hours and not wander off to the fridge or check my Facebook, and I'm not sure that I can do that, and I have to write the entire exam in pen WITH MY HAND and I'm not sure I can do that either, and I just went out for the biggest brunch with Jacki-pants and I had the French breakfast with extra bacon cooked extra well and my hash-browns fried extra dark and my eggs scrambled extra hard and my french toast extra-buttery, and now I'm a giant fatass and laaaaaaaaaaaazy, and it's so hard to concentrate with all this cholesterol in my blood.

Maybe what I need now is a pre-exam nap.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Exams can kill.

In the spirit of exams, which I am currently entering and for which I am currently half-heartedly studying, I thought I'd leave you with these instead of no post at all. If you can't read any of them (ie. the fourth one), just double click on it (I recommend this with the fourth one, as it is hilarious).


AH hahahaha. Oh mercy. I know just how you feel, square-root man.

Monday, August 06, 2007

An excursion

When I lived at my parent's house in Burnaby, my sister and I would go out at the end of the summer and pick blackberries in the lane by our house. Now that I'm out in Abbotsford, there is no sister, but there are certainly blackberries in the lane by my house. I am confident that, as long as I live in the GVRD, there will be blackberries in a lane by my house.

Summer fruit being delicious but expensive, and blackberries being yummy and free, and me being Mennonite and all, I went out today, bucket in hand, to pick me some free tasties. Somehow, I've developed a 'further up and further in' philosophy, by which I figure the further I go into the brambles, the better the berries will be. And while it's probably true that if I go a foot deeper in, there will be fat and delicious berries, there will also be fat and delicious berries if I go one foot to my left, and I won't get sliced up in the doing. I know this. But old habits die hard, and every few minutes I would find myself up to my eyeballs in long, thorny branches.

So now I've got a bagful of berries in the freezer, and a pan full of scones in the oven, and a body that looks like someone was throwing kittens at it, naked.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

A celebration of lights (and stupidity)

Joel and I went to the fireworks last night, and you all better like this post, because I'm going to copy and paste it again next year, because some things never change.

Every year you hop on the Skytrain from wherever you are, and Skytrain it down to Burrard where you get off and join the mass of humanity that is swarming towards English Bay.

There are THOUSANDS of people, and nowhere to put your blanket, so you park in the two-foot-square space between a handful of Asians and a kid building a sandcastle. Over the next two hours, you play cribbage and gradually encroach on the kid's sandcastle area because, come on, kid, that's not why we're here. The fire boats out on the water turn their hoses on each other, and everyone points and laughs and some dweebs take out their cameras and snap a few shots, including you and the old guy in front of you.

It's too dark to play cards by now, and you've already got your camera out so you start pulling faces to pass the time.Eventually the show gets underway, and China is always your favorite because of their moody theatrics and their less-is-more policy,

The StarWars theme song is still the greatest musical piece to set fireworks to,

And Canada wins again because it's their party, and they'll cry if they don't.

All three coutries join for a grand finale and the air smells like burning tires.

The last few sparks fade and everyone cheers, and then...AND THEN the raging idiot in everyone comes out. I understand if you've never been before that this must come as quite a shock to you, but really, you should have done your research (by which I mean ask anyone who's been before, because this never changes) and if you've been before, well then, there's no excuse for you. You KNEW this was coming, WHY are you getting so upset? Hundreds of thousands of people are trying to get through the same tiny gap in the gate, down the same street, and onto the same Skytrain at the same station. It will take you well over an hour just to get on, and there's no chance of you getting a seat. You know this. Also, have I mentioned the hundreds of thousands of people? To turn to the seething mob behind you and yell 'Stop pushing!' would almost definitely do nothing, but at least your request would be aimed in the right direction. To turn to the person immediately behind you and holler the same thing at them? As though they were the ones exerting several tons of pressure into your back? For serious, people. You are ridiculous.

And so, after twenty minutes spent getting off the beach, and half an hour spent getting to Burrard, and well over an hour waiting in line to get on the train, and another forty minutes packed standing in the only car full of people that were going (as we were) all the way to Surrey (I knew there would be no mass exodus at Granville, but I thought that at least Metrotown had my back, and if not Metrotown, then Columbia, all the usual exit points, but everyone stayed til the bitter, Surried end), we climbed into the car sweaty and tired, swearing we'd never do that again.

By next year, though, we will have forgotten the crunch and the shoving and the people with poor personal hygeine, the long strings of teenagers linked hand-to-hand, as though trying to move through the crowd that way isn't going to piss people off, the people stepping on your blankets and the necessity to step on other people's blankets, the group of middle-aged hardcores in front of you that won't sit down even once the show has started, the overweight mom in a tank top and shorts that rocks out hard to Shakira's 'Hips Don't Lie' (ok, ne'mind that last one, that was a highlight. If it hadn't been so dark, I would have video taped it and YouTubed it for you all), and the overwhelming sense of clausterphobia and shut up that accompanies the latter half of the evening, and we will be drawn once again to loud noises and pretty lights.