Sunday, August 31, 2003

Goin' Camping....

It looks like everything is packed and ready to go. I think we are going to have to wake up pretty early if we are to get the 9:50 ferry, and if we miss it there isn't another until the evening. Geez. The weather looks like it is going to be good, so i am pumped.

Current Reads
I just finished reading William Boyd's THE ICECREAM WAR. Given my love of ice cream i thought it would rock. Only kidding. I have read several of his other books, but this one didn't stand up compared to the rest. Not that is was bad, it just wasn't as good as i had expected. Especially since it was nominated for the Booker Prize in 1982. As always, his novels are about absurdity, this time in the African part of WWI. The thing is, there was too much war for my liking.

The hoax
So the picture of the balckout i posted on Friday was a hoax. Oops. Still sort of cool. But you should check out the explanation of the hoax that the Brain has suggested.

Have a good Labour Day Weekend (and i hope no one goes into labour, if you know who i am talking about!)

Friday, August 29, 2003

Check it out

Photo of the blackout. Maybe all of you Torontonians are not the center of the world.

But seriously, it kind of puts it all in perspective. That much fuss over such a tiny segment of the continent. It may be the most densely populated section, but still... come on.



It's time for the Friday Five!!

Given my state of affairs in life I found, this week's choce particularly timely.

1. Are you going to school this year?
Are you kidding? What would September be without the start of a new school year? If my math is correct, and it proabably isn't, i will be starting year 26 of my educational endeavour on Tuesday. 26 year without more than a summer off in between - it's a wonder that i am not more messed up!


2. If yes, where are you going (high school, college, etc.)? If no, when did you graduate?
I am wading my way through yet another year of uni. Anticipated graduation date is within site now. I refuse to turn 32 without a PhD!

3. What are/were your favorite school subjects?
Well, having as much school experience as i do, the answer to this question varies based on time period.
The early years: art. I like the smell (not taste) of glue.
The Akward years: French, never too challenging and you get to talk alot.
The killer OAC years: english. They finally provide you with an at least half way challenging/ interesting reading list!!
The Undergrad Years: Religion, and make it esoteric.
The Grad Years: It was all good.

4. What are/were your least favorite school subjects?
The Early Years through to the Killer OAC Years: MATH.
The Undergrad Years: Finally in an equation free world, it was all pretty good as long as it was in the pm. Theough Can LIt with Prof. Verbosity was a bit of a low point.

5. Have you ever had a favorite teacher? Why was he/she a favorite?
Yeah, i've had a few. The thing that makes a good teacher is having them treat you like a real person, not like you are just a kid and therefore less worthy.

Thursday, August 28, 2003

opportunity knocks...

I was over at my friend Ganesha's house tonight with some of her friends, talking about India because she is going there in October to do some research. Anyways, her friend wants to go to India while Ganesha is there but is too intimidated to go by herself. As some side comment during the cnight i say that i am so jealous of Ganesha because she gets to go back. Before i know it her friend is offering me a free pass to India (her husband works for an unnamed airline). All i would have to do is pay the tax (probably about $300) and my spending money while i was there. I think i can handle that! She only wants to go for a week to ten days and plans to spend the whole time in Banaras, where i can find cheap accomodation! Pretty cool. Of course in exchange i offered to show her around, but that is no skin off my nose! Before i get too excited i want to see if it will all work out. But it sounds like fun. More to the point, i would be there for at least some of either Ramlila or Krsnalila.

Wednesday, August 27, 2003

The Harvest is on....

I just checked the garden and it is doing wonderfully! I am so excited, overnight everything went from almost ripe to closer to ripe. Cucumbers are getting big and i was able to bring in a tomato. By the weekend there should be more tomoatoes ready to eat, which is good because we have visitors coming - flash and Shroom.
writing going badly.... had to resort to backup supplies of diet coke... BBQ corn chips have been ingested....over.

Tuesday, August 26, 2003

it's been a long time coming....

It has been quite some time since i last blogged. I would like to be able to say that it is because i have been writing the Dis like mad, but that would be lying. Instead i have just been very busy.

Saturday i had a brand new experience - horse racing. We were invited to go to the track as VIPs for some Diamonds club thing. Private box, food and bevies. As it turns out, i think i will be giving up my PhD and just start going to the track everyday. I was on fire. Everything i bet on won. I took my mom's advice (who'd of thought that my mom would have betting advice!) and bet on the jockey not the horse. Wise words. I only ever made $2 bets, so i never really won alot, but on the other hand i didn't loose anything, which is more than i can say for some.

Sunday i devised the ultimate avoiding work plan. There is a guy from the Brain's company visiting from South Africa, so i volunteered us to show him a good time. Very selfless of me, i would say. We went mountain-ward and had a good day. We ended the day with some artic char, a first for me - yum! Maybe that's why the Brain spends so much time north of 60.

Current Reads
I am trying to cut back, but like any addiction, it is harder than it looks. I read ALL FAMILIES ARE PSYCHOTIC by Douglas Coupland. It made my family look pretty boring by comparison. I like it much better than most of his more recent books like GIRLFRIEND IN A COMA. I recommend it if you like his writing.

Just to appease those who keep on eye on my work progress, i also read an ethnography of aging in Banaras. Interesting.

Friday, August 22, 2003

common sense isn't always common

Here's a little bit of a day in the life of me rant. I did laundry today because i had to. I am on my last pair of underwear, and they have seen better days! I only had enough quarters for one load, so i piled everything into a basket without sorting. What's the use in sorting of you are only going to do one load? I just now went to switch stuff into the dryer and, to quote that pop diva, oops i did it again! That's right, i washed at least one kleenex. My assorted darks and lights are now dotted with white flecks. I heeded my mother's oft given advice, because she too washes more kleenexes thatn the average person, and shook every thing outside. But i guess i don't shake hard enough because all of my navy blue shirts, and i have alot of them i have realized, are still sort of speckled. So if you see me in the next week, just ignore the white stuff.

Also, VOR, who was just doing her job, reprimanded me today. She has assumed, quite rightly, that i have not been doing enough work on my diss. So, having been filled with the fear of god or the wrath of VOR, depending on how you look at it, i have been sitting at my desk all day, plugging along on the next section. As it turns out i think it will be a fair bit longer than i initially anticipated and will take longer to write. More sources to review than i thought.

So i hope everyone out there in blogger land has a good weekend, especially the Fab 5, who will be getting together minus one.

Thursday, August 21, 2003

Amazing Race Spoiler

So the race is over. No more Thursday night must see TV. I have got to say that i was a little disappointed in the outcome. I wanted Dave and Jeff to win. They played well throughout and never fought or got angry with each other or anyone else. But instead Chip and Richen won. I have confliceted feelings about this. Richen seems very nice and caring and everything and Chip is an andrenylen junkie road rager! I don' t like him. And did you hear all the things Richen said about his driving? And i am sure that it takes alot for Richen to bad mouth his hubby! Also i hated the comment at the end that they just wanted to show everyone that gay people can do anything other people can. Never doubted it for a minute. And that comment about being American - give me a break and raise the flag now. The end was just too sappy.

As for Kelly and John, well they were catty and everything else and i felt bad when they lost because they were so close, but... ultimately they didn't deserve to win and i think that deep dpwn inside they knew that too.

Current Reads
I finished THE SEDUCTION OF WATER. Went on a mojor reading binge last night, so i will be on a bit of a book diet for a while. Can't let books over take my life. But THE SEDUCTION OF WATER was very good. Suspenseful in the right places. Little bit of romance. I recommend it highly.

Wednesday, August 20, 2003

Procrastination is the name of the game

I don't know where the day has gone. I have done nothing and yet it is almost time for the Brain to come home from work. I haven't even attempted or pretended to work yet today. Maybe sometimes you just need a break.

Current Reads
I started reading THE SEDUCTION OF WATER by Carol Goodman last night. If you go back a couple of weeks you will see that i read THE LAKE OF DEAD LANGUAGES by her a couple of weeks ago. At first i was really quite disappointed in SEDUCTION. Her previous book was so great i sort of felt like this one wouldn't be able to live upto it. But by about page 80 i was sucked in. It does get off to a slow start but all of the sudden it gets quite intriguing. I am hooked. It may not be as good as THE LAKE, but so far it is worth the read. I will keep you updated.

And for any of you out there who were staying awake nights, rehashing a question i asked a couple of days ago, the answer is yes. The question is: is the main character of Chaim Potok's OLD MEN AT MIDNIGHT the same as the protagonist in DAVITA'S HARP?

Tuesday, August 19, 2003

fall

I think it is here. Fall. Autumn. Whatever you want to call it. The weather is changing. It is cooler at night. The smell of the air has changed. Back to school sales abound. The library at school is crazy with new and very excited first years. I still don't have a tan. Hmrph.

Monday, August 18, 2003

on hockey etc

On the weekend i dropped the big bucks and bought some hockey equipment. I wasn't really planning to buy any at all. First the Brain and I stopped in at an unnamed large sporting goods store because he had seen that they had shoulder pads on for a really good price. Tried them on and bought them. Then on Saturday i wanted to buy some skates because i was worried about my skating abilities. Even though i had figure skated for years, i haven't been in skates for over five years, let alone hockey skates!! Being able to skate well is important to me, because i am not sure if the whole hand-eye co ordination thing will ever come and i want to be good at something. So i bought some skates... and elbow pads, shorts, helmet etc. After all of this i better like the sport!

Now i am just trying to figure out what rinks in the 'hood have general skating sessions at this time of year. I fiugre if i go once a week between now and when hockey actually starts in mid September, i may be able to get pretty good at skating.

Better late than never

It has been quite sometime since i blogged, so i thought i better jump to it since most of you will be back at work (with power) tomorrow and will probably need something to help you wile away the most productive hours of your day!

Current Reads
I just finished reading The Eyre Affair. Truly a wacky novel. It vacillates between rather low brow and high brow humour (a character named Jack Schitt and French revisionist history). It is a sort of detective/ sci-fi/ fantasy kind of novel, not that i am trying to pigeon hole it. Let's just say that time is not exactly linear and that the borders between this world and the world of literature are just a wee bit more permeable than we are used to. I recommend it and the wacky website that accompanies it.

Now i have started reading Old Men at Midnight by Chaim Potok, of The Chosen fame. It is made of of three linked novellas. I've read the first one already and it was pretty good. It has been ages since i have read any of his other books (this is is first work of fiction since 1992!) and i am trying to figure out if the main character is the same Davita as in Davita's Heart, not that it matters either way since i don't remember anything about that novel. As with most of his novels, this one centres around Jews living in New York.

Wednesday, August 13, 2003

Cat's out of the Bag

First off, Happy Left Handers Day to all you lefties out there!!

Secondly, i have been wanting to point this out for a while, did you notice that sometimes there is a cat with the weather pixie and sometimes not. I like that. Meow.

Thirdly, the cat's out of the bag. The university has discovered that i will be entering the 7th year of my PhD (eeek) in September and they are making me apply for an extension. It makes me realize how much time i have wasted since i have been home from India. Now i am going to try to write an entire chapter before the Brain gets home from work. Or at least before i go to bed.

And finally, the mad scientist rocks the world via CBC!!! Sci-sat has successfully been launched and is presently whirling around our heads (or the earth, depending on how you look at it) 15 times a day. Way to go.

Tuesday, August 12, 2003

So i was wrong. As long as you don't enter anything in the name, email, url etc feilds, you will remain annonymous. Of course if you have made an appearance in the blog and want to defend yourself, you can always use the little name i have come up with for you, ie/ the brain.

comments

Due to popular demand, i have installed comments in my blog. Or at least i think i have, only time will tell if they work or not. Now i know that most of you are relative newbies to the wild and wonderful world of blogging (and i am a seasoned vet?), so you should know that i think everyone who enters my blog can see your comments and they are not annonymous as far as i know. i'll run some tests so you can see what i mean.

Movies

Over the past few days i have watched a number of movies, but have not yet comented on them. So here we go....

A couple of nights ago the Brain rented Lost in La Mancha. It's a documentary about Terry Gilliam's attempt to make a movie about Don Quixote. This quote sums it up pretty nicely: ""There's no shortage of disaster stories in the history of film production, but none have been recorded with such frankness, immediacy and aching sense of disappointment as in Lost in La Mancha… entertaining and instructive... a tantalizing memorial."- Derek Elley, VARIETY . Metacritic gave it a 74, which i think is about right.

Then last night we went for a double bill at the Hollywood. First up was Nowhere in Africa, a German film about a Jewish family that flee Germany to Kenya at the beginning of WWII. It was good, particularly because it made me think for the first time about what really happened to refugees from Germany in different parts of the world when war broke out. It also won the academy award for best foreigh picture.

After that things went to a slightly lighter note with Laurel Canyon. It's about a fairly straight laced Harvard couple who have to move in with the guy's record producer mother. Worlds collide. As usual Francis McDormand was great. In a way the movie is worth watching if you are a fan of hers. Kate Beckinsdale was good too, playing an ultra straight Harvard type, but the male lead was only so-so and dragged the picture down a little. Metacritic gave it just 61, which is their cut off mark for a movie that is worth watching. Not everyone will enjoy this, so read the box before you select - it is in the renter category. The one thing that got me really down about the movie is that Beckinsdale's character was writing her dissertation and it came oh so effortlessly!! Grrr.

Sunday, August 10, 2003

Reviews

Food Review
Just want to give some *snaps* to Nooru Mahal, where we went for dinner last night. I was feeling like some south indian food, looked for a place on the internet, et voila. Now it seems that they have both North and South Indian food, as well as some Sri Lankan. But we stuck to dosas (large, usually rice flour "crepes" filled with different curries, generally potatoe based), a south Indian favourite for sure. We both opted for the Rava Masala Dosa, a good choice. The price was more than reasonable - $7/ each and the portions were more than ample. It is now 24 hours later and i still feel full, and i didn't even finish mine! The sambar (soupy mixture that accompanies your dosa, usually lentil based) was really good too. Sometimes i am little picky about that. Anyways it is finally good to find a place in this city that serves a good dosa. When we go back i am going to try the idli...

Current Reads
It seems to be taking me a long time to get through THE HOUSE OF THE BLUE MANGOES. It is really picking up though. But just in case you are waiting for me to suggest something new, i came up with something - Kartography by Kamila Shamsie. If you are tired of the multi generational India sagas that go on forever, then this is the book for you. Set in Karachi in Pakistan, during times of political unrest, it is the story of two upper class, rich friends. Basically a coming of age tale. I like it alot. Shamsie is one of the new pack of South Asian writers trying to break away from what has become an almost cookie cutter issue from South Asian writers in English.

Saturday, August 09, 2003

Clarity

It came. It finally came. Last night, or rather in the early AM hours, it came to me - the structure for the dissertation!! It may not be complete, but it is a good start. I realized that i have been heading down the wrong path for quite some time now. What's the old addage - K-I-S-S Keep It Simple Stupid.

So it will be simple. It may not rock the academic world, but it will get done, and at the moment that is most important. Moreover, it will let my ethnographic data speak for itself, because that is, after all, my strong point. It may be a little on the light side, but i think i will still fill a niche. So i am happy.

Friday, August 08, 2003

How does your garden grow?

My garden is coming along quite nicely, thank you very much. It is my little tribute to Gus, my sadly departed landlord. He always had the most amazing garden, of course he spent about 8 hours a day out there. I have given up on the flower gardens - nothing but roses. Everyone says roses are hard to grow, and while they did much better when Gus was around, they do pretty well with me in charge. I guess it is from years of conditioning.

It is my vegetable garden that really impresses me. It is small, but very managable for one such as me. I figure that if each tomato plant produces 12 tomatoes each that will give us about 50 tomatoes!!! Don't worry, some of those are cherry tomoatoes. I hope they are ready by the time Mushroom and the Flash come to visit at the end of August. Everything in my garden is running a little bit behind schedule since i got it in late. Some nay sayers, like the Hippie Chick thought i was doomed to fail, well i've showed her! One of my cucumbers is bigger than my thumb. But i have small thumbs. I would say it is the size of the Brain's thumb, ie/ the size of an average man's thumb.

I think you can tell from the scattered nature of this post how excited i am about the garden. Yipee!!

It's the Friday Five!!!

Time for the Friday Five.

1. What's the last place you traveled to, outside your own home state/country?
India

2. What's the most bizarre/unusual thing that's ever happened to you while traveling?
Hmmm. I don't think anything bizarre ever happens to me. I will have to think on this one.

3. If you could take off to anywhere, money and time being no object, where would you go?
Right now i have a burning desire to go to north Africa - Morocco, Algeria etc. If time were no object i would probably include Egypt in that and then swing up to Turkey.

4. Do you prefer traveling by plane, train or car?
it doesn't really matter, but i think train is nice.

5. What's the next place on your list to visit?
Mexico for some winter R and R.

Thursday, August 07, 2003

Amazing Race Spoiler

A special welcome to The Racers (you know who you are).

Things are getting down and dirty on the race. Three teams left, who is going to walk home with a million?
I think i am rooting for the goats (ie/ the two guys who aren't gay or clowns). I wanted the clowns to win, even though i think clowns in general are sort of spooky, but at least they treated everyone and each other with respect (a unique concept on reality tv) and never stopped having fun.

So now i am rooting for the goats. In my humble opinion Chip and Richen should have got the boot this round. They cheated after all. And besides they just are a little too cocky, always going on about how hard they have worked to get this far. Here's a little news update for ya, everyone has worked just as hard, even if they go about it in a different way.

There is no way Kelly and Jon should win. They are just nasty and i think jon is homophobic. I think the biggest upset of the game will come when Chip leaves Richen for Jon (hee hee).

Wednesday, August 06, 2003

A new direction

I think that i have decided to stop working on the present chapter of the diss, which is giving my nothing but grief and work on something a little bit more fun. There is one chapter which i figure i can write pretty quickly. It is mostly elementary stuff, but stuff that needs to be told just the same. It will also rely more on narritive than theory, which is the stuff i am better at writing. I just think i need a bit of a change. Once i have one complete chapter under my belt i shoudl feel more confident etc, right?

I came across a really cool/geeky idea on the web today: academic reality TV. I know there may not be much of a market for it, but i think that those who tune in would be die hard fans. I mean, who has more time than a lowly grad student or instructor to watch TV? We are naturally drawn to high brow academic trash, just put some on TV and we'll watch. Anyways this guy has proposed a number of different themes for the show - PhD Island, Adjunct Survivor, Academic Fear Factor and of course the Fifth Wheel. You really shoud check it out.

Monday, August 04, 2003

Life Update

So I asked for input on my blog and i got it. First of all, most of it was good (toot toot), but some type A personalities out there, who shall remain nameless, have commented on my bad spelling. Yes, it is true. I can't spell. And this thing does not have spell check. But i will try harder as you seem to think it interrupts the flow. And please note that one of the two primary contributors to my genetic make up, who also can't spell, thinks the lax attitude towards orthography adds cache to my blog.

My dissertation coach aka Voice of Reason came up with this little gem to inspire? me to greater heights:
writing your dissertation is like bowel movements, you can't force them but you should try to do what you can to have one every day.

Current Reads
I am still reading THE HOUSE OF BLUE MANGOES. It seems that now that the Brain is home i do not have as much time to dedicate to reading, which in my case may be healthy. I heard from big bad Dr. Red that she too is in the process of reading BLUE MANGOES. I think i speak for both of us when i say that it is a little slow going. Not that it is bad, but there are a lot of characters to remember. She said as you get into it it gets better. As a dedicated India-phile, i am almost embarrassed to admit this, but there is also alot of Tamil? Malayalam? word that i don't know.

Fun Fact
Malayalam is the only language in the world that is also a palindrome.

On Flappers, Avacodo Green Appliances, Etc...

Every era exists in the collective memory in terms of some defining images. The 1920's has Flappers, the fifties are immortalized in poodle skirts and 'Father Knows Best', the seventies live on in avacodo green apliances. How will the first decade of the 2000's be remebered?Chair-in-a-bag.

I have just recently joined the chair-in-the-bag revolution. At first i was put off by the sheer expense and novelty of the chair-in-the-bag. But it has endured, prooving that it is more than just a fad, and prices are now more than resonable. The Brain and i just purchased two reclinable, dual cup holder, foot rest models. Admittedly, they are perhaps more than we need, but why not? We have joined the revolution and will never again be saddled with the cumbersome folding lawn chair of yore. And let's face it, there are far worse things this decade could be remebered for...

Sunday, August 03, 2003

systems error

So last night i emailed a bunch of people to say 'hey look at my blog and tell me what you think'. Today i decided to take a quit peak at what i had done last night and before i knew it i had hit some unknown button that changed everything. So this is not how it is supposed to look, but i don't have time right now to figure out what i did. Be patient and hopefully it will be up and running as it should appear soon.

Saturday, August 02, 2003

s-a-t-u-r-d-a-y NIGHT!

Here's a great big shout out to my friend Rocky the Kitabwalla in Assi!!!
I have spent the last little while trying to fit my latest shipment of books from India onto my shelves. It ended up in a complete restructuring of the organizational system. I think it looks better now, though it may take me longer to find what i am looking for. Before it was aphabetically arranged - rational and systematic, but now it is more by broad topic and size - easy on the eyes.

The Brain and I are officially with wheel this week. Our friends Futo Maki and the Hippie Chick (who are just begging to mentioned by name in my blog) planned on riding their bikes up the coast. But then they called and asked the Brain to drive them to the ferry in their car, with the added bonus that we get to keep the car for a week until they get back. It sounds great in theory, but we are not exactly sure what we would use the car for anyways.

Happy Belated Birthday to Futo Maki's little sis. Sorry i missed last night. I went to see the King and I instead. It was better than i expected. Very professional. The place seats 1200 people, which is pretty amazing, though it seemed that they only had washrooms for about a third that number.

Friday, August 01, 2003

the friday five

Here's a new little feature on my blog for Fridays. Its the FRIDAY FIVE!!!

1. What time do you wake up on weekday mornings?
This is an evil question. A better question is what time do you go to bed, then it doesn't seem like you are sleeping in so much!

2. Do you sleep in on the weekends? How late?
I always sleep late. The day is irrelevant.

3. Aside from waking up, what is the first thing you do in the morning?
Moan.

4. How long does it take to get ready for your day?
Anywhere between 5 minutes and a couple of hours.

5. When possible, what is your favorite place to go for breakfast?
The Lucky D