Thursday, 28 January 2010

My Number

Last night I went to the Tegan and Sara concert in Halifax. I am a pretty big Tegan and Sara fan, so much so that I had to force myself to stop listening to them for several years in order to avoid becoming overloaded and hating them. It was a hard thing to do. It was just before The Con came out and then I tried listening to The Con, and honestly, I was not so impressed. So Tegan, Sara and I entered into a period of distance. We were like those awkward Facebook friends, you met them at camp or at a summer job or something and were really close for a while but now don't really talk, just awkwardly know you used to be super close.

Anyway, Sainthood came out last year and my dad bought it for me. I didn't even know it was out when he produced it from his suitcase in October when he came to visit me. I downloaded it, listened to it once, and hadn't listened to it until Monday afternoon when I realized that the concert was this week. Some people prepare for concerts by going on a music fast and not listening to that artist. I go on a binge. I get myself pumped. So pumped. So last night? I was pumped.

They were funny, they were hot, they played so many of the great songs I wanted, they made me want to cut all my hair off and run away to be a groupie. They were great. It was the last stop on their tour, and you could tell they were a little tired. But still put on a great show. And I correctly hypothesized which twin was which on stage, which makes me very proud of myself.

Two of my favourite Tegan and Sara songs are My Number from This Business of Art, one of their earlier CDs, and Living Room from So Jealous. One is old and the other has a banjo in it and I was convinced they wouldn't play either one. Oh, but then they came out for the encore and it was just Tegan and Sara, doing their thing, being awesome. And they played my number AND Living Room. Living Room was the very last song and I just went nuts. It was like they played it just for me.

Monday, 25 January 2010

Dance Dance Dance

My weekend was devoted to Phil and dancing. Pretty much a perfect weekend, come to think of it.

Phil decided to come down just for a couple nights because, well, (aw) he missed me. And I missed him too. I was super excited to see him. No big event, no big plans, just time together. Sometimes, that's more than enough.

We did end up going out for dim sum with Saf and Ange, which was delicious. I'd never been for dim sum before, and I have no idea why the heck not. You get all these little things to try, and they come in cute little dishes and they're easy and fun to share. It was great. Ange said that in Vancouver, she goes to a restaurant for dim sum where they come around with a little cart and you get to pick things off the cart! How cute. I want to go there.

The rest of the weekend was a whirlwind of Bollywood scarves, hip hop booty bounces, and jazzy spins and side kicks. After the three hours of rehearsal and into the run-through, I spread my fingers out in front of me and counted off the days. Seventeen. Seventeen days until this crazy, wonderful, stress-inducing, heart-palpitating, spirit-lifting show goes up. Seventeen days to buy costumes, make costumes, paint the set, build the set, and rehearse, rehearse, rehearse!

I strained my hip, my legs ache, and I have a bruise on the bottom of my right foot. So why exactly do I do it? For those 90 minutes, times three, each week, that I get to forget about homework, and show-planning, and interpersonal issues, and being far from people I love and just dance, pretend I am that amazing dancer I have always wanted to be with excellent form and legs that go on forever.

I think I'll go stretch now. Ouch.

Friday, 22 January 2010

The Choir Trend

I joined a choir! Hurray! Just like Stella.

I used to sing in a choir every Sunday at the church I went to. I even convinced my best friend to come too, and we sat in the Soprano section, singing the hymns (Anglicans have excellent hymns) and hanging out. I actually really enjoyed singing, even though I started it because I was bored in church and I wasn't allowed to not go to church.

My school has a pretty stellar chapel choir. Their Christmas concert was recorded and played on CBC on Christmas Eve and Christmas. We have this crazy amazing grammy-winning choir director who showed up and made the choir amazing. It means you have to have some singing chops prior to joining the choir. I was intimidate by that, so I was too afraid to audition for it.

Because that choir got competitive, the Concert Collective on campus decided to establish another choir, more for developing skills. I went to an audition (with the extremely attractive new choir director, son of the first grammy-winning director) and after ten minutes of highly embarrassing singing by myself, I was deemed a soprano and invited to the first rehearsal, which is this afternoon! I'm very excited! It's one more thing on the busy 3 hours of my Friday afternoons, but I am too psyched to back out.

Also, Phil is coming to visit me this weekend, and it's Saf's birthday today! Happy Birthday Saf! It's going to be a good weekend.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Phone death

Yesterday, my phone gave up the ghost. After two years of loyal service, of two long distance relationships and countless homesick calls to my mom, after 600+ days of waking me up with its friendly chime, my Samsung slider could not go on any longer.

It was sad. I was just starting to like the thing. It had spunk, and a cute animation while making calls. I enjoyed the slide more than I thought I would - It worked as a nervous tick to play with and an easy snooze button on my alarm.

I had an afternoon off, so I took a few minutes and went down to the Rogers store. "It's broken," I said sadly, "the screen is broken."

"Sorry," the man told me, "we could fix it, but it's not worth it."

The phone is old, and the battery was going. I had been thinking about moving on. In fact, I'd been thinking about making the move to a smartphone.

A Blackberry, to be precise. I have thought about an iPhone, or been told I should, but I am not big on the touch screen right now (maybe I'll get over it eventually, or in our future age of tablet PCs or whatever. Maybe I'll be a hopeless romantic with buttons, just like I snail mail now). I would like to get my email on my phone, and it'd be pretty nifty to get Facebook and Twitter on my phone. I talked to Rogers, and after changing things around, it would only cost about 10-15 bucks more per month than I currently pay. And buying a new Blackberry would cost the same as buying a new phone to replace my dead one.

I guess the indecision that thrives in me is making it hard for me to make a decision. Will having email on my phone freak me out? Or will it be convenient? I will be able to get more work shifts, since I get shifts by responding to emails about open shifts, but that's a minor detail.

Does anyone have any advice for me?

Sunday, 17 January 2010

On journalism and climate change

The Sunday Edition on CBC has started a new segment called "Mediaphiles" which will "look at how journalists are doing, at reporting the stories". This week they looked at climate change reporting today. He talked with Margaret Wente - who seems to be everyone on CBC these days - and someone else (who I will add in here as soon as the Sunday Edition updates its website and reminds me of his name), and the discussion was definitely one worth having.

Things are slipping through the cracks when it comes to reporting on climate change and on science in general. Reporters aren't given enough time to look fully into a story, to read all the things they need to read, ask the people they need to ask, and really get a hold on the story to report it fully, which is the point, isn't it? They cited the example of those emails that hit the news late last year, about the so-called climate change conspiracy going on in the scientific community. No one really had time to take a real look at these emails until days later. Too often, reporters opt for a one side against the other model, in an effort to be fair. Often, the truth is found somewhere in the middle, and the nuances are the important part.

Margaret Wente said:

"We need smarter news editors and news managers. For years and years people assumed there's one basic truth and that's the end of the questions, but that's the beginning of the questions. It takes a really good critical thinker. "

Everyone agreed we need dedicated science reporters and they need the time to really look into the stories they tell, particularly with something so heated (pardon the pun) as climate change. But will we really get that these days when most media outlets seem to be going the other way? Will the real investigative work be left to bloggers?

Saturday, 16 January 2010

a further reflection on the theme of time (which seems to pop up a lot in my blog these days)

Today, this morning, I feel completely relaxed. The sun has pulled out from behind the clouds for a day, and the blue sky stretches over the warm quad. There's snow but it seems so ridiculous that there's snow on a beautiful, warm spring day that could be Ottawa in April.

I should be reading Dostoevsky, or something for my history of science classes. I have this morning off. Really, really off. According to my new calendar, I am not supposed to be doing anything at all until 1 pm. Until then, I sit on my bed with my computer, listening to podcasts and smelling the sun coming in the window.

If you're a Tegan and Sara fan, here's an interview they did with Jian Ghomeshi. My favourite part is right at the end when Tegan explains to Jian how she proactively dissuades herself from drunk calling/texting girls who are bad for her - she names them things like "Bad Idea" or "She's never going to call you back" in her contact list.

Friday, 15 January 2010

A waste of my time

One of my responsibilities here on campus as president of my residence is the kitchen. The students, in addition to the meal plans, are lucky enough to have access to a nice kitchen. There are some pots and pans, mostly donated, and some utensils, plates, glasses, etc. The oven works, the burners too, and there's a microwave and fridge.

Unfortunately, many people don't seem to get that they do not live at home where someone yelled at them to clean up their dishes, or their parents did it for them. They live at school, and sorry kid, but you gotta clean up after yourself.

Since the kitchen is my responsibility, I have to deal with the incredible mess in it. This year has been bad. It was always gross and filled with gross but it was the worst when, on Halloween, a drunk idiot smashed the microwave, sprinkling glass everywhere and rendering it useless. That was when I decided to close the kitchen.

It was locked for a month and a half with a sign on it saying "the kitchen has been closed due to vandalism and a total disrespect for the space". I cleaned the place all up, discarding more kinds of mould than I'd ever seen before. It was GROSS.

Over Christmas, the cleaning staff did an amazing job on the kitchen, something that's not really their job, and was amazing. After meeting with the Dean, I made a new kitchen rule: Any dirty dishes left overnight get thrown away. And open food in the fridge, likewise. The result will be either people will clean, or I'll throw out all the dishes. Too friggin bad.

Up until today it was nice. People cleaned things. I breathed happy sighs when I checked in on it daily and the Dean and I high fived. Today it was a mess. I went in, I threw away five dirty dishes, threw away some cooking supplies left out on the counter. I mopped the floor (where someone seemed to have poured icing down a wall) and peeled layers of YUCK off the table.

Please, idiots, please. Clean your friggin stuff up. This is so not my job.

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Keeping it together

So far, my plan to keep organised is working... I think.

It's kind of hard to measure success with this one. But I have noticed I've felt slightly less panicked. I've started using the calendar on my computer to write down all of my commitments; meetings, classes, work hours, dance rehearsals... It's all there. So when something new comes up, I add it to the list. Yes, it has promoted a different way of procrastination a little bit. For instance, instead of surfing Facebook or Twitter, I play with my calendar. Time actually spent 'playing', however, has declined steadily daily. So I feel like it will be OK.

Everything is colour coordinated, including notes of to-do lists. It really has taken a load off of my mind. I'm not trying to juggle everything in my mind anymore - it's all laid out for me, and little by little, I can let go of the juggling stress, and just do the things. Even having my detailed, organised to do lists for reading and assignments helps.

Although, writing out all of my deadlines for the semester is not removing any stress at all. It has probably added to my stress to see them all laid out like this. My deadlines are fairly spread out, which is good, but there's one week where I have 2 assignments, 1 midterm, and 1 oral presentation in 3 days. Did I mention it's the Monday-Wednesday after the dance show goes up? Yikes.

The dance show, by the way, is going to be HOT. I am having a blast with this, despite all the stress involved with the co-director/co-stage manager/co-set design/etc and that work. Just like last year, I'm remembering how happy dancing makes me. I'm not what I'd call a "real dancer"; I used to take classes for years when I was little, but quit around age 12. I'm not highly trained at all. But man do I love it.

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Christmas books

Books are one of my very favourite things to get as a gift, and I got some pretty great ones this year.

Eat, Pray, Love - I have heard about this one mostly from Ange, but I gather it has received a lot of acclaim and they're even turning it into a movie starring Julia Roberts. I like to read the book before I see the movie, and it looks pretty good from skimming a few pages.

The Grammar Girl's Devotional - like a page-a-day calendar, but in book format, this "devotional" gives a grammar tip every day. Good grammar is important and thinking about good grammar is also important. It'll help me brush up on my grammar skillz.

This Book is Broken - a history of the Broken Social Scene. The format is mostly quotes/dialogue from band members, but beyond that the book itself is beautiful, with tops of photos and posters, kind of scrapbook-style.

What is Stephen Harper Reading? - I'd heard a bit about this story before I got the book. Yann Martel, Canadian author of Life of Pi, sends a book to Stephen Harper every week with a letter of recommendation on the book's behalf. This book is a collection of those letters. Hey! Maybe Stepherino prorogued Parliament to catch up on some reading...

What books did you get/read over the holidays? Any recommendations for me?

Monday, 4 January 2010

Back in Halifax

I'm glad to be back in Halifax, after lots of travel drama. It seems that everyone had a terrible time flying to Halifax, probably due to backed-up weather. I spent 2.5 hours sitting on the tarmac, waiting for snow removal. Yuck.

So far, I've been to one class, which sucked. Due to a prof's parental leave (fair - his wife is about to have their fourth child. If I were her, I would want him to go on parental leave too), my class has been amalgamated with another class on sort of but not really the same thing. Bottom line: my class is temporarily in another program and I have a much lamer teacher.

After class, as part of my new resolution, I was supposed to spend the afternoon reading. I was actually all set... but then I realized, I have no reading right now. Nothing. I love the beginning of term. I got to go catch up with some friends instead. I was also supposed to go to the gym, but that fell by the wayside. The hot chocolate with marshmallows and whipped cream probably didn't help and probably had the opposite effect of the gym.

Dance Collective is ramping up for our show - I just went to my first rehearsal, and I'm very excited for it. I'm less excited to lose all of my free time. But for tonight, my morning class is canceled and the Wardroom is open and full of dance party. I am looking forward to a fun night. Tomorrow, I'll work.