Monday, June 30, 2003

Now that I think about it, I think the TV could easily be moved on the cart by 2 people. It's 2 blocks, 1 or 2 street crossings, both of them on side streets. There would be one instance of lifting (getting the TV onto the cart), and then it's just a matter of not letting it fall off the cart (which was, in fact, designed to hold a TV although not to transport one) and looking really silly while walking around. Anyone up for an adventure sometime within the next few days?
So my TV arrived at 12:13 today. No one was home at 12:13, so it will be at the post office tomorrow after 1:30 pm.

So unless someone can hook me up with a car and a person who can lift half of a 20" TV, I'll have to pay exorbitant amounts to some taxi driver. Or go to futureshop and convince their delivery guy to take a free 4 block round trip. Or, I suppose, wheel my TV cart down to the post office, but that seems rather silly.
How long does it take to stop talking like a teenager? I still pepper my speech with "like" and say "that sucks" even when I'm at work. I don't want to talk like this because I want to be taken seriously as a professional, but I can't help it. I wonder if these speech patterns will be permanent - maybe in a decade or so they will be taken as a demographic marker. But I'm not in contact with anyone who is in their late 20s or early 30s who spoke like a teenager when they were a teenager, so I can't do empirical research

I reach for a clip to put back a strand of hair that falls into my eyes, and the clip is red and sparkly. I look around for a clipboard and it has 4 years' worth of graffiti on it. As must as I try to pull off this grownup thing, my possessions betray me. And when I think I have it all under control, I refer to grownups in the third person.

Can't sleep. I'm glad Tuesday is a holiday. I'd be majorly stressing if tomorrow was the first day of a full week, but instead it's a little blip followed by a day off.

Sunday, June 29, 2003

There was once this website where you type in your city, and it generates a sort of doll that's appropriately dressed for the current weather in your city. Does anyone know what I'm talking about and know the URL or what it might be called? I wanted to see what kind of doll it would generate when it was 42 degrees here, but I couldn't find the site!
It was a normal looking summer evening, but an ominous blue-grey cloud was looming on the horizon. I saw this cloud, and decided to stay in instead of running to the grocery store. A few moments later it started to rain. As the rain fell, visibility was reduced by about 50%. The wind picked up, and the rain started falling even harder, mixed in with the occasional hail. Now I could only see one block from my 14th storey window. Suddenly a huge violent gust blows straight towards me. I slam the window closed as it throws hundreds of hail stones against my walls and windows. I can't even see the edge of my balcony, and I wonder if I'm in the middle of a tornado or something. Then this blast of hail passes, the rain stops, and the sun comes back out. The only evidence left is the puddles on the ground and the water dripping down the side of the building. The whole thing took less than 15 minutes, and if I had entered the grocery store right before it started I wouldn't even have known what had happened.

I hope no one at Pride got hurt by all the hail!
I have 1.5 cups of leftover hollandaise sauce. WTF can I do with 1.5 cups of hollandaise sauce?

Saturday, June 28, 2003

White wines are meant to be drunk chilled. Red wines are meant to be drunk at room temperature. Why don't they invent whites that taste better at room temperature and reds that taste better chilled?
I saw yet another ad where they discussed campaign fundraising in the US as though whoever raises the most money automatically wins. Can someone explain to me why this is so important? I mean, I do realize that election campaigns are expensive. I do realize that you need money for all the travelling around that is involved. But these articles were talking about fundraising as though the voters automatically vote for whoever raises the most money. This doesn't make much sense to me. If a reasonable campaign can be run for $10 million, could $100 million really earn more votes? I always thought the candidates had plenty of forums to air their platforms that are of little to no cost to the candidate - websites, televised debates, media interviews, etc. What could an extra $100 million possibly buy that would make world media declare that this person is obviously going to win BECAUSE he has an extra $100 million? Bribes?
I have no problem with putting a clause in the same-sex marriage legislation that will allow religious institutions not to perform same-sex marriages if they don't want to. But it would be so much classier not to mention the genders or sexual orientations of the happy couple when legislating this. Instead of specifying that this is intended specifically for the case of same-sex marriage, they should put a more broadly-worded clause that a religious institution does not have to marry a couple if they feel that performing this particular marriage would not conform to the moral or community standards of their religion. Yes, this does allow the religious institutions to not perform marriage for a myriad of other reasons, but there are always civil marriages, and why would you want to be married by a religious institution that doesn't support your marriage anyway?

Friday, June 27, 2003

One thing I love about the professional world is that people assume I'm perfectly capable of doing basic research. In school they'd tell us to do our research, but then they'd tell us where to look, and in class they'd tell us what we should have learned. At work they just assume I can find stuff out.

For example, during my research for a medical text, I found out that a certain generic name of obscure (to me) anti-seizure medication corresponded with a certain brand name. When I mentioned this, no one was surprised. Then I found a list of all doctors of a certain gender, specialty, gender, and geographic region. Again, no one was surprised. The medication name took about 20 seconds and the list of doctors about 2 minutes, but in school that would have been considered going above and beyond, almost to the point of showing off. In the real world, it just means I'm not stupid and I know how to use Google. It's very refreshing.
Things I need advice on:

1. I have spinach dip, but the flavour is more intense than I thought it would be. What's a good thing to dip in intense spinach dip?

2. I need some colours that would look good on me. I have dark brown hair and pale green eyes. My skin is . . . the best way I can describe this is pale olive. It has yellow undertones, doesn't have any tan, but it doesn't get completely pale either. I look really good in bright red and greens that match my eyes, and I look bad in white, pastels, neutral colours. What other colours should I try?
This week went pretty well. I'm not as exhausted as I thought I'd be. I should be getting a TV within the next few days. Don't have much else to say right now.

Thursday, June 26, 2003

Ooh look, a new blogger template! And now for some non-cohesive thoughts:

- On the subway, there was a lady reading a newspaper. Next to her, there was a lady with a baby in her lap. Newspaper Lady has the extra sections of her paper in her lap. The baby reaches over, grabs one of the sections, throws it on the floor, and giggles madly. Newspaper Lady picks it up, laughs, and puts it back on her lap. The baby grabs it again and starts waving it around, then throws it on the floor. Newspaper lady is highly amused, so she picks up the paper, rolls it up in a tube, and hands it to the baby. The baby bops her on the head with it.

- In front of me in line in the grocery store there were two middle-aged men bickering over the fact that one of their mothers had taken it upon herself to order their wedding cake without consulting with them. I love this city! I also love the fact that in one year, this won't be anecdote worthy.

- Working on medical texts makes me a psychosomatic hypercondriac. Today I've diagnosed myself with chronic depression, fibromylagia, and irritable bowel syndrome, just from reading about them too much.

- This morning I was tired and grumpy. I had my brekkie but it didn't wake me up. So on the way to work I went to Second Cup, and got a cup of Early Edition coffee. By the time I got to the office, I was a genius. I was plowing through texts, reading difficult handwriting, everything was working. So tomorrow I'm going to get another cup of this coffee and see if it has the same effect tomorrow.

- My cooling strategy: I leave my curtains closed during the day so the apartment doesn't heat up. I open the windows at night if and only if it's cooler outside than inside. When I'm home, I set the air conditioner to a level that will make me comfortable. But when I'm out, I set it as cold as it will go, so the apartment will get cooler overall. I know this sounds like a waste of energy, but I know that one day my building's air conditioning will die at 5:30 when everyone gets home and turns up the air. So I'm being prepared by pre-cooling as much as possible

Tuesday, June 24, 2003

I'd like to remind these people that being married does not automatically mean having children. I find it very disconcerting when people of my exact demographic don't even consider the notion getting married and not having children might be an option.
Good day today. I feel like people at work care about making me feel at home in the unit and care about whether I'm comfortable at work and have everything I need. I can get random stuff for my office (a wheel mouse, sticky notes, a thingy to make my monitor higher) just by asking and it's like it's no trouble at all. This is very new to me. I'm also starting to get random internal spam - emails sent to everyone on the list - and that makes me feel like I belong. Like there was an internal spam to tell us that archiving is down and might not be back up today. So I knew that archiving was down and worked around it without having to ask and without anyone having to walk in and tell me!

The office is way over-air-conditioned. Today I was wearing a t-shirt, a long skirt, sandals, and a sweater, and I was FREEZING! But then I remember that it's 33 degrees outside. Thirty-three degrees and I'm uncomfortably cold. Bliss

Monday, June 23, 2003

And now for another Great Idea that's Impossible to Implement and Probably Illegal:

Every time any particular nation has an election for leader or ruling party, the rest of the world should get a vote. They should come up with some way of measuring global sentiment, find out which leader or ruling party the world would prefer, and give the world's favourite a 1% bonus. That way the citizens would get to vote for the leader, but if there's a tie the rest of the world gets to break the tie.
Why are people blindly unquestioningly believing that the atkin's diet is god? Don't people know that it was popular in the 70s and then people stopped using it? Don't they think that people stopped using it for a reason? How can otherwise perfectly intelligent people get brainwashing into thinking that perfectly healthy foods that have been staples centuries, like bread and potatoes, are now EVIL and UNHEALTHY? I mean, protein is wonderful and all, but so are BOWEL MOVEMENTS!
Stuff I Learned On My First Day Of Work That I Can Blog:

- It takes me 20 minutes to get to work, door to door, including a stop to return a library book. Not too bad.
- You can get static cling on your skirt even when you aren't wearing stockings.
- Even if you have air conditioning at home, it's a good idea to close the curtains on the windows of your 14th storey apartment that is in direct sunlight after 12 noon before you leave in the morning on days when it's going up to 31 with a humidex of 34. GAH run on sentence!
- Even if you only have to be outdoors for one block, as you walk from your air-conditioned building to the air-conditioned mall (which connects directly to the air-conditioned subway which connects directly to your air-conditioned office building), it's better to dress for the heat and keep a sweater in your over-air-conditioned office.

Other random weirdness: I keep finding the lids to water bottles all over my apartment, but I don't have any water bottles that are missing lids.

Sunday, June 22, 2003

Help me brainstorm! I want to buy a TV. I don't have a car. It looks like I could only get a TV delivered during the week when I'm not home, which would mean they'd leave me a note and I'd have to go somewhere to pick it up anywhere. Can anyone think of any better ideas than go buy a TV and then call a cab? Does anyone know any places in TO where you can buy a TV and have them deliver it on the weekend?
So my grad was a bit disappointing. They grouped us by degree instead of by discipline, so I didn't get to sit with the people I've shared classes with for the last three years. Because of the risk of SARS, we didn't shake hands with anyone, so I didn't get to shake hands with my profs because profs aren't going to stand up for the honour of giving their students a dignified nod. (Although the director of the department I used to work for was in the audience, and he shook hands with me on my way back to my seat). And they didn't announce with your name if you'd earned First Class, which was disappointing because I'd unexpectedly earned First Class and I wanted the world to know!

I couldn't find any of the profs I wanted to talk to after the ceremony, although I did find our department's secretary, who has helped me at least as much as the profs did.

Now I look around at all I have to do before tomorrow and cringe.

Saturday, June 21, 2003

Bad emotional state. Too much too fast, I guess. Bluh. Seriously considering just going to sleep and starting over again tomorrow.

Thursday, June 19, 2003

Got paid today. Yummy!

I can't believe my 2 weeks here are almost over! This time tomorrow I'll be on a train! And I'm just starting to feel comfortable with my temporary life here. Of course, it helps that I'm not paying for a thing right now.

But tomorrow I get to go on the train, so for 4 hours I can just sit and relax and drink and eat and drink and watch cows. And if cows get boring, I can watch Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon.

Wednesday, June 18, 2003

Imposter syndrome. Quite a few people in my position have this - the feeling that someone's one day going to realize that I'm not really a grownup and say "What are you doing here? You're just a little kid! Go home to your parents!"

The strange thing is the grownups in my life either don't remember this or have never experienced it. I describe this feeling and ask how long it takes for it to go away, and they're all "What are you talking about?"

Tuesday, June 17, 2003

I think this means we've won
Holy fuck I'm tired. So tonight I'll listen to the show and then go straight to bed. Then I just have to get through tomorrow and thursday, and on friday right after we finish I get to go on the train, which is a treat (even though I'm still having after-dinner liqueur angst). Then straight to bed and graduate on Saturday. Then Sunday is off. Then the next week...OMG full-time work starts. FOREVER! GAH!

Monday, June 16, 2003

They say the average Canadian lives at home with their parents until they are 27. This means that for everyone who left for the last time at 20 like I did, there's someone else who stayed until age 34.

I heard some of my colleagues at training talking about undergrad students in our program who were in their early 20s doing their first degree; they were talking about them in 3rd person and as though it was an unusual phenomenon. I found this odd. It is a small program and a professional degree, but it's a BA program that would certainly have great appeal to people of suitable talents. Then one of them mentioned that she'd been playing her musical instrument for one year less than I've been alive. I reacted with surprise because I hadn't realized that she was older than me, but when I told the group my age they were surprised that I had fallen into a career at such a young age, and that I have my own apartment at such a young age.

One of the training people mentioned to me that one of my colleagues has known that they wanted to work in this field since the age of 18. I thought back a bit, and realized that I was first drawn to this field at age 16, when it was mentioned at a university recruitment presentation and it hit me - "I could so do that!" The person I was talking to was even more shocked by this news.

Now I know that I've landed here more through a series of strokes of luck than through any planning or goal-setting or merit on my part. I know I'm not in my lifelong career, but rather doing what I'm going to do until I figure out what I really want to do. I know that one or two different decisions by various people I've met would have put me somewhere far less comfortable.

What surprises me is that other people are so surprised that I've managed to land on my feet. I know not everyone does - and there's certainly no shame in that, life is difficult and complicated and I haven't figured out how to handle it myself - but I've always thought what I've done is simply what you're supposed to do. You're supposed to decide what you want to do in high school, study that in university, graduate, get a job and an apartment. The grownups have always told me that this is what you're supposed to do, and then they're surprised when I do it. If it's so rare and unusual that people are surprised when your life unfolds this way, why is this what is expected?
Today is pretty decent. Learned about government workings and how to handle secret documents. Mmmm...secret documents...

After we let out for the day I went down to the water and read for a couple of hours. Made decent progress reading, and saw boats and ducks and red-winged blackbirds and some beautiful doggies and watched a seagull try to eat a giant piece of green pepper. No bunnies today though :(

Ate some leftover Four Seasons pizza (eggplant, asparagus, mozzarella, feta, onion, red pepper, garlic, no sauce. Nummy!), now I'm enjoying wine and Monty Python, and then I have some kind of chocolate cake or brownie to enjoy later. If I get tired within the next two hours, it will be a perfectly satisfactory day.

I also heard that it takes people 6 months to get used to a new full-time schedule. That's quite a relief for me - I've never been able to adjust to full-time before, but that's because I've never been on this kind of schedule for more then 4 months. So I won't be wandering around in a daze for the rest of my life.

I'm nervous about tomorrow, but I can't write why here.

Sunday, June 15, 2003

I just noticed that the ads at the top of my blog seem to be co-ordinating with the content of my blog. I never noticed this before because I have Webwasher at home, but it's excellent work. Good work Google! (At least I think they're Google-served ads). The next paragraph is just a random attempt to see if I can influence the ads.

Enlarge your penis! Penis penis penis! How can I enlarge my penis? I wish my penis were bigger! Penis penis penis!
I went for a walk by the water today. I was walking around this isolated little path, all alone, and I saw this little bunny hopping along. It was tiny and brown with perky ears and a fluffy white tail. I haven't seen a wild bunny in years, so I got all excited and said "Oooh, hello bunny!" I sat down to watch the bunny hop around a bit, all happy like a little kid, and then when it hopped away under a bush I said "Bye bye bunny!" Then I stood up and saw there was a guy suntanning nearby looking at me like I'm psycho. (I saw like 4 more bunnies in that area too! I'm going back there to sit in the sun and read and watch bunnies!)

I watched LOTR yesterday and today, and it's one of those movies that you can just look at, regardless of plot. Of course, it's a decent epic too. I don't think any of the actors involved are sexy, but it's surprising how many of the characters are sexy. Aragorn is sexy, even though he has facial hair and I don't like facial hair. Frodo is sexy even though he has disgusting feet. Legolas is sexy, even though he's blond and I don't find blonds attractive. I didn't find any of the characters in the book sexy, I don't find the actors sexy, but somehow in the production of this movie they got a group of very sexy characters together. Not late-night fantasy sexy, but the kind of sexy you just look at and go "Mmmmmm"

Now I've exceeded my monthly quota of the word sexy and lost the respect of my readership.
Damn I'm hungry! I thought i had all kinds of food this morning, but now it feels like I have nothing. I guess I'll have to sacrifice a microdinner (I found them! They did have them at the depanneur, but they were at the bottom of one of those freezers that opens from the top, next to the ice cream). I bought quite a bit of food, but I go through it fast because it's not worth it to buy staple foods. For example, I'm currently craving pickles, but it wouldn't be worth it to buy a whole jar since i'm leaving on Friday.
I'd order a pizza, but I don't feel like waiting.

So it's instant micro food now. Tomorrow I go to the depanneur and buy eggs and a small quantity of bread, perhaps hamburger buns. I think I'll splurge on something like peanut butter even though I'll never use it up, and perhaps on a pizza tomorrow night to eat in front of the Simpsons with some wine. (Wine is more expensive here, and the selection is completely different!)

I found a good lunch place where you can get practically anything, so I'll be taking advantage of my comp and indulging in salad bar + something else for lunch every day. Then Subway for an after-work snack and cook or reheat something for dinner. I'm paying for everything in cash here (I usually debit grocery purchases) so it does hurt a bit to see my wallet empty so quickly, but I have to remind myself that I'm just spending my comp. Hopefully it will hurt less when I get my first paycheque.

Saturday, June 14, 2003

I'm surprised how shabby this neighbourhood is. It's all small, crumbly, older houses, and any stores and such are in houses, not in their own buildings. When you get near the big shiny government buildings, there are food courts full of every type of fast food, small chain clothing stores selling generic business-casual clothes, and a street life full of tiny bistros and cafes, but this looks like it's all for the government employees. On the weekends, it's a ghost town near the government buildings, and even in the neighbourhood there aren't many people walking around. I'd thought that a neighbourhood so close to the government buildings would become somewhat yuppified, but that hasn't happened yet (I don't know how long the gov't buildings have been here). What I see here is poverty. Not student poverty. Not "young professionals living with a roommate in a tiny apartment in a gritty neighbourhood because of housing costs" poverty. Not gang war poverty. Not new immigrant poverty (surprisingly, most of the low-level service jobs here are not filled by immigrants, but rather by locals of all ages who look like they've been here a while). It looks like the poverty of the uneducated, although my French is not good enough to confirm this. It looks like a shabby neighbourhood of those who, despite probably being fluently bilingual, never completed enough education to work in the big shiny government buildings and live wherever the local yuppies live. It's the kind of poverty that has always scared me the most, because I've always interpreted my main marketable skill as bilingualism. So why can I earn a living doing what I do and these other people can't? I can't answer that question.

Of course, I might be wrong about the whole thing. This is just my interpretation of what I see, and I don't know enough about the local politics and culture to read this correctly.
I must confuse the cleaning people. When they come into my suite, they see that I've been reading the Globe and Mail, watching RDI, drinking wine, wearing office clothes, working on a computer. Then they see three stuffed animals on the bed.

Friday, June 13, 2003

I just saw this horrible commercial! A little boy pulls all the stuffing out of his stuffed aminals and sticks them on the ends of some golf clubs. It's supposed to be cute and funny, but it's horrible! Think of the poor stuffed aminals!
The closed Parliament for the summer today. Looks like same-sex marriage won't be delegalized before Sept 15. Although it looks like politics are on our side, it is all too marginal. So the mission for the summer is to convince our Liberal representatives that public opinion is in favour of same-sex marriage
To take a tangent from the current discussion:

1. Do you wear shoes in your own home?
2. Do you prefer visitors to your home to remove their shoes?
3. When you go to someone else's home, do you prefer to wear your shoes?

I don't wear shoes at home, because that's the way I was raised. However, since I now live alone, I might walk a few steps into the apartment wearing shoes since there are no parents around to yell at me for stepping off the front mat.

I prefer people to remove their shoes, unless they are men who aren't wearing socks because man feet are icky. But if they don't remove their shoes, I'll just shut up and vacuum when they leave.

When I'm in someone else's home, I tend to remove my shoes automatically because, again, that's how I was raised. But in the summer, when I like to wear a skirt and sandals, I prefer not to remove my shoes because I hate being barefoot in other people's houses. If it's a situation where I know I will have to remove my shoes in a house in the summer, rather than being able to innocently wander in while still wearing them, I angst about how I can include socks in my outfit, get into the house in my shoes, or avoid the event.

4:30. They finally say "Merci, bon weekend." Grab my jacket and purse, and leave the room and head to the elevators as quickly as I can without looking like I'm bolting. Drop in at Subway for a sandwich to take home with me. Button my coat, open my umbrella, and walk into the pouring rain. Drop in at the depanneur. Find, in the very back corner, a few cans of soup, one of which is vegetarian. Back to hotel, go upstairs, collect Globe and Mail and La Presse. Drop purse, set umbrella to dry, take off boots, hang up wet coat. Hang up "Do not disturb" sign on the door, lock deadbolt and chain. Turn off alarm clock. Turn on TV to my normal RDI background noise. Fire up computer. Turn on phones. Put on soup. Take off makeup and apply zit cream and moisturizer while taking in all communication that has occured since last night. Soup simmers gently in background. I have TV, internet, DVDs, books, more than enough food for the evening and a depanneur across the street, and no obligations for the next 64 hours.


I guess an advantage to a full-time schedule is that it makes weekends so much more special.

Thursday, June 12, 2003

I know I promised daily blogging, but I have nothing to say today.

Woke up, went in to training, learned about the documentation services available in the morning, had lunch with the girls (it's hard to get vegetarian pizza without olives around here. Also, it's strange to hear the people who say "au fur et au mesure" also say "le lunch"), worked on computer "training" in the afternoon, got some take-out fries, went home to the hotel, ate fries, talked to my mommy, intook various forms of media, talked to mi cielito, had a glass of wine, now I'm blogging this, then I'm going to do some homework type reading and go to sleep.

I guess I should clarify what my sociolinguistic research a few days back was all about. My mother says housecoat. I absorbed the word bathrobe from various media, so I assumed housecoat was a one-off. Then I heard it said by someone my age and got all confused, so I was thinking maybe it was a geographical thing. But further empirical research suggests that's it's a generational thing - the older generations call it a housecoat, and my generation either inherits the word housecoat from their parents or absorbs the (I assume American) word bathrobe from media (which, I think, at that age is children's books). And thanks to the people who suggested dressing gown, because I never realized that that's what a dressing gown is. I always associated it with some kind of old-fashioned garment, but now I can honestly say I own a dressing gown.

Wednesday, June 11, 2003

Why didn't our newly legal same-sex marriage make Fark? Why didn't it make Salon's news wire? I know it isn't finalized yet, but same-sex marriage is currently legal in North America, people!

My thoughts (seriously) upon hearing what Michael Lishner does for a living: "I'm surprised he came out as a crown attorney."
The question currently being debated: "Does consenting to sex mean consenting to parenthood?"

My opinion: Ideally, a het couple who doesn't want kids should fully communicate and adhere to their birth control standards. They should also decide in advance what they would do in case of pregnancy. If the couple does not agree ahead of time what to do in case of pregnancy, the male partner will have to accept that the woman has the veto. After all, any parental rights he can claim she also has, but it's also her body.

Some guy just said that we're getting to the point where we need a pre-sexual agreement. Why is that a bad thing?
I wish I had a camera, because there are two things I want to take a picture of. The first is my suite, so I can show everyone how cool it is, and keep a record of what the couch looks like (because I like the couch and I might want to acquire one like that). The second is the front page of today's Globe and Mail. Even though I don't agree with the phrasing, it's a beautiful thing.
Things I wonder from watching RDI:

- How come in provincial legislatures the MPPs can address each other directly, but in the House of Commons they have to address the Speaker?
- What's up with Giant Moving Day in Montreal? I understand the concept of everyone's leases expiring at once, but do they all get kicked out when their leases expire? I always thought you can just sign your lease for another year! Does this mean I have to find a new home in February?
People use the "au fur et au mesure" construction A LOT around here! I'm glad I learned it in 3rd year, or I would be totally lost! I always thought it was too formal to use verbally, but I hear it at least twice a day.

My face is not used to wearing makeup. I hardly used it during all of May, and now when I get home I can't wait to take my makeup off. So why do I wear it? Because I don't feel professional with a bare face. Perhaps I don't look completely professional in makeup (my "design" is still rather youngish, and probably gives the impression of lack of self-confidence), but I need to believe that my zits are covered and the darkness around my eyes is hidden, or I feel like everyone sees me as being the nervous insecure nine-year-old I feel like.
I must look like an anglophone. More often than not, when I approach the person behind the counter without saying a word, they greet me in English. I haven't been here long enough for people to recognize me as an anglo, I'm not wearing a nametag, and I'm going for "professional yet nondescript" with my clothing and accessories, none of which have visible brand names. I take these English greetings as a gift, (after taking care to make sure I don't have anything on me that identifies me with my professional affiliation), but so as not to come across as the Ugly Ontarian I affect a vaguely Eastern European accent. I do this in slow and precise English, to which I systematically add phonetic features of German, Russian and Polish. Worst case I'm taken as an Ugly Ontarian, which I am. Best case I'm taken as a random allophone who is using the official language of her choice (in which she seems to be fluent).

You have to cross the road differently in this neighbourhood. The cars don't seem to think they need to let pedestrians cross. They aren't disgustingly aggressive as in some European cities, but at a 4-way stop it doesn't seem to occur to them to let the pedestrians go first. In my neighbourhood, pedestrians seem to have right-of-way at intersections on back streets. But then my neighbourhood has enough of a street life on the main streets that people are always running across the street, and cars on the main streets expect pedestrians to dart out at any time. No one goes to the intersections to cross Yonge Street, they just wait a couple of minutes at the curb until there's a break in traffic, or until a few other people have accumulated near them at the curb, and then just run across. This behaviour translates to the back streets, where everyone assumes the cars at the stop signs will let the pedestrians across. But in the neighbourhood where I am now, one main street is a sort of cross-town expressway that doesn't have its own street life, another contains big government buildings that empty at 5 and leave the streets abandoned. The back streets contain random slightly shabby-looking houses (picture the type of house that you could find both in the north end of Hamilton and in a formerly propserous Newfoundland fishing village). There are buses, but this is the terminus of the routes, and they seem to serve only the government buildings. So even crossing tiny streets just block from bus routes, you still can't assume that the cars will expect they have to yield.

Tuesday, June 10, 2003

Mad props to the Ontario Court of Appeal! (I hope that's the proper name, I'm following the news in French and working without terminology banks).

And a reminder to our federal Liberal representatives that their actions on this issue over the next few days will win or lose my vote.
Here's a mission for Torontonians who find themselves travelling:

1. Acquire a SARS mask.
2. Put it in your purse.
3. When someone says "OMG, you're from Toronto, do you have SARS, LOLOLOLOL?", say "No, but I have a spare mask if you're worried." and offer them the mask.
Bad experience this morning. there was a you-know-what in my bedroom. I didn't have anything to kill it with but I had to. So i did it with kleenex for the first time. I used literally half the box of kleenex, but i did it. it was bad. i panicked. I'm still jumpy. I don't know if i'll be able to sleep tonight. This is jumpy and bad and icky.

Monday, June 09, 2003

Randomness from the first 24 hours of my trip:

- There are so many cows along the 401 corridor! It's so funny! And in some fields, every cow has a baby, so they're walking around in these matching big+little pairs. MOOOOO!!!!!
- VIA 1 is very cool. In my 4 hour ride, they offered me 2 rounds of salty snacks, 2 rounds of alcoholic beverages, 2 rounds of water, and a 3 course dinner with wine and coffee. Plus comfy seats with lots of legroom, free coffee or water or pop and newspapers in this cool comfy lounge beforehand (no standing in line), and men in suits to help you with your luggage.
- VIA 1 attendants are like snooty butlers. But replace the English accent with a French accent (but with flawless English).
- My hotel is also very cool. My suite is almost as big as my aparment, has separate bedrooms and living rooms, and a kitchen that's fully stocked with kitchen tools! Very cool! I'll mention the name when I'm not longer physically here.
- Neither of my local depanneurs sells frozen instant dinners! WTF kind of depanneur is that? They both have beer and wine, but I can't find any frozen instant dinners, instant noodles, or salad in a bag. What am I supposed to do for convenience food?
- I was exposed to so little Quebec French at school! I had French French, Franco-Ontarien French, African French, Acadian French, but I never quite picked up on joual, so now I'm having trouble understanding some of the people around me.
- I went to Subway to get a sandwich. I ordered in French (because, after all, this is Quebec). The lady behind me ordered in obviously anglophone English. I mentally noted that I can order in English at this place, and proceeded to pay. The cashier speaks to me in English. I assume it's because of my accent, so I pay and collect my food. As I walk off, I hear the cashier speak to the woman behind me in French. WTF? Is this the Opposite Cashier?

Saturday, June 07, 2003

This is sociolinguistic research, so I'd like everyone to comment please.

When I get out of the shower, I put on a white terrycloth garment that has long sleeves, goes down to my ankles, wraps around my body and ties closed around the waist. This sort of garment is a key part of your wardrobe in student res because it's the only decent thing for walking to the shower in. A stereotypical hausfrau wears this thing with curlers and slippers as she drinks her morning coffee, and sometimes they provide them in hotel rooms (and sometimes people steal them).

Please post in the comments with a) what you would call this garment, and b) your geographical location, if I don't know it already. For the anonymous lurkers, your name isn't necessary.

Friday, June 06, 2003

In my neighbourhood pet store, there are these tiny little bunnies that they call micro-bunnies. Apparently they're full-grown at 4 pounds. They're so cute! I want one! I don't know if micro-bunny is the actual name of these rabbits, because a Google search returns mostly a band. They're so adorable though! If you're ever in my neighbourhood, go to the pet store in the mall and take a look!
I have a mission for anyone who will be in Toronto while I'm away: keep an eye on the ads in the TTC and find out if they'll be doing a weekly pass during the last full week in June. It would be really useful for me if they did.
Why is the Statue of Liberty called the Statue of Liberty? I mean, why is the word Statue in there? We know it's a statue, we can see it's a statue. But if you referred to it as Liberty, even if the context was perfectly clear, people would look at you funny. Is there any other statue that's actually named "The Statue of [something]."? Some statues are called "Monument" or "Memorial", but I can't think of any that are regularly refered to with Statue in the name.

Thursday, June 05, 2003

I was just reading a friend's LJ. This friend inexplicably went on hiatus 2 months ago, and is now back sans explanation. What I learned from this is it's REALLY ANNOYING when someone goes on hiatus and comes back sans explanation. So here's what happened over the last 6 months. It's intentionally oblique, so if you don't fully understand that's probably on purpose.

I stopped blogging because I had foolishly written something that got someone else in trouble. I stopped writing because I figured I had to lay low for a while, and I nuked the blog because that was the only way to destroy the evidence. The blog looked upgefukt for months because that's what a blog with zero content looks like, and at that point in history you couldn't delete a blog.

I finished classes at the beginning of April and moved out of res into my very own apartment. It's a nice, clean, tiny place in one of my favourite Toronto neighbourhoods. Rent is atrociously expensive by most standards but not too bad by Toronto standards. That's all I'll say here, but if you want to know more (for legit reasons, like if you're in the market for a Toronto apartment yourself) I'll entertain questions privately.

At the end of April, I finished my exams and my previous job ended. I was lucky enough to be promptly offered a new job that has reasonable pay and benefits and excellent security. I leave for training next week and then start work 2 weeks after that, so for the month of May I've basically been on vacation. but I'm working in the field my degree is in, and I'm working with the organization that I interned with, but I can't say anything more.

That isn't to say that this all came easily - the apartment company didn't want to give me the apartment because they work on a strict 1/3 rule, so my apartment is technically in my father's name until I start work, although I'm paying for everything. I'm not proud of having done that and I hope I never have to resort to that again, but it did save me moving back under my parents' roof and then trying to apartment-hunt and job-hunt long-distance.

The job situation didn't come easily either. I had been informed that no appropriate positions existed for me in Toronto with this organization, so I was job-hunting outside my academic field (in the field that I paid my way through university in). In between my final shifts with my previous employer and finishing off exams and final projects, I had been going through the purgatory of agencies and interview, with interviewers who would take phone calls during the interview or accuse me of being over-educated because I have a BA or act as though there's something wrong with me because I wasn't being instantly promoted with my former employer (even when I explained the economics of work-study and the fact that there were more grads than total 2nd-level positions and, at that point, no one was leaving any higher positions anyway). Then one day I received a phone call offering me this position that I've accepted, so I was very relieved when that happened.

Hope this clears things up.
Why isn't anyone questioning George W. Bush's qualifications to be a peacemaker in the middle east?

Why isn't anyone asking where Saddam Hussein is?

Get on it, liberal media!

Wednesday, June 04, 2003

I need book recommendations! By the time I get back from my trip I'll be through my big list of library books (except for a few titles where I'm approxmiately #2000 in the hold queue so I'll have to wait a few more months), so I'd appreciate any titles you (yes you personally, the person reading this) have enjoyed.

I also need good black eyeliner recommendations, but that's neither here nor there.
Yonge&Bloor station, Yonge line, northbound platform, near the DWA. There's this light on the wall. It's one of those square lights that you often see on the outside walls of schools with an orange halogen bulb. This light was indoors, on a subway platform. It was glowing red. I was looking at it, wondering why there's a red light on the subway platform. Then it turns white and starts blinking. I'm increasingly curious, but the train I'm in starts moving and that's all I see of this light. I wonder what it's for?
The Star is asking reader's what they would have done in Hillary Rodham Clinton's position.

That's an interesting question. I don't know what I would have done, but in this case it's much more complicated than that sort of situation would normally be. Every marriage is different, and every cuckolded spouse has a different blend of mixed feelings. But in this case, Mrs. Clinton not only had to consider the elements of her marriage, but also the political implications. On one hand, someone in that position might well want to ruin her husband's career. On the other hand, she did support her husband's politics, and certainly didn't want to give the right wing a reason to come into power.

I have no idea what I would have done in that position, but I don't envy her.

Tuesday, June 03, 2003


I didn't sleep at all last night, I napped only for a couple of hours this afternoon, I had alcohol and tranquillith� before bed, I was in bed around 1:30 maybe, read for a bit and then turned off the light (establishing routine and all that) and the closed my eyes and relaxed my mind. I lay there for at least 2 hours, and no sleep! I need to sleep. My eyes are tired, my face is puffy with exhaustion, and I feel just inches away from coming down with a cold. I'm doing everything right, but I can't fall asleep and I don't know why!

It seems like the only time I ever do fall asleep is when I convince myself that it's almost morning anyway, so I may as well just lie down for a minute and wait for morning. But this is not good. Next week I have to be on a normal 9-5 type schedule, and here I am sitting up awake until sunrise!

I'm hoping that after a couple of days of sleepwalking through a normal schedule, I'll just come home one evening, collapse exhausted, and wake up the next morning. But this didn't work last summer; that might have been because of the heat, but what if it wasn't? What if I'm doomed the rest of my life to be stumbling through the five-day work week on lack of sleep, trying not to nod off in my office, then sleeping through my weekends?

Monday, June 02, 2003

So my staying awake all day plan didn't work out too well. I'd managed to finish all my errands before noon, so I had a nap in the afternoon, but I think I'll still be able to fall asleep at night tonight.

I'm still so nervous about travelling and work. I hate situations where I don't know what's going to happen! Logically I know that I just have to show up and someone will take me in hand and everything will be okay, and even if I mess up a bit it will be forgiven because they've already put so much time and effort into me. But I just can't not be nervous! Do you outgrow this or will I be like this forever?
I just found out that my local post office is located where Montgomery's Tavern (where the barfight that was Canada's only civil war happened) used to stand. What an odd coincidence. I live just 2 blocks away from Montgomery's Tavern, and I used to go to middle school right under the cliffs where Mackenzie's Cave was hidden.
Oh, and this is from a couple days ago so I no longer have the link, but I'm mentioning it because people should be aware of the kind of people who are running the province:

Ernie Eves said that he was going to outlaw teachers' working to rule. Yes, you heard me right, he intends to make work-to-rule illegal.

Don't try to logic it out or your brain might explode. But really, I'd like to see him try. As a connoisseur (connoisseuse?) of linguistic manipulation, I have a certain appreciation for the ingenuity it would take to legislate the impossible.
Five AM, can't sleep, so I'm staring at a CRT until my eyes get tired. Was just lurking around some websites that I used to frequent. My, how they've changed! The first site I was ever a regular on had under 50 non-lurkers. It was a friendly, tight-knit group, very cliquey but welcoming to anyone who demonstrated a modicum of intelligence. The web was much smaller and somewhat more obscure then so there was a certain mutual noblesse oblige. I remember when, due to a temporary security issue, the email address of someone who is considered a major celebrity by this group was leaked. Several people, including me, found this celebrity's email address. Some people guarded it as a secret and didn't do anything with it, others used it to inform the person in question about the security problem. No one harrassed this person, and they felt secure enough that I understand they still use this address today. Then I look at that community as it is now, overpopulated, full of teenyboppers who don't know how to use Google, and I shudder to think what might happen if a similar leak happened now.

Sometimes I think it would be cool to track down members of the old guard of some of my former online haunts, get everyone to visit the site at once, and temporarily take over the messageboard. We'd have cool discussions, wow the current regulars, and gently push all the OMG WTF LOLOLOLOL messages down to the bottom of the board and into oblivion.

Alas, I know this wouldn't work. They outnumber us now, they'd probably just freak out and ban us, then go back to LOL OMG!

Sunday, June 01, 2003

Random memory: In grade 4, one of my classmates was walking around with an inflated condom for some reason. Now I wasn't entirely sure what a condom was or what it was for. I could identify the word "condom" with a wrapped condom, I could vaguely associate "condom" with "gay" (I didn't fully understand what "gay" meant either), but I didn't know what a condom was actually for, nor had I ever seen one up close.

So anyway, this guy had an inflated condom. Someone announced "Mike has a condom!" I looked over at Mike, looked what he was holding, and thought "That isn't a condom! That looks like a balloon or a medical device of some sort. A condom is a little plastic square!"
June. It's June. The panic all comes rushing out. I'm leaving in a week. I have to get stuff organized. I have to pack. My EI claim is still in limbo. I'm going away for TWO WHOLE WEEKS - 2 weeks I can't be in my beautiful apartment living my life of leisure! I need office clothes! I need contingency plans! I need to remember how to speak French! I need to show up at some address in a city I haven't been to in years and present myself and I have no idea what's going to happen next!

Then after that's over, I have to run to catch a train and come home and fall into bed and wake up and go to my graduation. Robes! High heels! Outdoors rain or shine! Former classmates and colleagues and profs! Relatives! Loved ones! Relatives meeting loved ones! A very distinguished guest! I've never been to a graduation before!

Then one day of rest, which will doubtless be full of nerves and laundry, and then WORK! Offices! Professional skills that I haven't used in months! Bilingualism! Forty hour weeks! Grownup clothes! Waking up in the morning and getting pretty and catching the subway! What do I do my first day? Walk in and sit down and wait for them to give me work, or check in with someone, or what? And what on earth do I do about a pending EI claim that has not yet been resolved when I'm employed? Angst angst angst!
Jimmy (who, incidently, is now famous if you can read French), has a blog!