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February 27th, 2006

12:39 pm - A, B, Wine-dark C
Last night I had a dream I rented the DVD of Brokeback Mountain, and it came with an alternate "Happily Ever After" ending, and Ennis' wife ran away with her lesbian lover, too. That would rock so hard totally betray the essence and the power of the film, of course. And they were hugging and kissing and oh so happy!

Reading Week, and indeed February, have been a quiet success. I had the nicest Valentine's Day since, well, ever. My parents celebrated their twenty-freakin'-fifth wedding anniversary, if you can believe that, and I got a lot of corking done. Corking: it's like knitting for idiots. I'm making myself a very long, multi-coloured yarn rope that I'm going to coil up and sew into a cat mat when it's done.

My mom and I also spent a lot of time planning our trip to Greece in May. Yes, I'm actually going to Greece! *knows she's a very lucky girl* It's been my dream ever since I could locate the place on the map - over fifteen years now. We're going to spend about five days in Athens and the surrounding archaeological sites, Delphi and Mycenae mainly, and five days in Crete looking at the Palace of Knossos and the Samaria Gorge National Park, and a couple days on Santorini/Thira (one island, two names!) I've been practicing learning greetings and pleasantries in Greek, and making a list of the reference reading I want to do beforehand - my old notes from classical civilizations class, brushing up on my mythology, Mary Renault's Theseus novel The Bull From The Sea, and the Iliad, of course. What? So I haven't actually read the Iliad yet. Shut up. I read the Argonautica!

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February 14th, 2006

12:05 pm - Happy Valentine's Day!1!
Let's hear for looooooooove! And also for this highly amusing and apropos comedy article I found. It's funny because it's true:

Obsessive-Compulsive Valentines

I could have written number seven. But I didn't, and so no internet fame for me. Unless I get fame for stirring up the following situation and possibly instigating gritty, chaotic urban guerrilla warfare. So I've got these two friends, see? Both nice, funny, intelligent girls. laruku42 is my roommate and she plans to become the queen of rats. witchnyn is an fellow ancientologist, and she's decided to raise an army of squirrels - Ana's mortal enemies.

This city may be the biggest in Canada, but it sure ain't big enough for the both of them. If the UN doesn't commission some pigeon peacekeeping forces soon, I'm prepared to barricade myself in bunker-like cinderblock closet with half a bag of animal crackers and Sheepo for company. Y'all are welcome to join me if you bring weapons or snack treats.

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February 8th, 2006

12:26 am - Pwned! through the millennia
In Egyptian hieroglyphics class we're translating the stela (an inscribed monument, about the shape and size of a tombstone) of one Senbu-Usertsen, a court steward from the late nineteenth century BCE. It describes offerings for his in the afterlife as well as mentioning his family members by name, which was a common practice. The part I find funny is it mentions his four daughters: "His daughter Nebet-Iunet, whom he loved; his daughter Neferwet, whom he loved; his daughter Sat-Hathor, whom he loved; and his daughter, Sat-Amun." That's it. It takes three little signs to write the words "whom he loved" in Middle Egyptian, and for the lack of them it's come down nearly four thousand years that this guy didn't like one of his daughters. What did she do, step on his favourite cat or something?

It's gotten cold here again, which is good from a global-warming perspective but not much fun. My sister's staying with me for the week while she does her English-as-a-Second-Language practicum in our old stomping grounds, Scarborough to get her Canadian government certificate. She just came back from teaching ESL in South Korea, where the standards are apparently lower, and brought me a stuffed Sheepo. Sheepo is a little naked sheep without any wool of his own, so he has to wear an artificial wool suit with a zipper, but the suit is so hot he has to live in the refrigerator. Eee ees so cute!

Claire came over last week for Quizno's, Rolo cones, the Daily Show, and inexplicably Zionist breath mints. She thinks that last item would make a good band name, but I can't figure out what genre. Not punk, not emo, probably not klezmer. On the weekend, Emily, Jae and I went to see Tristan and Isolde; the movie deviated from the original story too much for me to really enjoy it, but it was followed by the bestest chicken fingers ever.

I have had to admit I am powerless over my addiction to soap. I got a lot of fancy soap for Christmas, and even more with my gift certificate to Lush, and I'm probably getting more for my birthday, and I said to myself, "Self, no more soap until you use up all the soap you already have. There's no need to hoard it for the coming apocalypse, not even if it turns into a Waterworld." But then I saw a new scent from my beloved Bee and Flower brand; ginseng and amber, only 59 cents! It's so good. Somebody sniff me.

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January 24th, 2006

08:19 pm - Democracy: only if people aren't going to be jerks about it
So, yeah. Harper. At least a minority government shouldn't last too long (and I just realized how that might have sounded to people even less familiar than me with Canadian politics; minority government just means they got less than half the votes. Harper's a white boy just like all the other main candidates) and we might get some rocking protests out of it. On the upside, I was actually able to vote NDP this election because I wasn't voting in my hometown riding, where the main priority is blocking out the Conservatives. That's not something we have to worry about here in Kensington.

It's not all leftism and sidewalk booty, though. Some people got arrested in my backyard last week. I was trying to get to sleep at about two in the morning on Thursday when I hear shouting, swearing, and sounds of a struggle out my ground-floor window. I went over to listen to see if maybe I needed to call the cops when the cracking walkie-talkies and the official-sounding lingo indicated that the cops were one step ahead of me. Apparently two guys had been selling drugs out of a stolen car, were spotted by the police, and fled down the lane that leads into our backyard. They were trying to get up the fire escape when the police tackled them done, and one of the, uh, perps shot off a flare gun (which explains the flashing lights, weird smell, and shouts of "Put it down! PUT IT DOWN!" that first woke me up).

I got all this backstory when the cops came back to see if anything had been dropped in the yard; previously they had just left after making the arrest and I was really confused and kind of freaked out as to what had gone on, because I couldn't see anything, only hear. They did ask me what address this house was, and I told them, and they relayed that into their radios which was kind of cool.

I dyed my hair over the weekend with the henna I got from Lush. It's not too dramatic a change, but I have a coppery sheen now. The actual dyeing process was extremely difficult as the henna comes in a solid brick that had to be crushed with a hammer. Then I had to mix in hot water into a thick brown cream, and it got all over everything. It looked like I had anally fisted a Holstein, to put it delicately.

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January 18th, 2006

10:31 pm - Wacky winter windfall
Dude! Guess what I found when I took the garbage out just now! The guy upstairs is moving out, and has dumped what seems to be most of the contents of his apartment on the curb for pick-up (yes, I did have this conclusion confirmed by another neighbour so I'm not just stealing his stuff - plus there was a fair bit of broken stuff and garbage mixed in with it). In other words, free shopping! I snabbed two attractive gift bags, an unused box of black hair dye (L'Oreal), a Canadian flag (for shame!), some scented bath beads in their original packaging, a giant triangular back pillow, a clay vase, an embroidered South American-style sofa throw (which I will wash before using, of course), a Cabbage Patch Kids mug (ditto), one copy each of Maxim and Cannabis Culture (I left the porn alone), and, because I like to think I have a touch of whimsy, a photo of four people at a party and a pencil drawing of a girl with glasses, labelled Kat, Sept. 8, '03 on the back of a menu.

There's way more stuff out there that also isn't garbage but was too big or I had no use for. Furniture, shoes, coats, suitcases, more magazines and books, what might be drug paraphernalia, and a lot of personal notes and letters, some of which bore the name Kat or Katherine. It's like a living room exploded. Lots of high schoolish homework in girlie handwriting, and I'm wondering if Kat lived with this guy or if they broke up or what. If I had more patience and less concern about germs, I'd leaf through all the drawers of papers, try to assemble a psychological profile of this stranger. Most intriguing of all was a whole bunch of dried rose petals at the bottom of a drawer of papers, looking very old and obviously having been saved, but now being thrown out. I can't decide if the whole cache is the tragic detritus of a life outgrown life a hermit crab shell, or just some jackass who'd rather waste stuff than give it to Goodwill.

In other news, Claire and I went out on Friday for my maiden voyage to the Pickle Barrel (so good!) and some more semi-free shopping with my Christmas gift certificate to Lush. There, I got a kit of dark auburn hair henna that I'd be coveting for about a year, so if anyone wants the sidewalk dye from tonight, it's yours.

All my marks from last semester are in except for my hieroglyphics exam; I cleaned up pretty majorly but the hieroglyphics probably won't be so good. Also, a squirrel was yelling at me in Queen's Park the other day. I believe it was warning me to stay away from my dear roommate Ana, or be held guilty by association when the revolution comes. Squirrels hate her.

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January 9th, 2006

09:54 pm - From the soapbox to the lamppost
Happy New Year, everybody! I had my first class in Baltic folklore today. Apparently in the Baltic world, mittens = Serious Business. It was a bit of a downer to leave the comforts of home, but before I went my mom and I made modeling clay casts of the cats' paws. They did not enjoy the experience as much as we did (Zebby's cast bears the imprint of extended claws) but it will be nice to have to remember them by when the inevitable happens.

Anyone read the new and completely incomprehensible Chick tract? In it, an proseltyzing lawyer urges a woman to get down on her knees and "receive God's love gift"? And how's about that new postering campaign down by Queen's Park? Lots of yellow flyers asking the government to IMPOSE MARTIAL LAW to quell the increase in gun violence. Seriously. Because nothing promotes peace, love, and understanding like martial law!

I was watching part of the election debate tonight, but no good catfights broke out. Stephen Harper, whose hair really does appear to be all one piece, said "policemen" instead of "police officers" and Paul Martin issued a somewhat garbled sentence that, according to the rules of grammar, said Aboriginal people were the cause of poverty in Canada. On the way to the pub where the debate was being aired, I met a passing leatherworker who complimented me on my firm handshake. Kensington rocks!

In closing, today I ate a baby octopus. No bigger than an olive. It was okay.

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December 29th, 2005

10:33 pm - Figgy Pudding
It was a wonderful holiday season! The festivities started on Christmas Eve with a trip to the Ontario Science Centre; my family used to go every Christmas during my childhood but we hadn't been for about 10 years now. I was stricken with mysterious, intensely painful back spasms but it was still a lot of fun - especially the write-your-name-in-Mayan exhibit (purely a phonetic transliteration, of course) and the 8-question genetic uniqueness test. It would seem I am a very common type among Science Centre patrons. I also picked up a clacking lobster claw pen for Claire which she seemed to appreciate when we exchanged gifts.

Christmas Day featured baked cinnamon raisin French toast and some really great presents both given and received. My brother loved the Donald Trump Real Estate board game I gave him (we played it tonight and it was indeed fun), my sister appreciated the carbolic acid traveler's soap that promised to ward off ringworm and the South African honeybush tea (both finds from Kensington), my mom liked her "Field Guide to Cat Butts" gift set and Harry Potter jelly beans (she asked for those specifically) and my dad is excited about his dried figs and French chestnut spread. Some of the nicest things I got were a Turkish doll my sister got in Istanbul, a gift certificate to Lush, a promise of a half-day llama trekking trip(!) with my mom, and a stuffed Japanese kimono cat.

After all that, we went to the casino at Niagara Falls which gave us a free dinner, a free night in their hotel, and free breakfast the next morning. (These are known as "comps" and are handed out to regular patrons; both my dad and brother are frequent blackjack and poker players - with wildly varying degrees of success). In the morning we went across the border to buy exotic American grocery products like pumpkin spice Krispy Kremes and potato bread.

On Tuesday I visited Claire in Toronto; we watched a movie, danced to my new "70s Disco Hits" cds and ate at a cute little Italian place. I gave her the aforementioned trayf pen as well as some chocolate, miniature Sharpies and a little collection of vignettes about historic lesbians. For her part, she gave me something I've been coveting for years - an I Slept With Xena t-shirt. I've been wearing it for two days in a row now.

Today was more quiet, just with spaghetti, making a snake-sphinx out of modelling clay, and whupping my family's collective ass at Scrabble. Tonight I have some chocolates to eat and Angel episodes to watch. I hope you are all enjoying yourselves equally much.

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December 23rd, 2005

07:09 pm - Wassail, y'all
First off, happy holidays to everyone out there, especially those whose major religious and cultural celebrations do not happen to coincide with Christmas. May you enjoy the marked-down Christmas chocolate in January as much as anybody else. I'm feeling pretty seasonal - we've got everyone home this year unlike last when my sister was in Japan, all my Christmas shopping is done and presents wrapped, exams are over, and I'm stuffed full of an early bird. Yesterday my mom used up her annual expletive, when she spilled liquid Jello all over the fridge. It was a race to get it cleaned up before it coagulated.

Nadine and I went to see Brokeback Mountain on Wednesday. My impression and semi-spoilers herein.Collapse )

It was winter solstice and on the way back from the movie we saw the Festival of Lights in Kensington - a whole parade full of people shouting, banging drums, carrying lanterns, and breathing fire, all to scare the darkness away. Speaking of Kensington life, a while back we received an early morning visit from the Toronto Public Health Commission. They were investigating reports of an illegal bean-sprout grow-op in the building, and wanted to know if the basement was inhabited. I said that I lived down there, and the woman asked me if I'd seen any illegal bean-sprouts. I said no, and she went away seeming satisfied - but isn't that exactly what I would have said if I was the one with the funny farm?

In closing, the elegant getandgot has linked me to a wonderful page of seasonal hilarity: It Came Upon A Midnight Weird: Cavalcade of Bad Nativities! I especially like the belt buckle. To demonstrate the beautiful universal glory of questionable taste, I also present Judaism's answer to the Beanie Baby, The Ten Plush Passover Plagues!

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December 10th, 2005

06:33 pm - Classical Latin: Undead Vampire Language?
Eeek! It's winter all of a sudden. I'd sulk but I've been having a pretty good week. Claire and I enjoyed our movie night - we went with 28 Days Later, my all-nighter essay came back with a reasonably satisfactory 75%, my Mesopotamian history exam went quite well, and I've gotten most of my Christmas shopping done. My dad's getting, among other things, dried figs.

Emily's gingerbread party was a smashing success. I want to run away with her brother's dog Tyra and live as platonic lifemates - can someone point me towards a province or state where this can be legally formalized? The dog is an angel made flesh and fur. The gingerbread houses turned out with varying degrees of success; Jae made a gingerbread Japanese high school complete with a tentacle monster and a gingerninja on the roof. Andrew, Maria and I poured our efforts into an ultimately structurally unsound gingerbread whorehouse, complete with gaudily attired gingervixens. We called in the Gingerbrothel, but the roof collapsed more than once. We could have used you on this, Ana!

My mother had a bon mot yesterday. She'll insist I'm misquoting her, but the paraphrase retains the original meaning. We were discussing how the new version of Winnie the Pooh is replacing Christopher Robin with a girl:

Me: He always struck me as pretty androgynous anyway.
Her: Really?
Me: Definitely. That was a fey kid.
Her: But it doesn't meaning anything. He's just a drawing, like Superman, or Jesus.

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November 29th, 2005

04:47 pm - Everyone's a critic!
First order of business: Claire and I are going to commemorate the darkening of the days by renting some horror movies tomorrow night. She likes her horror featuring "disturbing people doing disturbing things", I like twist or shock endings and a few good-startle scares. Does anyone have any recommendations, please and thank you? We're thinking of looking at some Japanese horror films too, maybe.

Egyptian religion class was funny today. The professor was talking about the creation story from the city of Hermopolis which involved the Ogdoad (a group of eight gods embodying the four elements of chaos in male/female pairs) pouring semen onto a lotus flower, from which the sun god then emerged. He called it the Egyptians' very own "Big Bang" theory, but no one else laughed! What, are we all mature all of a sudden? It's a cosmic bukkake!

Also in ancient!history!squee, my name was drawn back home to win a gift certificate for a ancient artifact reproductions store. It was really hard to choose; I never thought I'd be able to afford stuff like this at this point in my life. They're not museum quality or anything, but they're beautiful and I plan to display them for the rest of my please-god-let-me-get-into-grad-school academic career.

In the end I went with a reproduction of the Phaistos Disk and a statue of Isis and Horus that looks like this one. I think it's a reproduction of an actual statue; in any case, it's very similar to one we looked at in Egyptian iconography class when discussing the portrayals of Isis the mother and Horus the child together. These images were common in ancient Egypt and elsewhere, after the Roman conquest and the spread of Isis-worship, and seem to have inspired many of the early Madonna and Child images.

Oh, and Claire took me to my first punk/ska band show. It was the loudest experience of my life. I could feel my diaphragm vibrating from the sound. The diaphragm in my chest, I mean.

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