From http://www.etymonline.com/

"It is often forgotten that (dictionaries) are artificial
repositories, put together well after the languages they
define. The roots of language are irrational and of a
magical nature."

-Jorge Luis Borges, Prologue to "El otro, el mismo."


The beginning of the week.

Sorry. This week is will be a busy one, so if I don't call or seem absent-minded it's because I have a thousand deadlines jabbing me in the ribs with a rusty fork. A fork found in the bottom of a greasy dumpster.


1. Finish my readings. That means goofing off must be kept to a minimum.
2. Complete a two-part article on boxing. Part one will be done tonight.
3. Fish out some articles for the Ubyssey, if feasible.
4. A homework assignment for linguistics.
5. Study for linguistics mid-term.
6. Call friends and family.

I have some interesting news regarding my late great aunt (is the title written "Great Aunt?") plus some literature stuff to write on. Maybe on Thursday.


The picture has nothing to do with the post. It's just nice, that's all.

I don't usually do requests, but there are always exceptions to the rule.

Now, it's been brought to my attention that my "review" of Jess's fabulous breakfast was sadly lackluster. Allow me to expand on that.

There are two kinds of breakfasts in the world. The kind of breakfast we eat when we're trying to get out the door, or we're not in the mood to cook or we're just too sick to even crack an egg. Then, there's the kind of breafast we savour, as each bite is a luxury as we read the paper or listen to the radio or watch television. What was unique about Jess's breakfast is that her eggs and coffee were the result of the former kind of breakfast when we really wanted the latter. Just replace "sick" with "hung over." The coffee was rather light, which was perfect for the time of day - strong coffee in the afternoon can kill my stomach - and had a casual tone to it. It was not the complicated coffees we would get at a cafe, it was the kind with a bright, simple flavour friends drink as they gossip in the kitchen. The eggs were a treat. Fluffy, light, and unpretentious; the only problem I had was the amount. I could have eated an entire plate of them, they were that good. Accompanied by slices of chewy toast and orange juice, we enjoyed our feast on Jess's front lawn on a table draped with a colourful tablecloth. The service was exquisite, although the patronage have to make their own coffee, an innovative idea but some folks have trouble even grinding the bean, and we can't have ham-fisted philistines handling such a delicate chore. I strongly suggest taking the time to enjoy this hidden gem.

Had my first day of work yesterday. A brief but thorough orientation plus the first day of training, which was really fun. It's been awhile since I really enjoyed a grammar lecture, especially when it gets into philosophy, history and linguistics. My Wednesday was super fun, I got 20% off my comics (it would have been $60, but it came out to be $40) and I still haven't read them all. Susanna Clarke is still an excellent read.

Back to the books.

Photo by Andrew.



I'm finishing up a short paper.

Today was pretty interesting. I woke up early and helped Lisa clean up the house: the landlord was coming by with an appraiser, so you know. A tidy house is much more preferable to present than a barn-like catastrophe, especially when Old Man McLandlord comes a'callin'.

I should mention this, too. I am officially rolling in greenbacks.

So, to celebrate, we went to the Hatch for a late breakfast. The food was terrific, and I really dug the coffee refills. Why? Well, I had a job interview today for the Writing Centre on campus, and I needed that extra shove to relax my stiff, stubborn tongue. The interview went really well; it was more of a chat than a formal interview. We just went into my past experience, especially my time at the Learning Centre, but mostly I just asked a bunch of questions and discovered, much to my relief, that the centre there operates the same way as the previous one. Nothing new to learn! Well, not entirely. I'm really excited about this new gig. My first day is on Thursday, when I get the Big Tour and some orientation, then I have to observe another tutor. There's also a course offered, and it's mandatory. To be honest, the whole course was a problem for me. I already have plenty of experience, and my workload is at the breaking point. I seriously considered not taking the job if I was forced to take this course. There were some incentives though, like (A) I get paid to be trained (B) it's only a 6 week course (C) it's run by an award winning prof and (D) it's an opportunity to learn something new and listen to other perspectives. Plus it's free.

Tomorrow is new comic day, and I'm a'gonna spend, spend and spend.


Monday morning!

The articles are done, and now I have one film review to write up. It's only 500-600 words. I'm okay with this.

Started Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell last night, and I'm already entranced after the first dozen pages. Clarke's 19th century voice is very convincing, and my suspension of disbelief is firmly entrenched whenever I crack open this hefty tome. More to come, for sure.

I also owe myself a Vonnegut write-up, and this promise will be honoured as soon as I feel I'm caught up enough. I'm a little behind on my linguistics reading (although most of my class is in the same situation) and so Tuesday will be another day of sitting and working.

Robin and Grace swung by Saturday night, and their brief visit was really fun. House guests have a way of breathing life back into the house. We did some catching up Saturday night, then on Sunday morning we wandered around Chinatown sampling deep-fried pastries. I was sorry to see them go.

The Chinese donut never ceases to amaze my palate, or clog my arteries.

I just remembered I have a thousand phone calls to make. Good-bye.


Some news.

I need to blog a little to get the hamster inside my skull to start running inside his little wheel. Here is my itinerary for the next week or so, in case I neglect to post amidst the Maelstrom.

First, Lisa got back from the doctor's and she was informed that her leg is not fractured, but instead she has a major bone bruise that'll take months the heal. Poor girl. While she was out, she picked up a couple of belated birthday presents for me! A copy of Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norell and natural licorice. Oh, yes. Now, I have to finish a short paper for sociology, complete my linguistics homework, read the texts for sociology and linguistics, write an article for Terminal City, write a film review for The Ubyssey, edit the short stories and finally, apply for work study jobs. I have four lined up: English tutor, classroom assistant and assistant to the Manuscripts Curator in the library.

I also found out my last article for The Other Press was selected for the CUP (Canadian University Press) Wire, which means my article (some reviews of comics I've been reading) might appear in other school papers across Canada. And, my English prof from last term emailed me today to say I wrote an exceptional essay (on gender in the Petrarchan sonnets, and how they're countered in Shakespeare's sonnets) and I should consider using my thesis in a larger work in future classes. My wrist is sore from all this back-patting.

Robin and Grace might be staying here over the weekend, and I'll be calling Ryan on Friday plus hooking up with other friends too.


I am at school.

Everything is back to normal. I've figured out my readings, I'm doing my homework on time, and I'm writing for money rather than some fruit or a handshake. The student loan hasn't been dumped into my coffers yet, but I'm alright with it. When it does finally arrive, I decided to put some money aside and make a donation to the Red Cross, and take Lisa out for breakfast at The Hatch. Two worthy charities, for sure.


When I start to burn out, I play video games.

In the last screen shot, you'll notice a smudge on the bottom left-hand side. You see, I was crouching behind a van, and a tank had just rolled onto the street, right in the other side of that stone wall. Then, another soldier popped out from behind the wall and took a shot. That smudge was that very shot, imbedded into the van's grill. Needless to say, I had to clip'em.


There I go, rationalizing again.

Just trying to catch up here. I'm finishing up the reviews and I have some reading and note-taking lined up for tomorrow. The last play I have to review is on Monday. The Fringe administration has been awesome - the person in charge got me tickets faster than, well, something really fast. Sorry folks, I'm out of smilies.

New favourite band? The Kills.

And holy smokes do I have to buy a lot of crap. Possibly a new backpack (one that carries laptops), books, a memory upgrade (not for me, the computer, although the idea isn't exactly unappealing), more clothes, a portable coffee mug thing, comics and of course, my tuition.

It seems kind of selfish, doesn't it? Me having these little consumer woes while people, living a few thousand miles just south of here, are living in a watery, post-apocalyptic warzone. If I had the cash and fewer distractions then yeah, I would do more. But I also look at it this way: I'm broke. I'm also a full-time student who was, for the lack of a better word, blocked from entering post-secondary. Partly because I was sleeping on people's couches when other kids were packing their lunches for their first day of university. And partly because I had to overcome my self-esteem issues too. For me, going to school and writing are the most important things to me right now. If I had the cash the Red Cross would be getting a cheque from me.


I wish there are more classes like this.

An article from Boing Boing: a course offered at UoC in Berkeley covering participatory media. Page includes reading list.



So I hit a snag today. The first of many as I try to balance out my life.

I made my way to the Fringe Fest, waited awhile for the show to start, and when I arrived at the venue the women at the ticket table gave me a puzzled look when I told her I was with Terminal City. No entry for me. I didn't want to wait around for another two hours to find out my request for tickets wasn't considered. Now, I have to call the coordinator tomorrow morning and find out what's going on. Luckily, I'll have this situation sorted out and I can cover my losses.

And on top of that, I don't have all my books yet, and I need to get some reading done. I also have to find a part-time job on campus. These last few days have been a strain. I'm looking forward to ironing out my confusing, sordid life soon. Somebody, call me and tell me everything is going be okay.

I'm writing a film review for the Ubyssey in a couple of weeks, and hopefully Terminal City still wants stuff from me.


Paper and meat.

I've been home for a few hours, and I still cannot begin to describe my experiences when I first stepped onto campus as a student, rather than a reprobate who needs to be escorted off the premises. The sheer number of people numbs me - it's hard to walk in a crowd without wanting to see who's there or if you recognize someone. Just keep walking, I said to myself, and find that damn building where the class is. I'm also surprised by the amount of paper and meat this campus goes through in one week. There were more barbecues roasting dead animals than I've seen in awhile, and everywhere I went some overly tanned stick figure wearing a seashell necklace was shoving a pamphlet or coupons or (why not comics?) flyers under my nose. Note to university administration: leave the grumpy, slightly chubby guy with bad hair alone. Of course, that description isn't exactly a narrow one for a university campus.

I saw three people from the old college today. One is in my English class.

Oh yeah, the classes I'm registered in: English 225: Poetry (analyzing poetry with a technical and rigourous methodology), Linguistics 100: Memorize a Whole Bunch of Jargon and Read Difficult Texts, and Sociology 350: Social Theories. The first two classes are straightforward, but holy moley (moly?) my sociology class is rough. It is one of my majors, for sure, and I need this class for graduation, but the standards are high, dear friends. A ton of written work. Forty to eighty pages of readings a week, some of them being pretty dense. Seminars. Seminars, people. I love the class, it's true, but my knees gave out from under me when I read the syllabus.

One story. According to my schedule, my first class, linguistics, is at 10:30. When time came to get to class, I got hopelessly lost. The massive map near the student union building helped me find my way. I barreled into the classroom with four minutes to spare, sat down and listened to the prof. He had the periodic table of the elements on the overhead. Now, I was thinking, this is cool. The prof was comparing language to the periodic table. I wanted to see where he was going with this. Then he said, "when I looked up my name on rate your professor dot com, some of the complaints from disgruntled students were how I didn't write any notes for my chemistry 350 class last semester." I tried to slink out of the classroom unnoticed, but he totally saw me.


Thrilling? With the right chemical components, then yes.

Before I can do any work this afternoon, there are some chores in need of closure.

1. Clean the kitchen. I already swept the floors but, by God, the kitchen needs a serious intervention.
2. Get my student loan documents to the office post haste. I will be wealthy again soon.
3. See a hairdresser about some hair.
4. Take some shots of the bakery to accompany my food review. Email to editor(s).
5. Head out to UBC to do hand in my work study application, look for the reserve shelves in the library, get a day planner, a portable coffee cup (hopefully) and see if my books have finally arrived in the bookstore.

Then I get to finish the story, then the other one.

OMG, I start school tomorrow. Uni-freakin'-versity. I think if I ingest a pound of opium, followed by a tall glass of rubbing alcohol, I'll do just fine.


Not much to report today, the sternographer said as she stood up for another cup of coffee.

Not much to report today. I spent the day nursing a hang-over (last night we started drinking at the house, then Julia and Jason's place, then the Fountainhead and then Celebrities; the pitcher at the Fountainhead was a gallon's worth of beer) and I was seeking food and coffee for the rest the afternoon. I wanted to attend the Victory Square block Party (local bands play for free!) but the idea of noise and crowds was nauseating. We ended up having coffee and eggs with Jess. It was nice. The weather was just perfect - not too hot but still sunny. I decided I want to travel to Chile, Jamacia and Vietnam.

There was an unsuccessful culinary experiment this evening: I tried making a saffron-cream sauce for pasta, but the saffron totally overwhelmed the flavour. The dish was too flowery, with a slight, bitter aroma. The recipe called for a quarter of a teaspoon, but I think an eighth would be enough. However, the tomato and New Zealand spinach salad totally saved the day, due to the spicy peanut dressing I whipped up. I'll rinse the pasta and throw in some chili paste to cover up the taste, then chased back with a beer.

More editing tomorrow, plus a quick write-up of Slaughterhouse-Five. Oh, and I need more links!



The weather, as Kevin pointed out this afternoon, is turning. I get this slight electric tingle when autumn approaches. I get to wear my favourite clothes in my favourite colours (black, brown and gray) that are in layers! Layers! And I can wrap my hideous, pudgy neck in a scarf.

More to come later.



I've just added a list of permalinks, and if anyone wants to be included (or excluded) just comment here. More links to come.

Storms and picture-books.

Some interesting discussions (or, sometimes, what resembles a discussion on the interweb) that have caught my attention this morning.

First, a decent essay by Dirk Deppey on the emergence of shoujo in the American/Canadian comics market. The essay is well-timed, particularly to my interest in manga as a whole, because I wrote an article on women and manga from an "outsider's" perspective (someone who is new to the literary and graphic conventions of manga) a scant few months ago. Deppey's thesis was countered by Patrick Daniel O'Neill, who states that manga and comics are two distinct mediums, like Japanese kabuki and Euro-American theatre. Youse can read it here, with commentary. His argument was the equivalent of thrusting a pointed stick into a wasps' nest, as seen here. Comments? Questions?

Also, I stumbled upon a small but invigorating thread on Marlo's blog - she dated a friend for awhile, and now I read her blog on occasion. In light of the Katrina disaster, she brings up issues of racism and classism inherent in disaster planning, and the larger of issue of misappropriating federal taxes.

Image courtesy of The Beat.


Today is Edit Day.

That's right. My afternoon will be spent editing a number of projects. I slept in this morning, and as I tap this keyboard the second to last crepe will be cooked. That's the joy of owning a laptop: I can cook and write in the same room. Two short stories (for the journal), notes for another story I finished and the play (no kidding) are on today's menu. No articles until next week.

I had a very odd dream, where I was Spider-Man and some villains formed a team to finally kill me. They knew my secret identity. I spent the dream hiding in different houses, which were all renovated heritage homes, in a neighborhood that reminded me of Toronto in autumn, or Fernwood in Victoria, only more crowded-looking and worn out. My house was in the neighbourhood, and I had to hide behind fences across the street or else they would've seen me. I watched a pregnant Mary-Jane walk home with a friend. I ended up looking for new clothes in a department store and the clerks there tried to get the customers to buy stock options. I kept watching the sky.