The worst weekend in the world.

Hm. Well, to begin with, I had to rush to the emergency room Friday night, on account of a serious chest pain that had me experience the worst anxiety attack I've suffered in years. It was like a tsunami of fear and confusion. In the emergency ward, the nurses had me hooked up to an IV and a heart monitor, and one of the poor nurses couldn't find a cooperative vein to pierce. So, my right arm has some rash action going on, plus some bruising from another nurse taking a blood sample.

Experiencing that kind of fear . . . wow . . . I felt as though my heart would suddenly stop, and the life I've built for myself - school, relationships, whatever successes I've accomplished - began to swirl and disintegrate. The people I knew sped by, as though I were driving down a busy highway, flying past them as they waved to me.

Then, I had to finish my essay.

Which is done.

Then, on Sunday night, my beloved laptop went dead. Andrew and Lisa are taking it to the Computer Hospital this afternoon while I'm at school. I'm very lucky to live with such noble people. Apparently, the files in my hard drive have not been corrupted, but the damn thing won't boot up. The DVD drive has been acting up lately, so my theory is the drive finally gave out and affected the rest of the computer.

After class today, I went to the bathroom. Okay, bear with me here. I sat down, and was greeted by a cool, wet sensation on my nether-region. I sat in someone's pee.

I think I need a drink.


I'm not having trouble actually writing the essay, but trying to find the appropriate text to quote from Foucault is making my teeth hurt.

See? I can't even write properly.

I'll be done soon.


A meme I stole.

1. When you looked at yourself in the mirror today, what was the first thing you thought?
I haven't seen my reflection yet, mostly because I don't cast one.

2. How much cash do you have on you?
$5.55. Oh, lord.

3. What's a word that rhymes with TEST?
No comment.

4. Planet?
The one with a Camaro on the front lawn, propped up on four cinder blocks.

5. Who is the 4th person on your missed call list?
Probably a telemarketer. If I had a missed class list.

6. What is your favorite ring on your phone?
"Wake up, stupid."

7. What shirt are you wearing?
Some striped number.

8. What do you label yourself?
"Half price."

9. Name the brand of shoes you've recently worn.

10. Bright or Dark Room?
Dark room.

11. What were you doing at midnight last night?
Tossing around in bed.

12. What did your last text message you received on your cell say?

13. Where is your nearest 7-11?
No clue.

14. What's a saying that you say a lot?
"The English verb system is really complex."

15.Who told you they loved you last?
My bank.

16. Last furry thing you touched?
Um, yeah.

17. How Many Drugs Have You Done In The Past three Days?
What is With the arbritary Capitalization?

18. How many rolls of film do you need to get developed?
Zero. All digital.

19. Favorite age you have been so far?
The fetal period.

20. Your worst enemy?
The internet.

21. What is your current desktop picture?
The metal grill over the window of my favourite book store in Paris. Thin books are wedged between said grill and window.

22. What was the last thing you said to someone?
"Haha! Panopticon!"

23. If you had to choose between a million bucks or to be able to fly, which would you choose?
Being able to fly. Then I can bill myself as "That Guy Who Can Fly" and make my million. Thank you, capitalism.

24. Do you like someone?
No. Yes. I'm really torn on this subject.

25. The last song you listened to?
Blue Moon, sung by Billie Holiday.


I'm trying to get my readings finished. Stupid internet won't leave me alone.



I spent my whole weekend reading. And taking breaks from reading. At least I made some significant progress.

Today is Voting Day. I won't be able to get to my polling station until after school, which is at 5. The station closes at 7. Yikes!

I don't have any big expectations this election. I know the Liberals will taken down a few notches, and the Conservatives and the NDP will do a little better than the last election. The Liberal's monopoly of the House of Commons will be shaken, much like the previous election, and they'll have to negotiate with the likes of Harper. Just keep Harper out of power, please.

The Liberals are very good at maintaining the status quo, and allow a small amount of change over a long period of time. The systems in place don't get gutted. The funny thing is, whenever there is a Conservative majority, Canadian society gets a swift kick to the kidneys. Say, like, the GST for instance. It's like your employer hiring his insane, backwoods cousin to come in and manage the business for awhile. Before you know it, there's pigs in the staff room and the store is open for seventeen hours straight.


Grading papers.

I'm about to finish my application to transfer to Slovenia. I have a second and third choice, but who cares? Slovenia. That's all that matters.

Did I mention I graded papers for the first time yesterday? Only two papers, mind you, but they were for a legitimate English class. I wrote comments that rivaled Booth's footnotes in Shakespeare's Sonnets. Grading papers is fun.

I'm taking tonight off. I expect movies and games and booze.



Now's a good time to say that I'll be holed up for the next two or three weeks. So no weird news or rants about books or comics for awhile, at least not at length.

Besides that, the constant rain is getting me down.


I feel like a screw-up.

I really do. Today I'm giving some forms to a professor and an employer so I can study in Slovenia. The professor wants to look at my work to date, which is fine and fulfills part of the requirement, but I left my work at home. I forgot. It doesn't look good if I have to make him wait until I get my work into his mailbox tomorrow. I mean, he's doing me a favour. Oh, well. I'll face the firing squad. I'm sure it's no big deal.

I love my job, but I'm hoping no one shows up during my, ahem, "office hour." I could use the extra hour to read.

Some projects: a sociology essay due at the end of the month and a plan for my Blake essay. That, with my creative projects, guarantees an interesting few months.

I hear my roof received a temporary fix. Huh.


Weekend report.


The weekend went too fast. Friday night saw me discussing social theory, hermeneutics and metaphysics over Guinness and curry fries. I was schooled that night.

Hanging out with Chris on Saturday was fun, as always. We played The Warriors (an exceptional game) and one of the most cathartic racing games ever devised. Because Chris is consolidating his media collection and moving to another flat, he relinquished some of his stuff onto me. I was totally surprised and delighted; it was such an awesome gesture.

Today I went out for brunch with Lisa, Jason and Jess, and later we went to Pulp Fiction so I can pick Gaiman's new book, Anansi Boys. I've been needing new books - whenever I have one under my arm it feels like a billowing gust as a train speeds past.

And I actually got some homework done.


Everything's coming up J.

Sold sociology textbook for the class I dropped.
Bought sociology textbooks for the class I added. And, they were used.
Received a bursary for almost $600, which is neatly tucked away into my savings.
Laptop was given the gift of memory.
I have friends I'm proud to call my friends.
My work schedule will be tightened up this afternoon.


The house is getting pretty rotten. True, I've neglected to tidy up - school keeps me locked up in my office. Next week I have to make doctor and dentist appointments. Don't ask me the last time I've seen a dentist, the answer is embarrassing.

The coming weekend is busy, though: I'm meeting the TA for my 350 class for beer, then I'm hanging out with Chris on Saturday, and then a ton of reading. I've been gaming a lot lately, which is good, only I'm not gaming as much with Chris these days. That will change. I'd like to either join or start a dedicated gaming league, where we organize sessions. The problem with getting older is that it gets harder to make time for leisurely things like games and such, so maybe making up a calendar of dedicated gaming days would solve the problem. There is the Vancouver Gaming Guild.

Oh. I have to go to work.


Post-class glow.

Apparently, there will be a "scheduled outage" on Blogger at about 3:30 PM today. I figured now is a good time to say that my American lit class was super fun and really enlightening. Not in a textual way (although it's always great to discuss some of Thoreau's more radical ideas) but more in a methodological way; that is, the ways in which we read, analyze and discuss texts, as well as write about text.

The idea that literary criticism is parasitic, or it relies on literature to sustain the genre, is not nuanced enough and quite reactionary. But that's just it, criticism is a genre, a philosophical discourse on the nature and being (a metaphysical discourse, perhaps?) of literature.

I also have some insight into whay I don't talk in class in more. I mean, I do, but not enough.



I found out last night that my short story "Apple Tarts," which is based on my friend Jason, was accepted to the 2007 edition of Pearls, the Douglas College student journal.

My first published story in a literary journal. What next?


To the cyclist who splashed me: make sure you remove your asshat before you get on your bicycle.

I needed to take a breather this afternoon. This morning was rough. First, I slept in and missed my American lit class - the one that is fast becoming my favourite at the moment - and I had finished all the readings and took notes and everything. I wanted to point out that some of Emerson's passages from "The American Scholar" read like Marx (*turns pages to find examples* - ah, here it is: "Man is thus metamorphosed into a thing, into many things [. . .] The priest becomes a form; the attorney, the statute-book; the mechanic, a machine; the sailor, a rope of a ship.") or de Tocqueville ("Another sign of our times [. . .] is the new importance given to the single person. Everything tends to insulate the individual - to surround him with barriers of natural respect, so that each man shall feel the world is his, and man shall treat with man as a sovereign state with sovereign state.").

I went to the book store to return two books, but the cashier (in the most polite way) informed me that I needed the same bank card to get a full refund. Disappointed, I left the book store and walked to work, and then someone on a bicycle splashed me with water as he jumped off the curb.

Sorry, I know it sucks when someone uses their blog to transmit their grievances to the rest of the planet. I now have a glass of wine (Terra Sana, a 2002 French red - the nose was remarkably medicinal, which is not entirely bad, while I picked up some some strong berry flavours like black current. The structure was fine; a simple, drinkable wine that lingered on the palette) and I'm about to resume my reading. I'll make sure I crash early tonight, and tomorrow night, so I can make my classes in the morning. My prof for American lit sometimes posts his lectures on the course homepage. See? Not all bad.

I am such a nerd: I get anxious if I miss my class, I don't speak up in class when I have the answer and if I go out on a "school night" when I have readings or assignments due. Ha. Yes.

I'm sending in my application to study in Slovenia this month.


My introduction to American literature.

“An immoral law makes it a man’s duty to break it.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Should I die before I wake - possible research material.

Brown University claims to have three books bound in human skin, an anatomy book and two editions of a medieval morality tale entitled "The Dance of Death." One edition was originally published in 1816 and was rebound in 1893 by a master binder in London named Joseph Zaehnsdorf. The Zaehnsdorf edition was left plain, in order to exhibit the cover's texture, which "has a slightly bumpy texture, like soft sandpaper. The spine and back cover, made from the inner layer of skin, feels like suede." The other edition has a golden skull and inlaid with black leather. The reason books were bound in human skin was to connect the text's theme with the book itself.

Apparently, the practice was common in that century, since "human leather" is durable and waterproof. Access to the material was rather limited, but doctors could collect skin from deceased patients, as well as from those working in poor houses or executed prisoners. Laura Hartman, rare book cataloguer for the university's library, cites from a article written in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in the late 1800's in which it "suggests that [the practice] was common, but [the article] also indicates it wasn't talked about in polite society."

Read a more thorough article on BoingBoing, just scroll down the page.


Sorry, boring.

The weekend is going by too fast, if you ask me. Robin and Grace came by Friday night, and the next morning the soon-to-be newlyweds made crepes (with condensed milk!) and sliced fruit for breakfast. At first I was a little discombobulated, since I'm so accustomed to making food for guests (or Lisa preparing the food), but while I was enjoying Grace's crepes and Robin's expert handling of tropical fruits I decided to have guests come by more often, or at least ones who are as charming as Grace and Robin.

I got Knights of the Old Republic over the holidays, which didn't want to run properly until Andrew uploaded a patch. Yesterday, while I was playing I tried to save my current game - I made some decent progress. A message came up explaining I had to delete an old game to make room for the new saved game. I did so. Still, no room. So I decided to delete my most recent save, thinking I will replace it with my current game. Big mistake. Even after I deleted it, there was no room. I lost over seven hours of game time.

There's a small Mac store at school. When I was over there buying headphones, I noticed they had upgrades for memory. Can you guess where I'm spending my money?

Today is going to be busy. Which is good. I have to read my texts, swing by the clinic and hopefully, get to the comic shop.

Okay, I just remembered I have to be at school tomorrow for 8:00 AM. The sociology class I'm waiting to drop has a seminar Monday mornings. I actually have to go, because I don't know if I will get into the class I'm replacing it with.

Eight in the morning.


A mash-up of news.

Oh, man. Yesterday my sinuses ached, I had a slight tingle in my throat and I was light-headed. Today, my nose is officially running. Congratulations J, you have contracted your first cold in years. Nonetheless, there is nothing more satisfying than expelling the foul contents from my nostrils into a waiting tissue. Having my nose cleared out so it can resume its respiratory duties can feel like a warming glass of aged whiskey: satisfying. I'm thinking of cutting out of work early today so I can rest and read. Robin and Grace are coming into town today and they might be crashing at our place. I can't be an exceedingly charming host, but the most I can do is actually be there if they arrive. I do have to pick up some things on the way home, so leaving early will buy me some precious time.

I dropped lit theory this morning. I didn't like it, but I eagerly await my theory courses in my third and fourth year.

Did I mention Robin proposed to Grace on Christmas morning, and she said yes? I want to send my congratulations to them both and all the best in their future together!


Notes towards "Patterns in group behaviour found in individuals within total institutions"

Years ago, I used to think that schools were structured exactly like prisons. The "inmates" were not allowed to leave the property, civil behaviour was rewarded (such as obeying the "authorities," or teachers and administrators) and deviant behaviour was punished. Last night I was thinking that schools don't resemble prisons, but rather the "clients" within schools and prisons are subjected to the same structure and behave much the same way (a strict hierarchical structure composed of small groups bound by ethnicity, class or personal tastes) because they are people confined to a kind of total institution. Because their day-to-day lives are so regulated and regimented, the same kind of behavioural pattern, modified in accordance to the socio-economic environment and the desired outcome of the total institution (prisons isolate offenders and attempt to rehabilitate them, schools educate children and contribute to their socialization; although, both institutions are agents of socialization), emerge within both institutions.

What got me thinking about this was the difference between public schools and post-secondary schools. If schools were prisons, then what about universities? Since post-secondary institutions are schools, then the same behavioural pattern should be apparent. My hypothesis is that the behaviour found in schools/prisons do not emerge in post-secondary environments. The difference between the two is the relative freedom granted to post-secondary students: they can leave the campus, choose their courses and regulate their own daily routines. Note the descriptor used: "institution." I should clarify how the terms are used in this instance. Institutions can be formal like schools, or informal like cultural practices. In this case, I'm referring to formal structures.

Where to go from here? Maybe examining the literature found in institutions (pamphlets, textbooks, "codes of conduct") and literature written by those in institutions. Is "common sense" taught in these institutions? How does this "stabilize civility" in society, in regards to Durkheim? Should Durkheim be addressed? I'll most likely cite Goffman. This is somewhat related to my notes on common sense.

What is the logic of the institution and how do institutional agents (both "clients" and "authorities") relate themselves to the rest of society? Does their literature reveal anything, like poems or personal narratives?


First day!

The first day was good, very good - now I'm exhausted and I'm ready for a hot mug of tea and a book. I was criss-crossing the campus all morning, dodging students and hunting for classrooms. Unfortunately, I still have some schoolwork to finish, like a short reading for sociology (Habermas and the public sphere) and English (Pope's essay on literary criticism) tonight, and some tomorrow. I already dropped one course and tomorrow night I'm going to try to trade sociology classes; lose Canadian social structure for crime and society. I don't need the Canadian class because (a) I have to take a Canadian studies class in my fourth year in order to graduate and (b) I've been thinking about crime a great deal, especially in light of the tragic shootings in Vancouver and Toronto.

I'm still debating about whether I should keep introduction to literary theory. Here's my reasoning: I don't need another first year course, in fact, I should be taking third year courses at this point. Since this intro class is a first year course, it will only hold me back. Second, the university offers exemplary classes in lit theory in the third and fourth year level. And to top it off, I already own the text book. Since I have the syllabus, I can simply teach myself the material. Why not? I've been an autodidactic since I was seventeen. I'll have to make a decision soon.


Miles to go before I sleep.

Tomorrow is the first day of school. Almost everything has been taken care of today, like doing my laundry and organizing my notebooks and such. I still have a few little tasks to finish before I go to bed. I'm not as nervous as I was last semester; although, I'm concerned about making it to class on time. Most of my days at school start at either 9:00 or 8:00 in the morning, and everything on campus is at least ten to fifteen minutes away from one another. Ah, well.

I picked up Baudelaire's The Flowers of Evil (finally!) and Darwin's On Natural Selection at the bookstore, thanks to the gift certificate I got from my parents. For my thirtieth birthday, I want to sail Darwin's route around the Galapagos Islands, ideally in a tall ship.

One of the internet toys I've been exploring is Library Thing. I have an account and I've included just a few titles. Over the month I'll be adding more to my reading list.

Off to finish what I've started.

Some photos of Christmas, 2005.