What am I doing with a blog?

Awww…heck. I dunno.

Straw…uh…persons September 30, 2006

Filed under: Uncategorized — himbly @ 1:35 pm

In class yesterday we briefly discussed methods of argumentation. Specifically, some of the more faulty methods of argumentation. We discussed, among other things, the passion some people have for the use of a Strawman.

Strawman arguments are those where the presenter of the argument makes up a fictitious enemy. Often, that enemy is an exagerated version of those whom he/she intends to argue against. Then they go to work fighting against this fictitious enemy and when they figure they’ve won, they declare victory over the whole shebang. But really, they’re fighting no one.

I thought back to something I saw the other day. This strawman is so huge that there’s practically hippies dancing around it in the desert. My favourite part…hahaha…is the ‘take that, feminists!’ attitude that she and her buddies seem to take when what they’re saying is an absolute crock of crap mixed with nonsense. Yes…wounded to the core are all women who gladly associate themselves with the word ‘feminist’.

You want 5 things that feminism has done for me?

1- I have the right to vote and I am seen as a person in the eyes of the law.

2- I have the right to my own body. I can decide to not get pregnant, to stop a pregnancy safely, and I also have the means to fight against those who may choose to harm it. This is not a right that women around the globe have access to.

3- I have the right to pursue an education and am proud to be the student of such brilliant men and women.

4- I have the right to work without the harrassment of bosses and coworkers. I have the right to any job I am qualified for without regard to my gender (among other things).

5- I have the honour of having many male friends (and a wonderful boyfriend) who understand all these things and more besides. This, far from making them “pussies”, makes them far more manly than any mullet wearing douchebag that cheats on his wife. Wait. I know plenty of douchebags that cheat on their wives that don’t have mullets at all. Point being that men who accept a woman’s strengths and are supporting and proud be it their daughter, sister, wife, girlfriend or friend are cool.

6- Due to my geographic location, socio-economic status, and other stuff that don’t have to do with my gender anymore, I have opportunities most people in the world don’t even dream of. If I work hard enough and play my cards right (and hopefully am smart enough), what I can accomplish is nearly limitless in fields my foremothers never even thought to go near. If those millions of women in a very similar situation to mine don’t realize that someone before you paved that way, then they are being simply ungrateful and selfish.

…and no, with the possible exception of #5, I did not get all these things without someone fighting for them and I call the people who fought for these things feminists.

 

That’s how Nanny rolls…

Filed under: Uncategorized — himbly @ 11:55 am

Yesterday was the 26th aniversary of my grandfather’s death, so my mother and I went to pick up my grandmother and take her to the cemetery. I know this sounds like sad times but it was 26 years ago so it’s less sad and more just taking my grandmother so that she could hang out at his grave and we could be there with her. She wants to go, we go…but it’s not a morbid thing.

Anyway, that aside. After my class yesterday, I drove up to Mum’s house and then we both went to Nanny’s to pick her up. My grandmother, as many who know me already understand, is quite a woman. She just turned 90 this summer and she still lives in the same house the family lived in shortly after they moved to Canada. Incidently, my own parents moved into a house 5 blocks away just before I was born, so I attended the same school as my aunt and uncle had before they lost their Scottish accents.

No…we’re not Scottish. Short answer to follow:

Nanny grew up in Poland and was moved to Germany and then moved to Scotland where she reunited with my grandfather after 8 years of war estrangement. Her first exposure to English was in Scotland…which, as you can imagine really makes for a crazy accent in Canada…and then she had a stroke 6 years ago which left her with a mild aphasia. Her words are mixed up, in a nutshell. This is my grandmother’s language history and why I will be writing the way I do when I quote her. I won’t do the aphasia part as you are certain to not understand me then.

(By the way, my grandmother was taken, without choice, by the German army to Germany where she continued to live as a forced labourer for the rest of the war. She was 27 and she never went back to Poland. Anyone having problems with us seeking reparations for her during the short period they were available is invited to stick a carrot in their bottoms.)

So..where was I? Yes. So, we arrive at Nanny’s house and she’s insisting we go out to her backyard for reasons we weren’t able to figure out but dutifully trotted out there anyway. Nanny has a pretty big yard, which she adores and she truly finds energy in tending to her garden. It is surrounded by a wooden fence, built -I believe- by one of my uncles maybe a decade ago. It’s held up quite well, but probably could use a coat of paint by now. If you’re my grandmother, it needed a coat of paint yesterday. So…my 90 year old grandmother decided she was going to paint the durn fence. And she did…only 5 boards, but they were well and evenly painted. With a bath brush.

Yes. She painted 5 boards of her fence using the paint she found somewhere in her little metal shed (that I used to play house in countless times) and an old bathbrush. The kind that you use in the shower for your back that have soft bristles on the one side and hard knobs on the other for massaging.

Ahem. Again, because I think it bears repeating a third time. My 90 year old grandmother painted her fence with a bathbrush yesterday.

My mother, of course, protested. “Mum,” she said, “we’ll get someone to do it if you want it painted.” Nanny just shrugged and sort of agreed. Then, after thinking about it for another minute, my mother added, “But it’s fall, Mum. There’s no point in doing it now, it’s going to snow fairly soon.”

My grandmother looked defiant as she slowly climbed the stairs back to her back porch, “I maybe no here springtime, but I wanting dis now, so I doing. You want in spring, you doing. I here today. I want today. I do today.”

Mum and I looked at each other exaspirated but proud to be of this insane genetic line.

Nanny, as much as I adore the little package of pure stubborn ability, isn’t the type of elderly woman that gives inspirational speeches. Most of what she says I do not enter under my internal category of ‘sage advice’. But this…this little outburst I do interpret as wisdom and gladly file under the heading of ‘words to live by’.

Thanks Nanny.

 

I swear on a stack of myspace profiles September 28, 2006

Filed under: Uncategorized — himbly @ 8:07 am

Short post today, and very probably not well thought out.

But, I have a confession to make. You know that little link on my sidebar? The one that tells you cheerily that you, too, can click it and ‘be my friend’ at myspace? I’m addicted to that little underlined linked beauty.

Know why? ‘Cause *deep breath*…I stalk Calgarians. I don’t get out much these days. My friends, well, although there’s always ~something~ going on, it’s rarely due to their own stupidity because they don’t have much of that anymore. None of it is the real gritty type gossip that I miss and that I used to have regular contact with through dating complete f-ups and knowing their friends. None of it is the type of gossip you can acquire 3 pints in while people watching at a crusty (yet popular) pub. Enter myspace.

I read about myspace and the total douchebags that rule it in Vanity Fair. I was, however, amazed. Like shitting, myspace is another in that list of ‘great levelers’. My profile/page is just as accessable as K-Fed’s and his is as accessable as Noam Chomsky’s. We all had to ‘sign up’, we all had to gussy it up the way we wanted, we all have the option to gussy it up more, if we choose. We all write, or dont’ write. We all accept friends, or don’t accept friends. We’re equal in this universe the internet provides us.

Then I found the pictures. Hey! I recognise that guy! Hey! I know that girl! Hey! They write stuff about their lives and, if you read between the lines, it’s pure hilarity…or it’s sad. Sometimes. But so is dirty, dirty gossip…which I love!

If I ruled it, though….I’d ban the option for anyone really over 18 to set it to private. Stuck up bitches.

 

my hair is totally psyched, yo… September 22, 2006

Filed under: Uncategorized — himbly @ 7:59 am

I got my hair cut a couple of weeks ago.

As always, my hairdresser/friend does a great job. I was also relieved to be rid of the shapeless mess my hair had become and turned into a style.

But here’s the problem. Style and I have never been close. As much as I like style, as much as I covet style’s affection, style continues to shun my advances. This, as all interactions between me and style, is what happened with the breakdown of my hair.

It just was simply ~not~ doing what it was meant to. I’m ~meant~ to have my bangs mostly sweeping off to the side while an adorable little faux-bob framed my face with a gentle curl. What happens is my bangs flop in one big lump while the longer sides frizz out and make it look like I”m a basset hound.

After a jolting workshop in scholarships and a more calming meeting with my prof, I ducked into the campus salon and waited for the girl to stop being busy. She looked up, ‘hi.’

“Do you see what my hair is trying to do?”, I pulled and fluffed my hair to show it’s intention.

“uh huh”

“What do I need to make it do that?”

She asked a busy hairstylist who looked at me and said, “this stuff”. Bed Head. Okay. Apply it at the end when my hair is dry. Alright, I’m game.

I bought it and did the rest of the stuff in my day.

It’s morning now and I’m getting ready for my class. Showered, put in a little bit of stuff to give my hair some body and then waited for my hair to dry for the finishing touch.

I wrenched open the little blue sphere that contained this elixir of hair control (but not too much control) and what greeted me was a little message on the plastic throw-away cap.

“It’s off the hook!”

Really? Wow. That makes me feel so much better. Because I was just standing here in my bathrobe with this strange new container in my hands nervous that what I actually was holding was a symbol of the corporate fuddy-duddies that don’t speak to ~me~ as a hip, young(ish) person. I was nervous I was going to end up with my mother’s hair…or worse, my grandmother’s! I was nervous that you didn’t ~get~ me and that this misunderstanding between us would make a mockery of me for the rest of the day. But, then, I saw your little message to me and the use of my slang told me that, you know, we’re friends. In a different situation, me and this little plastic sphere would be going out, drinking, having fun. Shopping, maybe. Sure…it understands what would look good on me. Whew. I’m glad we cleared that up.

Hair stuff works fine, by the way…but I threw the note in the trash.

 

it’s late…

Filed under: Uncategorized — himbly @ 12:15 am

…and I just marked 2/3rds of 64 assignments carefully printed out by the cute little hands of 64 baby linguists. Awww.

I was thinking today. Two events have passed by. Two events that I would have thought I’d have some sort of opinion or comment. But nothing. I don’t want to comment on them. I think, however, I do want to comment on why I don’t want to comment.

Pope Benedict. Funny. I know what he said. I know where it was said and why it was said and why ~he~ said it was said. I haven’t delved that deeply…it was easy to find out all those things with minimal effort. What do I think? Meh. What is there to think?

Now…I realize that violence broke out and my ‘meh’ is not in any way meant to down grade or trivialize the impact made my his comments. But it’s hard for me to make a comment about something that was so obviously going to happen. Pope Bulldog’s job is to say that there are none better than Catholics. I know that’s not what he said, but he was thinkin’ it. What is not Pope Bulldog’s job is finding a way into the hearts and souls of Muslims everywhere and be beloved by those who worship differently. So, do I think his words were very enlightened? No…not particularly. Do I ever really find papal words to be that inspirational or ‘on-the-money’? Nope. Did I see this coming? Well, probably I would have had I thought about it…but no. I didn’t. But it didn’t surprise me.

Now, I’ve not kept up since the ‘apology’…but I have heard that he’s mentioned that this ancient text he quoted are not his thoughts but simply his recitition of what another man said about Mohammed, lo so many years ago. As a cardinal, Papa Ratzinger was a professor…not sure of what, but I’m guessing theology. He was one of the top advisors to JPII and, let’s face it, you don’t just ‘get’ to be pope. It’s like any other top position…strategy, kiddo. Strategy. My point: he’s not dumb. So, I’m having a difficult time figuring why he would quote this ancient text without thinking that it would be at least ~taken~ to be his own beliefs. Not sure…would need to do a bit more research on that.

Anyway…it causes violence. He probably should have thought to phrase things differently…those who are rioting should probably stop to think exactly what they are doing and I think we saw the whole mess before when it was drawn in 12 panels of cartoon hilarity (for ‘hilarity’ read ‘lame-ity’).

Now…on to Kimveer Gill.

Sad. Sad sad sad sad. Tragic. Awful. I felt a knot in my stomach when I heard.

He’s dead. Shot himself, it turns out. So….there’s nothing we can do about him. Let him pass because there are far more important people to focus your energy on. The victims and the families of the victims…and, let’s give a thought to the Gill family themselves as, as far as we know, they were devastated by the horror their son caused.

These things are terrifying, but we can’t let the insane acts of the occassional individual stop us from living our lives and taking the paths we have chosen.

Well..I was going to continue on, but I’m very tired now and bed is looking very inviting. Talk to you kids later.

 

gettin’ the ol’ creative juices flowin’ September 19, 2006

Filed under: Uncategorized — himbly @ 5:42 pm

I know I sound like a big ol’ whiney baby, but really my “new” life has hit me like a ton of bricks stuffed in a really big sock and swung by a very attractive giant. Things are starting to find their own groove now, but until then, I’m pretty much void of blog topics. Well, I”m not, but I don’t know what to say about the stuff I’m thinking.

Until then…another one of these lame ‘found it on another blog’ things:

YOUR ROCK STAR NAME: ( pet and current street name): Phoenix Fourth
YOUR MOVIE STAR NAME: (grandfather/grandmother on your moms side, your favorite candy): Zosia Truffle
YOUR “FLY Guy/Girl” NAME: (first initial of last name, first three letters of your middle name): A. Lou
YOUR DETECTIVE NAME: (favorite color, favorite animal): [my favourite things never stick, unless they’re food…so I’m going to pick the name of my fave yarn colour for the day and an animal I really like] Lettuce Monkey
YOUR SOAP OPERA NAME: (middle name, city where you were born): Louise Calgary YOUR STAR WARS NAME: (the first 3 letters of your last name, first 2 letters of your first name, first 2 letters of mom’s maiden name and first 3 letters of the town you grew up in.): Arcstpiacal SUPERHERO NAME: (“The”, your favorite color, favorite drink): The Green Water
NASCAR NAME: (the first name of both your grandfathers): This is not going to sound Nascar —> Ludwick Harold
FUTURISTIC NAME: ( the name of your favorite perfume/cologne and the name of your favorite shoes): [currently my fave scent is a mixture of cedar, basil, and lavendar oils and my fave shoes have been worn so much that the brandname is unreadable…so…] Cedar Basil Lavendar Winners -or- CBL Winners
WITNESS PROTECTION NAME: (mother/father’s middle name ) Antonina Roy

Well..that was fun. Back to reading.

 

Academic Girls don’t notice when you get your hair cut. September 16, 2006

Filed under: Uncategorized — himbly @ 10:39 am

Actually, that’s not true. Academic girls in my field don’t notice when you get your hair cut. My MGIS academic girl did…but she’s finished, so maybe that’s why she’s able to see trivial stuff again. ha.

I did it. One week of my MA and I finally feel like I’m okay. No more panic attacks, just a little, ‘oh my god, can I do this?’ but right now, I’m either delusional, or I’m feeling pretty good. Of course, there’s not much homework this weekend, so we can take that into account.

All the people I am sharing this grad school experience are great, it seems. I am also lucky enough to have one PhD that I’ve completely clicked with and hung out with all summer…she is lovely. Another PhD student is a girl I did my undergrad with; it’s nice to talk about the olden days with her because I remained in contact with none of the BA people. The new PhD is also very sweet. As for the MAs, I know one from last year and quite like her and the other two are very cool people. Yes…if you’ve been doing the math, the linguistics grad students total to 7. Small, but adventageous for us. I won’t be freaked out talking in class or presenting my papers with only 4 or 5 people in the room.

I’ve spent much of last week and part of this week feeling as though I was submerged and the top of the water was about 5 inches over my head. In my first class, my prof was going to as all four of us where our intrests lie so he could tailor the course to meet our needs. Suddenly, I was gripped in panic. What was I interested in? How could I answer that question? What if I say something stupid? I don’t know what I”m interested…..wait…uh…yes I do. I know exactly what I’m interested in. Wait! I can answer this question intelligently!! Hurrah! I AM GRAD STUDENT!

Then I stood up on the table and thumped my chest. For good measure.

Okay, I didn’t, but it almost made me giggle out loud when I felt the panic rising and subsiding so quickly.