Saturday, September 30, 2006


new MAs

finally hung out with the other new MAs properly. it was a lot of fun. we went out to the indian restuarunt on campus (nice food!) and then to a dodgy pub. spent a lot of time discussing our students (teaching is increasingly interesting) and whining about our workloads, which is *so* the point of these sorts of excursions. and i got a toast for navigating international beuracracy. warm 'n' fuzzies! (of course, we then toasted to drinking and then to not drinking, for the girl who doesn't. but still. i feel special. in a specialbus kinda way.)

speaking of which, my shipping crate is here but i can't find out where or how i get it back. it has been a particularly unpleasant experience trying to find out. wish me luck.

have i mentioned what lovely weather we've had? blue skies and gentle sunshine, with the fluffy white clouds floating above the mountains.

today is marking and hair cut.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

random stuff i've been remembering

*walking down to the servo in yarras with the gaurox, wearing sixteen million layers and gossiping
*listening to joss stone on repeat in the 'cote, looking out the window onto an orange brick wall and drafting my thesis over and over
*my lovely desk set-up with sculptures and reference books and little bowls of things to fiddle with. and a finger-puppet of a clown.
*best noodles in the world
*drinking bubbly at myers place with the tacos girls (or indeed, drinking bubbly anywhere - they don't sell it by the glass here! aargh!)
*that great deep outdoor pool off sydney road, with steam rising off it after sunset
*borrowing kidlit journals from the erc
*the morning after circus - when reaching for the alarm clock hurt you knew it had been a good session
*long days flopping around the carlton flat or the clifton hill house or miss b's old abode, doing nothing much. eating a lot.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

gardening trauma

oh god, my cyclamen has started to die *already*! the flowers have gone all floppy. why why WHY?

and why are my gardening experts galivanting in the desert instead of answering my questions???

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

we seem to be experiencing technical difficulties.

all wot's happening

on rereading, that last post with the email is incredibly pompous. whoops. if it makes it any better i gave a lovely tute today on "maus" and how to read comics with an overhead and group work and deconstructing the semiotics of speech bubbles. and i brought in 'in the shadow of no towers' for them to see, which is this fabulous gut-wrenching book about s11 by art speigelman. it's in the form of an enormous board book and i've wanted it for years, but it was 50 or 60 dollars at polyester and here is only $27 also study so totally justified. anyway, it was a fantastic collaborative engaging learning environment. so there. also got their first assignment. here are excerpts from my favourite so far:

'For my essay on "Maus", my thesis is: "The graphic novel "Maus", by Art Spiegelman, tells the story of a man [. . . ]'
'My first body paragraph deals with an obvious yet, hidden element of this novel. My topic sentence is as follows:'
'My conclusion paragraph would come in now.'

(i know it is probably wrong to laugh at yr students, but i'm new to this business and totally have extenuatings)

started planning the christmas jaunt with tofu and the hardfarmer. here's the draft itinerary as stands:

Friday Dec 21- Ballet in London
Sat Dec 22 - train to Windermere
Sun Dec 24 - walking in Lake Dist perhaps cycling depending on the weather etc
Mon Dec 25 - YHA has kitchen so will cook yummy lunch and so will eat and drink lots and go for a walk. Pray that it snows and we can go sledding too.
Tues Dec 26 -York,
Wed Dec 27 - Haworth
Thurs Dec 28- Stratford apon Avon
Frid Dec 29 - early train to Bath
Sat Dec 30 -return to London or go to Coventry on way home from Bath?
Sun Dec 31 London -
Mon Jan 1 Oxford day trip?
Tuesday Jan 2 - Brigton day trip?
Wenesday Jan 3 - Cambridge day trip?

so exciting! i'm applying for a scholarship in children's literature here, which is worth $1500 and would defray the costs. i've also started embroiling myself in student/department politics like a good little grad student. say hello to the treasurer of the graduate society! sat in on a department meeting today with a controversial vote about a new private uni affiliated with the public one (sound familiar, anybody?) and have volunteered to meet'n'greet for the upcoming conference. which i'd better start writing my paper for.

study is still damned hard, but i am making sure to be massively overprepared for every class and am managing to hold my own. more or less. speaking of which. . .

but, quickly, made a fab meal tonight (especially good considering i can store all of my cutlery, crockery and glassware in two drawers) thus:

chickpeas are totally my lover. and mushrooms. mmmm. . .

and discovered that my (exorbitantly expensive) canopener is in fact a bloodthirsty doommachine of death:

and this is my coffee maker, c/o c+g. oh i love it so much! it is so small and cute and red and it makes coffee! it has brightened up my mornings considerably. but you have to watch the little bugger or it spouts boiling coffee in great steaming arcs across the kitchen.

damn medieval studies

i think all the woodcuts of monstrous births are going to my head.

Monday, September 25, 2006

this was sent to me at midnight, two days before the proposal is due in. she does, of course, have all this information in the handout i gave her.

Hi gtg,

I'm *****, from the *** tutorial class. I
wasn't at the tutorial on ***, and I was told by a friend
that an essay proposal is due this Tuesday. I have a few questions about
the proposal:

What is the proposal about? What is the topic? What are the criteria/marking
scheme? Are there any formats that i have to follow? Is there a specific way
that i have to present the proposal?

Also, could you tell me what the class went over in the tutorial?
Hope to hear from you soon. Thank you.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

not to labour a point. . .

but that's the view from the class i had last night. yes, that's snow up the back there. i suspect that lot is Balcarra Regional Park (looking north) over burrard inlet. it can be difficult to concentrate in some of these seminars, with the snow and the fluffy clouds and, in a different room, the sun setting over the sea.

These speccy views happen cos "The main campus is 1.7 km² located atop Burnaby Mountain, at an elevation of 365 metres (1,200 feet)." cribbed from the wikipedia entry on the uni (which is quite a good site if you want more images of the campus). there ya go, bbb! the whole uni is literally perched on top of a mountain. my ears pop coming up in the bus.

also, this is the view from the busstop down at kits thismorning:

and these are some views from the skytrain, which is an automated monorail relatively high above the city. i have heard suggestions that they remove theroofss and charge for a rollercoaster. whee!

if i get done for being a terrorist it'll be all this photography in public places.

from work

she said she wants to start writing to you because, quote, 'I thought
about GTG the other day when I made a paper plane and flew it into
the deep fryer'.

Thursday, September 21, 2006


oh my gawd! i have so much work! my brain is going to ooze out my nose!

but, quickly, quickly:

card with crazy dancing piggie from crazy auntie #37! huzzah! thankyou!

yoga today: "so for the next hour that's all there is, that breath in and out."

sucessful lesson on how to write a proposal. also two students in my office hour.
happy birthday, christopher!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

wot i have been up to

i went to a poetryslam. that was faaaaabulous. it really is a whole new art form. it's not performance poetry - much edgier. there is an emphasis on rhyme and assonance, and use of body language and hand gestures and, you know, voice volume and that sort of thing. and some damn good outfits. there were political poems and love poems and break-up poems and mother-blaming poems and losing-my-virginity poems. i liked the guy in the kilt and skull-print vest who performed about sectarian violence in ireland.

study continues fascinating. a lot of work though. i had one of those 'there's a whole lot of people here smarter than me' moments, so i am frantically reading and re-reading in order to be able to participate and not feel dumb. it's great to have classes where i can learn so much from the other students though, and what we're studying is fascinating. francis (the renaissance tutor) had us discussing the methodology, aims, telos and assumptions of the various articles we read, which was the first time i've done that in a classroom setting.

my students have their first assignment due in next week, which is causing them all much anxiety. i'm a little worried about the marking - apparently it is when the happy communal tute setting can turn nasty - but we get a lot of institutional support re. how to mark, so it should be fine. tutes are still fun. we start maus next. i have plans.

also reading lots of great stuff in my "spare" time, like "whales on stilts" (hilar), an adult novel by tove janson of moomin fame, roy miki's poetry and coupland's "city of glass", which you all must read in order to understand vancouver. also it is hilar.

i have made it into the pool twice now, which makes it gtg 2 v. pool 16 million. but still! i do enjoy swimming.

and now back to our regularly scheduled programming:


today it looks like this:

but i look like this:

because i got a lovely parcel from bbb! huzzah!

also i hung out with random hippies and ate vegie burgers in convo mall - we could see our breath. and m gave me muesli with no sugar and the hippies gave me organic apples and all in all there are lots of pretty happy things.

i have lots of other stuff to write about, but i have been *studying* - shock horror! just wanted to let bbb know it arrived.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

international talk like a pirate day

The pirate speaks,"hi thar ye all! i'm sittin' in me office waitin' for bone-idle students t' come visit me and gripe about their essays. i say "huzzah!' for international 'talk like a pirate' day. you be fabulous."

in news from home

thanks, grotty!

Monday, September 18, 2006

mornings are not my happy time

swiped from:

by an old school friend.

Sunday, September 17, 2006


i'm very fond of this seahorse

for bbb


Quarterback Dave Dickenson threw three touchdown passes Saturday as the B.C. Lions extended their CFL win streak to seven with a 36-20 victory over the slumping Montreal Alouettes.

we we (BC) shellacked montreal in a thorough sort of fashion. there. happy?


last night i went to a one-woman show about HD, the modernist poet. it was really good. the actor played all the parts, doing different voices and mannerisms, and did it so well. and HD's life was fascinating. little tricky to concentrate, cos i'm not getting much sleep. i'd like to read some of her poetry now.

then tonight, there was this:

and this. . .

i am getting the full cultural experience. oh yes. the footy was fun too. there was a big crowd (36'000) who were all very enthusiastic, and it was fun to see a different sport. it's a very stoppy and starty game. the idea is to run a certain distance with the ball before being tackled to the ground. more or less. the intracies are beyond me. and you get points if you disable people at certain times or places on the field. i went with a couple of girls from my grad classes (and TAing), and one of their boyfriends.

this morning i went out to kitsilano and went through lots of fabulous bookshops and got some really good books. it's hard because there's such good stuff and so cheap (relatively). got out to that children's bookshop i'd heard about (fabulous) and found good secondhand bookshops i will trawl through to see if i can get more of my set texts for less. also good food (one shop that sold only cupcakes! with lovely thick icing. it was all pink and there were lots of four-ish girls in there) and some interesting public transport (i'm getting much more confident with it) and positive comments on my (silly) outfit.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

random things

*mountain bikers wear not only helmets but shin pads

*coffee is measured in ozs. i like an 8oz latte. well, i kind of like it.

*i have to learn to say 'tutorial'. they translate 'tute' as 'toot', which is a slang word for farting.

*you navigate by the mountains. the mountains are north.

*pedestrian crossings at the lights chirp like birds.

*they give change down to the last penny (one cent piece). the pennies are made of copper, and the cost of making one is more than a penny (ie. material and labour).

*many shops will take american money, but only count it as being worth the same as canadian money. so you lose about 11c per dollar.

*books cost about half that as in aus. well, maybe a bit more. but paperback picturebooks are $8 and glossy art books about $30.

*skytrains (monorail) have no drivers. i intially didn't believe this horrifying claim, then i actually looked for a driver on one and lo! there were none to be found!

*traffic lights flash

Friday, September 15, 2006

story slam

"Slam poetry is a postmodern form of performance poetry that occurs within a competitive poetry event, called a "slam", at which poets perform their own poems (or, in rare cases, those of others) that are "judged" on a numeric scale by randomly picked members of the audience. It can also consist of several poets performing without being judged."


i went to a storyslam, which was a variation on the theme. each participant had five minutes at the mic (and were gonged or deducted points for going over) and the tyle ranged from standup comedy to performance poetry. anne (lovely girl from PE island - not her real name) and i ended up judging (we held up cards with numbers) and got booed for giving scores in the 6s! i've never been booed before! it was not like any creative writing thing i've been to before, something i've wanted to see for years and wasn't able to in aus.

taught another lovely tute yesterday. it is such fun. i even got them doing dialogue in a group discussion! and they wanted to know which part of england i'm from, which is sweet of them. . .

and had fried eggs at a greasy spoon! ha! with saf - we talked about race politics for about three hours. i seem to spend a lot of time talking about politics.

this morning is reserved for getting screwed over by bureaucratics and money (again). if they're mean to me i'm going to cry. then they'll be sorry.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


i have spent the last couple of days really getting bedded down in bureaucracy. it burns like a burning thing. however, each time i manage to gouge out an identificatory number of some sort i feel a little more like i belong. i may have a phone number. apply in person.

also had an ascanlit class where we actually got stuck into the poems, which was fabulous (attnetion span doesn't hold for four hours though, oh no) and have started studying again. back at what i'm good at.

taught another tute, it went really well. i love that first group. they are so keen and they do stuff that i tell them too. one of them asked how i was settling in. i make them do name rounds. (any old girlzoners out there?)

friend stuff still bouncing along. i found out of the girls i was intially a bit 'meh' about is really into labour history and canada's federation and civil unrests. fascinating stuff. who knew all that about quebec?

Monday, September 11, 2006


also happy s11. i got 'the NY times' and 'the globe and mail' (van) and they both have huge specials on it. v. interesting. otherwise un-commemorated, at least on the mountain.

frances bacon

'Has anyone met the Bacon before? Oh, it's a whack-job, you're gonna love it.'

oooo, lecturer crush. . .

finally had my first renaissance seminar and had a lovely time. very lively (and spunky) prof, masses of reading to do, lots of good challenges. and again with the drinking after class with the gradkids. the rest of today sucked pus, to use spike's phrase.

yesterday i met up with another ex-pat (*does hand symbol*) from MU and spent a wonderful day wandering the city talking shop and bitching about the coffee. caught the tiny little ferry out to granville island and checked out very beautiful and expensive art work and caught bits of the fringe festival - random graffiti pit with extra funky artists working on huge canvases. it was very good to hang out with an aussie. ta to supervisor for hooking us up. oh and granville island is spectacular, obviously, with a sort of st kilda-ish feel with all the boats, viccy market feel and then the huge mountains. oh the mountains. ta to missymojay for reccomendation. oh and also the gyoza king recomm! yumness!

then i watched four episodes of the xfiles with J+m and hit the van streets at 11pm twitching.

it's wonderful to have so many comments. lubs to you all!

Sunday, September 10, 2006

this is a Conservation Area

much of yesterday was a bit crummy. the heavens closed on us, grey and spitting (which actually felt quite nice, but looked sad). but when i was wandering round at 8am trying to phone the girls in london there were all these cranky looking little girls running around in shin pads, which was funny. i went to the MALL (you have to do the accent when you say that) and bought $100 worth of very boring household goods. they make the room nicer, they really do, especially the lamps and sheets, but $$$! and malls!

then long phone convers with the paternal body (communication glut!) and hughie, who i haven't spoken to since i left, and more skype with the gaurox. i feel loved.

then i went to the night market in chinatown with some of hte eng-grad kids, which was quite interesting. it was quite small and there was a stage with a closing ceremony going on, with dancing and signing and comedians (in chinese) and we had some unfamiliar food, which is all good. also a really nice barbequed corn on the cob. mmm. . .

today i got up bright and early (again) and, obeying bbb's injunction to 'get out there and do something', hit the trails by 9am. this despite the warning sign:

Remember this is a Conservation Area. Wildlife can include bears, coyotes, cougars. Beware.

as it happened, the only wildlife i saw were some squirrels, one of which got very cranky with me and sat up a tree squeaking until i went away and left it alone. they'r ekinda like possums except much smaller and quicker.

i saw views like this:

(tell me when you're sick of photos of mountains) and had a lovely long bushwalk through this strange foreign-smelling forest. it was really nice. also the first real exercise i've done in a long time. i think i will repeat again soon. and i sat on a log and meditated.

good plans for today.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

crazy auntie

this is jt (in the red helmet) with her anti-magpie gear. thanks for sending me this and keep pedaling on!


it was TA day today, so i went to a series of fairly informative workshops on how to be a better TA, and what to do if people confront you about not getting an A or if they buy their paper on the internet and that sort of thing. then pizza and drinkies with other TAs. i hung out with the other english grads. lookit me with proto-friends! it was fun.

anyway, then we had jamaican food for tea (fried green bananas!) and talked marxism, which profs are sleeping together and what the food's like in russia (so hip. so very hip.) and went back to j+r's place for more beer. and on the way to the bus-stop i saw this!!!:

the little blob in the middle is a skunk! a real skunk with a big stripe on its tail! and, bbb, i agree about the nighttime vision on this camera. booo.

all in all, a satisfactory day. oh, the morning was still hard, but they always are. lots of good things planned for the weekend as well. might start trying to do some study too. i think it's time.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

i have an office!

see, very exciting! as you can see, i share with two others, and we are mainly expected to just be there two hours a week - office hours for our students to come see us.

this is what it looks like inside, and if you open that long window on the right and sidle through. . .

you get out on the balcony! which is where people hang out a bit. (with a view of the panopticon, if you will). so all good. i do have a phone in there, with an extension number. perhaps people could call if we coordinated times quite carefully. not sure. also i might be able to call out on a phone card. anyway, that makes me feel like i belong a bit more. the one other occupant i've met is very affable. it's a bit odd: having a bank card also makes me feel like i belong. not that i have any money on it yet, but i will get paid in a couple of weeks, i think. still filling in forms.

another exciting thing today was this:

i've never bought the NY times before! if the photo is a bit odd, it is because i put the camera on timer and balanced it on my shoe. the photo on the balcony was taken by a random girl up there admiring the view.

things are improving. i haven't cried all day. i have been off being irredeemably friendly and nice and enthusiastic and chirpy. very wearing. . . no, i'm meeting lots of nice people. classes have started. so far i've had one seminar about asian-canadian literatures, which is taken by a fairly famous prof, and it's his last grad seminar. so that's all a bit special. also he is incredibly knowledgeable. a lot of the material went over my head, but i just let it wash and picked up what i could. i can see i'll learn a lot. i've also been to three first year lectures (two for the first year class i'm TAing for and one by a proto-friend on young adult lit) and led two tutes. the subject i'm teaching is on contemporary prize winning novels, and has 289 students! the prof, who is young and angular, does the lecture miked (with a headset and one of those battery packs on her waist) and there are eight TAs (Teaching Assistants - we run tutorials and mark papers). we all went out for coffee (nasty coffee) after the lecture today and swapped tute ideas. i'm trying to be a good girl and do min preparation for tutes, but it is interesting. i quite like teaching. my second tute was louder than my first, and didn't go quite as well, but on the whole i'm very happy with how it's going. i missed out on my other grad seminar because of the public holiday, which was disappointing, because the prof is apparently amazing. i met her once and she looks a bit like the crazy aunties and maternal figure.

went to an international students thing, which was a bit disappointing, but also went to the out on campus' icecream social today, which was nice. and we went out drinking after the asian-canadian seminar. canadian beer is not as icky as australian.


irredeemably social.


if you want to copy any of these pics (and stick them up the fridge!) or look at them closer up (worried you won't be able to read the print in that last photo) you can crlt-click or right-click on them and open the link in another window or save it separately. something i only learnt this year.

images of daily life

has your download exploded yet?

how i get around (regaining an affection for buses), what i'm reading (for a very interesting and challenging course), an example of the architecture, some self-absorbedness and one of the bits in today's paper, to answer grotty's question. picture me in novia scotia bank with a grey-suited man, drawing a picture of a sting-ray for him. . .

new room

this is my new room. my favourite things are the view of concrete (see photo three) and the one (count 'em!) light fittings in the whole place - right up near the door. i'm going to buy a desklamp.

but i have do have wonderful plants now, and a decent bookshelf and desk. once i can find some blutack i'm going to stick up photos and everything, and i imagine they will do a similar thing to the plants it terms of making it a nicer place to be.

some drawings

grot requested i sketch something she hasn't seen before and post a photo of it. which is a fabulous idea. so this first one is the view from renaissance cafe, across the bus depot to the mountains (one of which may be grouse mountain, i think - on the left). the scale doesn't show up very well.

the other two are little scribbly things i quite like. the nib of the pen is a little thicker than i prefer.

trees for the jatyspeth

these are all taken round campus, so you can see the greenness of it. these are the two main sorts of trees - the maple-ish ones and the pine-ish ones.