Monday, October 29, 2007

halloween is fun! the GRE is not!

phew! since i saw you last i did the GRE, rode round the city for three hours dressed like a raccoon, went to a slam poetry performance (and that was just friday!), went to the parade of lost souls and a pumpkin carving, and marked about twenty essays. now i'm back with the flashcards and have time to catch my breath.

i like halloween. it's fun!

the GRE was not fun, but it's over now and i never have to do it again. even though i allowed something like an hour extra to get there i was very nearly too late cos i couldn't find the testing place. get this - the testing service, ran by an institute calling itself "cambridge college of technology," was IN THE MALL. exhibit A, the mall map, with an "education" section:
i don't know why this sort of thing surprises me, honestly. when you enrol at X university you put subjects in your "shopping cart" until you're ready to finalise the enrolment. but the north american commercialisation of education is another rant. actually, no, it's not. this is the paraphernalia from my study for these two exams:
that's some $400 worth of books, there, and i've done this on the cheap. you can spend several thousand dollars on training courses for it. not to mention the $185 it costs to take each test! luckily i'm part of a hippie-sharing-grad-community and only had to buy one of those books new. keeping in mind that the GRE is mandatory for anyone wanting to get into grad school in america.

anyway, all the flashcards and the study guides paid off. you may call me Mr. White American. i did very well in the verbal section and not too badly in the maths, which i'm very happy about. however stupid and pointless the exam is, those marks will help me get into a good university for my phd.

now i'm studying for the subject exam, which is where they give you a snippet of poetry (or prose or a play or criticism or whatever) from any piece of the canon and ask me questions about who wrote it, when, who their mates were, what else they wrote, what play they're referencing in the third line and what you call that verb they're using. essentially, see that fat reddish book in the left pile called "the norton anthology of english literature"? i need to memorise that.

i have plenty of opinions on the point of this exam too, but i'll save them for another post, cos there's exciting halloween stuff i'm missing out on here.

okay, so i stumbled out of the mall, exhausted and caffeine deprived and made my way to my beloved commercial drive, where i holed up in an italian cake shop til i felt human again. then i did critical mass! oh, so pretty! lots of people dressed up in such cool halloween costumes! there was a woman dressed up a diary, with a real communal diary on a clipboard (i made an entry), a mummy all wrapped up in bandages, lots of people in furry animal costumes, a guy on a huge tall bike with a huge stuffed chook attached, noah pulling a cardboard ark and elliot, with ET in his front basket. it was great fun. i love my raccoon costume, too:
it was dark for most of the ride, with a gorgeous full moon (people howled). here's the view from one of the bridges we took:

then i cycled off to see shane koyczan and the short story long. he's a slam poet. it was a good event.

the next night was the parade of lost souls - i went last year and raved, remember? people playing with fire? it was so much fun, and so scary! this year i marched in the parade with some mates who were dressed as a pirate, serafina from the pullman "his dark materials" books, the TA from hell (devil horns and a "reading is fun!" badge) and a unicycle, and we saw all the good costumes. some highlights:

a pile of ninjas perched in a doorway, all in black except for their eyes. they were all piled up together and were stroking each other in a really creepy way.

a guy pushing a sculpture trolley with a gruesome and realistic beheading scene on it, guts everywhere and an angel of death triumphant above. a pack of people dressed like crows descended on it, cawing, and tried to eat the gore.

two older ladies dressed like elves, carrying huge lollipops. we asked if they were oompa-loompas and they burst out singing "we are the lollipop twins!" in squeaky voices, then hit us on the head with the lollipops.

a family of skunks - mummy skunk, daddy skunk and baby skunk in one of those backpack things.

lots of really realistic deaths heads and zombies. one creepy masked death caught me staring at him and hit his mask with his axe, causing sheets of fake blood to roll down his face. ew.

a drive-by shooting costume - the guy had a car door and a fake gun he pointed out the window.

this bride puppet was tickling a man in an elmo costume who squealed "elmo scared!"

great fire twirlers
a creepy and realistic zombie with a creepy child vampire sitting on his shoulders.

a spock and kirk couple with greyed hair and a portable drip.

this roaming folk band. i got to dance with them - it was ace.

i could go on and on, it was so cool, but it's hard to describe it. the atmosphere is half of it - any time you turn around you see something cool, and it's all dark, with lots of fairy lights and flaming torches. mmmm, so that was fun.

yesterday i went pumpkin carving at a community garden under the skytrain. i like pumpkin carving! it's fun!
yes, it rained the whole time, but only lightly, plus i am Hard Core. i got pumpkin guts everywhere and made three fabulous pumpkins to light up on the front verandah on wednesday. then i may make them into pumpkin pie. yum!
happy halloween, y'all!


JT said...

Pity you are having to study so hard, cos otherwise you are having so much fun. No-one even knows it's halloween here (well nearly).
We have had some rain and now the lake has water again and birds
See how boring life in Wodonga is - all I ever write about is the weather and the lake!!
Although, I did have a very lovely weekend eating wood-fired pizza and drinking nice bubbles!!
I'm sure you will do well in all your GRE tests cos you are soooooo clever!!!
Lots of Love

Epponnee-Rae said...

hi jt,

i know! stupid study getting in the way of life again!

people here are shocked and horrified that we don't have halloween in australia. but then they reassure me that we get guy falkes day, so it's okay. . . sigh.

i like your stories about the weather and the lake! do send a photo of the lake with water in. it will make a nice contrast to the other one.

glad you had a good weekend. i look forward to hearing aobut it. how did your research go? did you send me a postcard?

good to hear from you and thanks for the support.

lots of love
crazy niece #27

Epponnee-Rae said...

and here's a bit of that post after being run through an Ali G translator:

"anyway, all da flashcards an' da bone guides paid off. yous may call me mr. honkey american. I did well well in da verbal secshun an' not too badly in da maff, which I iz well chuffed about. howeva stupid an' pointless da exam iz, those marks iz gonna help me get into da heavy university fe me phd."

folgrot said...

i have no response to that

itchy fingers said...

guide me to this translator IMMEDIATELY

Epponnee-Rae said...

Gauri said...

you have nooo idea how jealous i am of you (but not about the GRE). leaving the house !! leaving the house !! it's something i aspire to.

do i owe you mail ?

BBB said...

Say something? Say what? Looks like fantastic fun. folgrot has something for your next Hallowen costume. What might that be????

Nimmersatt said...

Aha! Guy Fawkes. Bonfire night tonight! AND we have a Canadian living in our street who came up with the excellent suggestion that trick or treat friendlly houses should carve a jack-o-lantern and place a candle in it outside their house, and informed us of this through the Road's community association newsletter. Though I hadn't read the newsletter, so when I came home, thinking grimly about not opening the door all evening, I instead found a cheerful orange gappy toothed glow in the street and lots of happy children. go Canadian lady!

Yay for good marks on general GRE. Good luck with the dead white males section!


Nimmersatt said...

I found yon translator, so for a bit of ole lang syne (yes, I'm aware I'm mixing my dialects), here's a Yorkshire version of my comment to remind you of t'lovely Christmas we lasses had last year.

aheur! guy fawkes. bombie neet t'neet! 'n wi've eur canadian livin i' wee street whoa cem up wi' t' gran' suggestion 'a' trick or trea' friendlly 'ouses should carve eur jack-o-lantern 'n place eur candle i' it ahtside thea 'ouse, 'n informed wee o' dis thru t' road's community association newsletta. though ah 'adn't read t' newsletta, sa when ah cem 'ooam, thinkin grimly abaht not openin t' door orl evenin, ah asteead fahn' eur cheerful orange gappy toothed gla int' street 'n alsooarts o' 'appy bairns. nip on canadian lady!

yay for gran' marks on general gre. gran' jouce wi' t' dead whi' males section!


E. MAY said...

Yay! Thanks for sharing all the photographs and fun commentary. Looks like a great night!

Reading from Pittsburgh,