Wednesday, December 17, 2008

I like to celebrate the end of studyseason by spending a couple hours re-reading my notebooks for fun.

Well puddin’,

I spent a nice long time this evening in the bathtub reading Joe Orton’s teleplay The Good and Faithful Servant. I liked it a lot, but the thing I liked most about it was that I did not at any point while reading it feel a pang of guilt that I should have been reading/studying something else.

Yes, that’s right pudding, I am DONE for the semester.

I know we’re all big fans of learning and everything, but it must be said: I’m also a big fan of sitting around eating candy canes and making my family wonder why they thought they missed me.

I get on the train bound out of the shire tomorrow afternoon, so this will be my last post of 2008.

I know, it’s madness!

In honour of the madness, I would like to share with you some selections from my class notes this semester. Some of these are direct quotes from profs you might well find yourself studying with if you come to Mount Allison. Harass me in the comments and I may even tell you who it was!

CAN YOUR HEART STAND THE SHOCKING FACTS? (Note: Some of these are not actually facts. Some are opinions, some are song lyrics that were distracting my brain, and some are just hilarious.)

-This grace is forced upon us.
-I AM THE SCARECROW MSTAKENLY BROUGHT TO LIFE WHEN THE ZOMBE APOCALYPSE CAME. (I actually wrote this twice on opposite sides of the same page, once vertical and once horizontally. I guess I must have had it earwormed pretty bad that day.)
-Sophocles—was old!
-THE END-->why?
-she tries to make her children immortal and oops...
-(fuck I cannot spell)
-screamy curses!=horror
-it’s always spring la la la
-We’re civilized. We don’t run around drunk in the forest killing animals with our bare hands. We have theatre.
-Oh THERE’S Dionysus
-it’s a staff. Looks like a pinecone on it.
-culty culty culty
-the stranger is soooooooo handsome
-they name their children after sad things so they’ll suit them later on.
-feminism was sort of invented by Charles Fourier, a dead white French dude...
-the whole process of pants
-“Don’t Let Your Girlfriends Ruin Your Marriage”: Lesbian Imagery in Chatelaine Magazine
-Happy Birthday Benjamin!
-um let’s build a new house.
-In what context can I really dance?
-herosexuality + mole dominance.
-treatment=“pelvic massage”—masturbate!
-“A very useful and satisfactory home service.”
-we’re an enchanting place
-everyone has some power—rec’ze it + exercize it!
-hey, you’re a human being and a citizen!-->that’s friggin’ radical.
-be a co-conspirator!—change reality!
-collecting baby teeth to test Stronium 90
-being buried alive is scary shit
-OMG, queering a text is a thing
-A pair of giant statue king feet in the middle of an onion field.
-Ziggurat (shaped like a stacky cake)
-Tiamat is a sea serpent with wings and mammal claws!
-YHWH is a G-d who beats the odds!—he likes a good show
-Weiderholungswang—the compulsion to repeat.
-Do stuff you don’t think you can do and you will be rewarded with milk and honey...yum.
-Manna!=Man-hu=“What is this?”bug poo.
-That’s a lot of oral tradition!
-G-d comes to dinner!
-suspected wives have to drink icky abortion water
-Saul could have been killed while having a pee
-“a thousand women at his bidding, I suppose...that’s a lot of sex.”
-they do some weird shit.
-verbs and nouns are different, bitch!
-the goddamned golden calves again
-King Asa...something something something
-a prostitute, obviously.
-[G o d i s v e r y b i g.]
-eat this scroll (nom nom, tastes like honey)
-it’s not nice to be exiled.
-eschatological sex
-uncontrolled, impossible creatures, tearing everything apart.
-“English is a language that ambushes other languages in dark corners and rifles through their pockets for spare vocabulary.”
-“This she-wolf is a reward to my kinsmen”
-Maps are pretty...
-OH MOONY MOON O MOONY MOON sometimes you’re yellow and sometimes you’re orange
-“looking for the aboutness”
-Hooray for Culture
-JSTOR + Project Muse win our nerd <3s!
-“it might seem reasonable to expect that, but you would be wrong, because this is academia”
-Librarians will fuck you up!-->so will architects.
-walking monster fetus!
-heroes stick out and it’s obnoxious
-“The better you get the more you fail.”
-like fucking gods.
-the fae always get you in these glas spaces.
-asking for Arthur’s monsterness
-I’m spelling Britain wrong.
-there will be other stories later when we get in trouble again.
-“It’s not that you have a chiuaua, it’s that you keep your chiuaua in a purse.”
-we do this with text. other ppl do it w/ other things.
-Henrys always come in clumps.
-hysterical pregnancies!
-Did Anybody See The Gorilla?
-“I can’t find any words in this poem.”
-Oh Boy We Have Cultural Anxiety Too!!!
-I want more tea.
-anatomy makes it weird
-birth is death but death is birth (Jesus stuff)
-he spends pages beating you up and has 20 lines to make it better.
-off doing weird things.
-Dear Geoff Berner,
Every time a professor refers to Queen Victoria, I hear you scream. It’s very distracting.
Thank you,
-Epic Stuff
-Whales are gonna take you down to Hell.
-Pope was an angry little man.


A lesson that sometimes taking notes in class is awesome because sometimes it helps you to remember awesome things that were said in class. Sometimes you don’t even remember the original awesome, and that makes it like fresh awesome all over again.

Speaking of awesome, today was the 2nd Annual Nerdfighter Project for Awesome on Youtube. FOR EXAMPLE:

If you’ve got some time on your hands, do please take a look at some of the neat-o P4A videos people have made. There are some truly excellent causes being championed in some really effective audio-visual ways by this fantastic bunch of hoodlums called “nerdfighters” that I couldn’t be prouder to call myself a member of.

More Life,

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Oh pudding,

I’m exhausted.

There’s a lot of stuff I haven’t told you. That’s the ironic thing about blogging. When you’re busy doing the kind of things that would make really interesting blog posts, you don’t have time to blog.

I didn’t tell you about the English Society Wine and Cheese (where we all tried to be subtle about perusing Dr. Brown’s record collection and Dr. Lapp read selections from A Christmas Carol and everybody smiled like little kids on a postage stamp and I convinced Katie to get tipsy with me and then I left my cake pan there and we went to somebody else’s house and spooned under a Boy Scout blanket watching Fight Club and The Tudors).

I didn’t tell you about regaining broadcasting powers at CHMA (which I’ve used the past two Tuesday nights to spew out my little radio show Skeleton Food, which you can learn more about here).

I didn’t tell you about submitting some of my poetry to our pretty little literary journal, 7 Mondays (which required an hour or so of fretful consultation with three trusted friends to decide which of my names to submit them under, and why).

I didn’t tell you about the in-class presentation of the Shakespeare in the Schools project (which will be revisited and performed in a more polished form a the high school in January).

I didn’t tell you about the Lessons and Carols service at the chapel featuring Elliot Chorale (which was beautiful).

I didn’t tell you about how incredibly amazing the Guy Davis Trio turned out to be (which was a superfantasticallymuch, and also Guy Davis totally hit on me because I poured his tea for him…which was equal parts extremely embarrassing and totally awesome).

I didn’t tell you about going to see Cloud Nine at Windsor Theatre in October (which broke my mind in a much-needed way).

…and no doubt a lot of other stuff too. It’s been a busy semester. Oh well. You know what I’m going to tell you about now? My tea party. You know why? Because it was a good tea party. I haven’t felt proud of very many things lately, but damn…my tea party hosting skills are nothing if not epic. (Photo credit for all pictures below unless indicated otherwise goes to Talisa Tims. I live with her!)

My flat-mate decided to document the progression of the cleaning of the flat photographically, perhaps under the (entirely realistic) assumption that we will never see our common areas this clean again. It took three friggin’ days, pudding. This is one of the pictures where you don’t see a bag of garbage perched on any of our furniture. (And yeah, that one wall is painted a completely different colour than the rest of the walls visible in the picture. That is only the beginning of the many paint-related anomalies in this apartment. Perhaps I will gve you a photograhic tour of them some day...because they are legion, and I kind of love them.)

CHMA radio personality and all-around nifty guy Grant Hurley described this table setting as “romantic”, and who am I to disagree? (Er, ignoring the plastic spice bags lurking behind the candy dishes.)

Later, as people arrived with baked goods and supplementary teacups it got perhaps a little less romantic-looking and a little more…how you say…AWESOME. (That loaf. That loaf is the loaf-love of my life. Made by the multi-talented Sara Williamson.)

My friends Katie and Roland are salsa dancing machines. Sometimes you stop paying attention to them for a second and when you turn around they’re doing salsa moves in your living room. It’s cute.

I made a huge pot of chai tea! I’ve been wanting to do this for ages. A friend of mine’s house used to constantly smell of chai tea, because his mother made it so often that the smell kind of seeped into the walls. His mother has since moved away to the country (close to where my parents live, in fact), and the smell has faded as a cluster of delightful but non-chai-obsessed students have taken up residence in the place. The point is, I’m a fan of home-made chai, and it turns out it’s not as difficult to make as I thought it would be, and it seemed to go over well with my guests.

Of course, this whole thing is really just an excuse to play with fire.

In a display of extreme awesomeness, Dr. Lapp, of reading-stuff-so-you-get-shivery-in-the-spine fame made an appearance at our little tea shindig (he is the bearded fellow pictured above). That was rather nice, as I used to like inviting a favourite teacher to advent tea at my parents' house, and I've been hosted for dinner at the Lap-Petlock residence a number of times over the past year and a half (mostly in conjunction with Catalyst events, as Dr. Lapp's partner, Melody Petock, is our staff advisor). It was quite sweet to be able to say that I'd put together a homey environment close enough to a real house to continue traditions from my childhood, and for invitations to go two ways with real grown ups.

Later, the aforementioned Grant Hurley tried to break the newly instated "No Leaving Without Hugging" rule. I was not impressed. Or at least that’s what this picture looks like to me. This may be revisionist history. We may not have even written said rule until some time after Grant’s departure. WHATEVER. (Note the cute number 7 on Grant’s shirt. That’s the 7 Mondays logo! Grant has somethingorother to do with 7 Mondays. That possibly means he’ll end up reading my poems even if they’re not deemed publishable. That’s a little embarrassing, because Grant is definitely a better writer than I am. But that’s okay. I am slowly trying to convince myself that a big part of being a writer is being embarrassed when your work is seen by people who are much better writers than you. This is, I suppose, incrementally less true for people who are better writers than I am, but shush. That part does not aid my personal mythology.)

That’s all I have to say about my tea party. It was nifty, though.

Today I wrote two exams: Lit. Periods to 1800 and Women’s Studies. Hence the exhaustion.

Strangely, I feel pretty good about the essay portion of the first one, aside from the fact that I could have used more time. I’m kind of in limerence with Sir Gawain and the Green Knight lately. And Beowulf, a bit. My essay was about how poets are in charge of ripping holes in you and your ideas about the world (or rather, widening the holes you leave open in your carelessness), and both of those poems are very good examples of that. And that, in itself, is a very good example of how I feel about my major. I’m impressed by the daring work that good writers do, and I’m drawn to studying it, but it’s also really, really uncomfortable, and sometimes I wish I had something even remotely approaching the idea of "ability" in a less emotionally/spiritually probing field. But no, I'm here with my English major and my Drama and Religious Studies minors, driving myself crazy by choice. Excellent.

Then you get a three hour break before geting depressed all over again blaming everything on patriarchy. (Oh Women's Studies...we've had some good times together, but I think this may be the end for you and I. It just Was Not Meant To Be. Although perhaps I shouldn't say such things.)

So yeah. I’m tired. And now it’s time to get to studying for my Hebrew Bible exam—wheee, more patriarchy!

I hope all is well with you, pudding. Make sure you’re drinking too much tea.

More Life,

P.S. - Oh geez, I can't not share this with you.

If any of you are this brilliant at coming up with satirical protest ideas, please come to Mount Allison. We're pretty cool, but we need more rabble-rousing of this caliber.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Impending Examinations + Upcoming Tea-centric Gathering + Potlucks Are Magic

December 5th means:
• Five days until my first two exams. (English Boot Camp and Women’s Studies on the same day, ouch.)
• Two days until my second-Sunday-of-advent tea party. (So much cleaning and baking still to be done!)
• One day after the last day of classes. (Awesome potluck at Cuthbertson House in celebration last night!)

Allow me to relate some details of each of these happenings in turn.


I’m not happy about this. But I can’t do anything about it. (Although the university does allow you to switch up your exam-taking arrangements if you have three exams within a 24 hour period, which is nice of them.) Oh well, I guess it’ll at least make every day of the exam period after that seem like tasty tasty cake in comparison. Especially the big chunk of days in the middle where I have nothing to do but make ceremonial jabs at studying for what I anticipate to be my easiest exam, and radically alter the landscape of my head (oh my goodness all my friends are so tired of hearing about the haircut I haven’t gotten yet).


I’m having a tea party on Sunday! This isn’t quite the first time I’ve held a party at this apartment, but as the last one was during the summer, only three people besides myself were in attendance (which was just about the right number of people to play surrealist poker, eat lasagna, and share a bottle of wine with optimal but not excessive tipsyfying results). I don’t expect all those invited to show up this time, but I think a lot of them will, and that will be nice.

Here’s the thing: I grew up in the woods. This had many advantages, but persuading townspeople (and/or their parents) that it was worth the effort to make it out to parties I threw was not one of them. It’s quite exciting to me that I now live in a place which, when I describe its location, people nod in recognition, and maybe even note their knowledge of former tenants of the same place, as opposed to furrowing their brows in confusion and asking, “isn’t that just a big gravel pit?” (Yes. It is a big gravel pit. It is a big gravel pit in the woods and my family built a house in it. Now come to my damn birthday.)

Anyhow. So close. So close to tea and cookies and candles with good company and and and and love.

I’m excited.


Classes done for the semester! Woohoo!

The celebrations began as I was washing the dishes and heard a knock at my door. I shook off the suds and went to answer what turned out to be my landlady with a tray of sweets for me and my flat-mate. How darling is that? So maritimes.

After washing said dishes (and, okay, eating some of said sweets), I began making date squares. Well, I guess I can’t call them squares, because I made them in a heart-shaped pan, but

Mm, delicious hot clean fluffy laundry, at long last.
You don’t want to know how long I’d been putting that off for.
/laundry interlude.]

you get the idea. With non-square-shaped date concoction in hand, I proceeded from my home to the far end of campus, where I entered Cuthbertson House, a.k.a. Eco’House, a.k.a. Sustainable Residence.

Cuthbertson is one of two houses on campus dedicated to a particular purpose (aside from housing Mt.A. students). The other one is Carriage House, a.k.a. Animal House—a new experiment in allowing students to have pets by putting abandoned and rescued animals of various species in their care. I haven’t had the opportunity to visit it since this experiment began, but last year I had several friends living in the house when it was a.k.a Academic House, and was considering applying for residence there at one point. For the most part, places in these houses tend to be occupied by non-frosh, but this is not a hard and fast rule. Of course, you should have a strong interest in the environment/animals if you apply for residence in one of these houses, but there are other things about them that are different from the other residences. Cue the bullet points:
• They’re real houses. Personally, I find this really comforting. It’s also kind of funny to be sitting in what for the most part is like a totally normal living room, except that it has a pay phone and an exit sign in it.
• Unlike other students in residence, those living in Carriage and Cuthbertson are not required to purchase a full meal plan. Instead, they generally get a meal plan which allows them to have a few meals a week at Jennings (the Mt. A. meal hall), and be in charge of their own food otherwise. This is coupled with the fact that these houses (Cuthbertson in particular) have real kitchens. There’s a lot of communal suppering that goes on.
• A party in one of these houses has the capacity to be infinitely classier than your standard “floor crawl”.

Which brings us back to what I was doing at Cuthbertson last night. I was invited to this potluck by the lovely Miss Charlotte: Cuthbertson resident, Tintamarienne and all-around nifty lady. Upon entering the house, I found myself waving hello to an adorable tiny blonde person — yes, this was a party with real kids, accompanied by their real grown-ups! I think I’ve mentioned this here before, but one of the things that sometimes makes my Mt. A. experience a little glum is that I don’t get to hang out with enough people under the age of seventeen. When I’m at home, I often work or volunteer for a children’s theatre. My former sources of employment also include an art camp and a toy store, and a lot of the “big kids” from when I was small are starting to have kids of their own, so just walking around my home town, I’m pretty likely to run into kids and their parents who I know. It’s kind of important to me to feel like a part of an intergenerational community in that way, and while I have had some really sweet kid-encounters in the shire, they were mostly over the summer, when I was only taking one course, and there were more outdoor, all-ages events I could get involved in without too much planning ahead. Point is, it was really nice to go to a potluck with babies and other non-adults climbing all over the place. That was Phase One of the potluck, along with SO MUCH GOOD FOOD. My goodness. I have to confess, in the midst of everything I’ve been trying to get done, there have been some skipped meals. I can safely say I got all caught up on my nutritional needs last night, and then some. Mmmmmmm…

Then, not long after most of the family units said their farewells and went home to early bedtimes, I had joined a predominantly Tintamarien cuddle puddle in the living room when a Cuthbertson resident by the name of Nico came in and sneakily transitioned us into Phase Two: the dance yer face off portion of the evening. I have to admit, I was not expecting this, which was fairly evident from my attire. It was the first time I’d danced in a long skirt for a while, and while it was an interesting difference, I think it’ll be the last time for a while as well. Not to mention I was wearing what was decidedly a winter dress (made of heavy blue corduroy) and even opening the door under the green EXIT sign didn’t let in anything colder than spring. (Have I mentioned it’s spring again? It is, for some crazy reason. I guess we live in Sackville or something.) Still, Nico threw us a haphazard, delightful mix of tunes, and I danced my face off quite merrily except when I went to take a breath and tune into the ongoing kitchen conversation of the non-dancers for a while.

Phase Three was more cuddle-puddling and conversation in another room. When at last people began to think it might be time for bed, we decided the classy thing to do would be for those of us who remained to form a parade, dropping people off at their various dwellings along the way. Not only was this an inherently charming suggestion, but I was pleased to note that the remaining people represented a nice mix of friends I’d been happy to run into at the party and new people I’d been happy to meet. And, having walked me right up to my door, they officially can't say they don't know how to get to my apartment, and therefore have no excuse not to come to my tea party.

Awright. That’s it for relating my experiences this time around. I do however have some important mystery instructions for you, which you will follow if you know what’s good for you:

Come up with things the acronym G.A.T. could/should stand for, and send them to me either via comments or email (elcameron at mta dot ca).

Some Examples:
Ginormous Arctic Trampoline
Grew A Tail
Galloping Antelope Trail
Gain All Trust
Gay As Turing
Girls Are Tricksy
Gape At Trains
Grateful After Tornado
Giants Ate Tina
Give Ants Trapezes
Gibbons Alter Things
Going After Tinkerbell
Gruesome Albino Thugs


This is for reasons which are 100% awesome, I promise.

More Life,

P.S. - Apparently Odetta just died. Damn.

She sang my favourite versions of a lot of songs, and this was one of them.
Thanks for being so generous with your talent and so tireless with your activism, Odetta. Also, you had such great hands.