Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Heroic Saturday Morning Exploits In The Shire!

I'm about to shock you, pudding.

Are you ready?

Brace yourself.

Sometimes I wake up on Saturday mornings.

I know, I know, one word: disgusting. But there are certain advantages to such a repulsive practice. One of these is going to the Sackville Farmer's Market. I actually can't think of a single other advantage right now, but whatever. Farmers are worth getting up for! So sometimes I do. For example, I did last week, and I took pictures while I was at it.

One way in which you can tell you're getting kind of close to the Bridge Street Cafe (inside of which the market is held in the winter months) is that you come across this plaque, which I think it's safe to say is my favourite plaque ever:
You probably can't read the fine print on this, so I'll tell you what it's all about. Not only did this guy Harold Geddes have a helluva fine hat, but he also contributed greatly to the overall enjoyability of the shire by eliminating litter and just generally being a nice guy.

Basically, the existence of this plaque gives me faith in the ability of humanity to live up to the dream of Martin Luther King, Jr. Dude said a lot of smart things, but my favourite might be this:

"If a man is called to be a street-sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great streetsweeper who did his job well."

So yeah. Turn right at the sweet plaque and pretty soon you'll find yourself looking at this:

Entering the cafe, you will notice a) a pleasant combination of markety aromas, and b) some swell live music going on in the front window area. Sometimes if you ask nicely, musicians will pretend not to be annoyed that you are taking pitcures of them:
Those people above are pretty great people. The one with the guitar teaches some kind of science at Mount Allison and organizes the open mic nights on Thursday. The one with the drum is my friend and fellow English major Tim. There's a rumour going 'round that he also plays mando, but I've yet to see the evidence.

For obvious reasons, the market has a little less to offer in the way of vegetables in the winter months, but this guy was still totally supplying the shire folk with tasty root veggies:
It doesn't get much more heroic than that, pudding.

What you'll find a lot of at the market in the winter months is tasty baked goods. Like so:
Yumminess above created by Alyssa Greene of Piece of Cake Catering.

Over on the other side of the cafe, you'll find this guy with his various breads and sweets:
(And yes, that is an Obama-Biden sign stuck into that potted plant. It has been there since mid-October. And no, there are not now nor were there at any time any Canadian election insignia in said cafe. Sigh. We need some dudes and ladies with more decorative names on the ballot this side of the border, I guess?)

The lady with the stall across from him is hella multi-talented!
Pictured above are some of her jams and marmalades, bookended by some banana bread and huge blocks of cheese. Not pictured, but present on her table were various other types of bread, beef jerky, peanut butter balls, and peppermint patties, all home-made and delicious. I've also bought beets and cranberries from her when it was more seasonally appropriate. If you're ever trying to win my heart, any red fruit or vegetable that isn't a pepper is usually a good call. (I used to like red peppers too, but then I had a traumatic experience on a commune in Virginia. That's one of those story-beginning sentences that is actually much more interesting than the story it corresponds I'll leave the rest to your imagination. Bonus points if you imagine me with go-go boots and a fashionable lady-beard.)

Unfortunately, I didn't end up taking a picture of the samosa stall. Those familiar with the S.F.M. will recognize this as a terrible oversight and be calling for my impeachment. The samosa lady is one of the most popular vendors at the market. In fact, she's so popular that my 10 o'clock arrival last Saturday morning meant that the last samosa sold while I was somewhere in the middle of the samosa line. Tragedies! In fact, the samosa lady sells not only samosas, but a rather delightful array of Indian food. The thing is, I was in an uncompromisingly samosaish mood last Saturday morning, so I quit the line immediately upon becoming aware that my dream wasn't going to come true. I'm sorry samosa lady! I should have gotten some of that chickpea stuff instead. It is equally delicious, even if it doesn't come wrapped in an edible triangle.

Tucked away in the opposite corner is this lovely table of year-round goods:
I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, "those don't look edible!" And the fact is, they aren't (unless you've got a taste for paper and mactac), but they sure are pretty! These sexy exciting collages are made by Jessi, a.k.a. One Crafty Mama, and they come in the form of bookmarks, greeting cards, notebook covers, and probably some other stuff I'm forgetting about. Cuteness with glue is like, my favourite kind of cuteness.

Speaking of nice things you shouldn't consume orally, at a right angle to Jessi's table you'll find Raymond and Shirley's table o'soap:
The smell of this soap is one of my favourite things about coming to the market, and I say this as a dirty, scent-sensitive hippy who can almost always find a reason not to like soap. Seriously, this stuff is kind of alarmingly hippy-friendly, what with the lack of animal fat, chemicals, and colours, and the whole biodegradability factor. Nice!

We're moving back towards the door to the cafe now, and there's just one more stall I have to show you. (There are others I've missed, but you'll come to the market and meet those people and their farmy goodness yourself some time, right?) This here is Aliper:
Aliper is the superfantastic hippy-fairy-witch-mama-goddess of baked goods both sweet and savory in the shire. Can we get a close up on said goods?
Thank you. See that basket? See its intriguing contents? Those, my dear pudding, are what Aliper calls "elf cakes". And they are soooooo good. They're so good that the guy I was living with this summer who is basically afraid of hippy food is nonetheless bewitched by them. They are so good that I'm going to name my firstborn child after them. They are so good that...well, you get the idea. To the left of the basket, as well as just behind it, you can see some delicious chocolate hippy truffles also for sale. They are likewise soooo good. They are so good that I am tempted to plagiarize Jessica McLeod in order to describe them. (Fortunately this is the internet, and linking is almost as easy as plagiarizing, and twice as sexy.) They are so good that I will probably name my second born after them, or my other firstborn if I happen to have twins.

It might be said that Aliper's stall is among the principal reasons to haul your ass out of bed on a Saturday morning, and this would be true, were it not for the fact that the goods of Aliper can actually be obtained throughout the week at "Aliper's Hearth", a sweet little bakeshop (with soup!) tucked into the back of the Cackling Goose natural food store. So all is not lost if you really can't bring yourself to leave the blankets unattended on a Sabbath morn. But you won't get samosas!

Well my dear pudding, that is all I have to say about the Sackville Farmer's Market. Except that I need to start waking up earlier on Saturdays, because it has been far too long since my last samosa.

More life,

P.S.- My awesome, sexy friend Ruby displayed her awesome sexiness this week by pointing out that I had two Confession #4s in my last entry. Her prize is me making you all aware how awesome and sexy she is. You could win a similar prize! By pointing out my silly mistakes. Because golly gee is it ever inevitable that I'll make more of them in the future. Or the present.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

That Emmet girl never updates her blog. Isn't that stupid?

Pudding pudding pudding,

It's been ages, I know. Here's the trouble: whenever one takes more than a few days to get around to writing one of these things, one begins to think that one should make up for the delay by providing one's readership with something truly epic in scope. The longer one waits, the less adequately epic one's adventures seem to be.

This is not to say that good times have not been had. Most prominently, perhaps, in terms of things that might interest you, Stereophonic just wrapped up.

Stereophonic is this big shiny crazy happy mid-winter music festival put on by CHMA in the shire every year. It features a whole lot of different performers playing in a whole lot of different venues over the course of a weekend and then also some weekdays just to be cheeky.

Confession #1: I only went to two shows this year.
Confession #2: That was one more than I went to last year.

I know, I know, I'm supposed to be the big live music nerd. I have a reputation to uphold. But if there's one thing I love to do even more than upholding my reputation, it's failing to meet expectations. In any case, the two shows I went to sure were swell.

The first was on Friday evening at the Vogue, and began with a performance by a young man whose name I forget but who sang a rather charming little song about a halfway house, accompanied by really impressive facial gesticulations. (And no, the word "expressions" would not be more accurate in this case. The dude was unmistakeable gesticulating. With his face. Which I suppose is a good thing to be able to do if you play an instrument which occupies your hands. The funny thing is, he didn't gesticulate with his hands or his face when talking in between songs.) Following him we had a lovely little dose of local fella Al Tuck.

Confession #3: This was my first time seeing Al Tuck perform. Shameful, brothers and sisters, shameful.

Anyhow. Al Tuck turned out to be quite the charming dude I've always been told he was, so that was nice, and then we heard from a guy I had seen before, Mount Allison's own Pat LePoidevin.

Confession #4: If it were not for Facebook, I would almost certainly have spelled Pat's last name hugely, hilariously, humiliatingly incorrectly.

Pat played some songs I'd heard before and some songs I hadn't. Of particular note: the story of a musical encounter with a wise polar bear named George. Swoon. (Oh my goodness the internet knows about it already! Funnily enough, it seems that that footage was taken by my fellow blogger Geoff. Crazycakes!)

Speaking of people who make me swoon, Julie Doiron was next on the bill. If you are not yet aware of/in love with Julie Doiron, I submit the following for your consideration:

Definitely somebody Sackville has reason to be proud of. She's lovely, just lovely, hopping around the stage in her sockfeet, sweetly ranting about bicycle theft in between songs. (By the way, if you stole Julie Doiron's bicycle, you should know that the brakes don't work. Unfortunately, this discredits my theory that my own bicycle is safe from theft simply because it barely works.)

Now, as gorgeous as all of the aforementioned folks were, my real reason for crawling out of my hobbit hole for this particular show was yet to come...and his name was Old Man Ludecke.

Confession #5: I may have cried a bit when he played Willie P. Bennett's Caney Fork River.

Now, there are many good things to be said about the Vogue Cinema, but you can't say it's the most dance-friendly venue in the shire, what with the permanently affixed seating and all. Nonetheless, that sweet little man with his sweet little banjo got us all up on our feet for the last few songs, cheerfully jostling each other in the aisles as we shared what little space there was.

Confession #6: I definitely bumped heads with a shadowy figure at the back of the theatre during one of the intermissions.
Confession #7: It turned out to be my employer. Oops.

Walking home from the theatre, my friend Charlotte remarked that the evening had been a huge renewal of faith for her: specifically, faith that people can be drawn to participate in simple, beautiful things if given the opportunity. I thought that summed up the overall feeling the evening left me with quite well.

The next morning there was a "Pancakes for Parkinson's" fundraiser at the Anglican Church, which was nice because I like pancakes and my room-mate likes toppings, so we went together and were well breakfasted. Then at 2:00 PM, I was back at the Vogue once more for the second of the two Stereophonic shows I chose to partake of this year: the Bluegrass Jam. Although it was the same venue and lighting set-up as the previous evening's entertainment, the atmosphere was quite different. Rather than being a crowd of students with the occasional adult, this was a crowd of seniors with a tiny smattering of younger folks, most of whom were connected to the radio station. Apparently this was the first specifically bluegrass show in the festival's 6-year history, and it definitely seems like it was about time. As the fella who produces the Buegrass Jam show on CHMA remarked into the mic,
"Bluegrass fans are probably some of CHMA's most dedicated listeners. I know this because any time we have a mix-up with the Jam we get big bunches of you calling in to tell us right away."

I had been particularly excited for this show because, while there are frequent bluegrass shows in the Sackville area, they tend to be a touch outside of the student transportation/price range. As I mentioned earlier regarding the Blues Society nights at George's, student shows are nice, but multi-generational shows are better. Bringing bluegrass into the Stereophonic schema is awesome. Thanks for doing that, Stereophonic people. Looking forward to more next year!

The next day was Sunday, and I was relieved to wake up to snow, because it was a pleasant change from it being just plain bitter fucking cold all the time. To quote Dr. Blagrave:
"In Sackville we can be reasonably assured that the weather is going to suck tomorrow, and that it's going to suck a different way the day after that."

Anyhow. The day increased in awesome when I got a call from a nice boy named Tim (who happens to be in Dr. Blagrave's class with me, funnily and irrelevantly enough), inviting me to a drum circle which I could hear over the telephone was already in progress. So I bundled up and headed on over. I wound up playing my knees more than I played any actual drums. This is not to say that there was a shortage of drums, just that I am mindbogglingly sucks at maintaining a decent beat on anything that is not my own person. Between the Old Man Ludeke show and this, I seem to have given myself a lot of tiny cute bruises on my thighs, but whatever. Totally worth it, and by the end of the afternoon I had actually worked my way up to an egg shaker, and then a real drum. All in all, it's nice to have friends who have drum circles and like you enough to call you up when they're happening. You should try it some time!

At some point that has been lost in the fuzzy excitement of my formatting-addled mind, I finished, in a humble, drafty sense, a script I have been working on for the better part of the past two years. I'm feeling equal parts relieved and terrified about this. The relief is probably fairly obvious, but the terror comes in right after it and tells me, in a voice like every girl who understood the ways of the world infinitely better than I in middle school, that if I think the hard part is over now, I am an idiot. Then it kicks me in the face. Then it tells me to get back to work. Then I do.

To that end: I dropped the script off at the bookstore to be photocopied this morning. Friends are coming over to read it out loud on Saturday night. As soon as I can stop not liking the idea of everybody hating this thing I've been dodging their company to work on for the past as-long-as-I've-known-anybody-I-know-here-and-then-some, I'll be fine. This of course means that I'm going to be having an ongoing aneurysm of the soul for the rest of the forseeable future, I think. That'll be okay, so long as it's a productive one, right?

The only problem with writing is that it makes you like, completely disgusting. Oh well.

By the by, to tide you over if I take too long between entries again (because I know you're like, 100% dependent on my daily observations), it might interest you to know that I also maintain this here twitter account. So, you know, you can keep updated on the important stuff, like when I misplace kitchen utensils and completely fail to not be an embarrassing internet fangirl dork. BECAUSE YOU NEED TO KNOW THAT OR THEY WON'T LET YOU INTO THIS SCHOOL.


Okay, this is just getting silly. I love you, pudding. I love you possibly more than I love pudding, although now that I mention that, I sure haven't eaten pudding in a long time, and that's a shame.


Fine, fine. But I love pudding. Ambiguously.

More Life (and pudding),

Friday, January 9, 2009

Hey, I still exist. Fancy that.

Well pudding,

It's 1 o'clock on a Friday afternoon, and as of half an hour ago, I have finished my first week of classes of the 2009 Winter semester.

I've got a somewhat peculiar schedule this semester, in that on Tuesdays and Thursdays I have a class at the ungodly hour of 8:30 AM, and my last class doesn't end until 5:30 PM. On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, however, I start class at 10:30 AM and I'm left entirely to my own devices for the rest of the day by noon-thirty. As much as it's tempting to sleep in those three days a week, I'm starting to think it might be a Good Idea if I try to make a habit of just waking up around 7 o'clock in the morning regardless of whether or not I have an early class, just so as to develop something vaguely resembling a sensible, predictable sleeping pattern.

That said, there are plenty of good ideas I have had and entirely failed to follow through on, and this may very well be one of them. We'll just have to wait and see!

Anyhow. I guess I'll just give you a little rundown of what my classes are this semester and how I'm feeling about them so far.

T/Th, 8:30 AM: Advanced Shakespeare, with Dr. Blagrave
You know how I was talking about the ungodliness of 8:30 classes? While I'm not backing down from my position that such things should not exist, and that they may indeed constitute uncontestable proof of the nonexistence of a loving light of how awesome this one promises to be, I have sucked up my fierce night-owl resistance to being functional before noon and chosen to take it anyhow. Promising aspects include but are not limited to the following:
a) Smart friends and smart people I want to become friends with in the class. This means lots of opportunities to talk about the class material outside of class, and lots of potential study partners come exam time. Yay!
b) A prof who actually makes economics seem like something I want to know about not just because it's "important", but because it's interesting. ("Economics," you say? Yes. Eco-friggin'-nomics. One of the major themes of the course is the economic context in which Shakespeare wrote. "But that will cause explosions of doom in your little humanities student brain," you say? Oh yes. I have no doubt of this. It will be glorious.) Seriously, as inherently terrified as I am of anything that involves numbers and/or the harsh realities of life, this is something I definitely need to be examining, so how cool is it that I get to do that in the context of my chosen major, as opposed to having to leap into a straight-up Economics course which (let's face it) I would never actually do.
c) A prof who softens the blow of having to wake up so friggin' early by saying things like "[Shakespeare] wasn't unique; there were lots of people with cute goatees," and either swearing or narrowly avoiding swearing every 53 seconds. That is my kind of academia.

T/Th, 11:30 AM: Apocalyptic Consciousness, with Rev. Perkin
Um. This is a class about how the world is [not] going to end. Sells itself, really.

T/Th, 4:00 PM: Introduction to Acting, with Linda Moore
This class is taught in Hesler Hall, which is one of my favourite rooms on campus...for pretty sentimental reasons I guess, but whatever. It's one of the older parts of campus. When my grandmother went to school here, it housed the library. In my first year, I ended up there for a lot of different reasons because it was this big cavernous open space all ready to be used in what was the university centre at the time. Don't get me wrong; I think it's tres rad that we have a shiny new student centre that's, you know, actually accessible, with ramps and elevators and so on for our non-perambulatory community members, but it is awfully nice to have a reason to hang out in the old stud a couple of times a week this semester. It just feels good.

As for the class itself, I think it's going to be pretty great. Ms. Moore is this year's Crake Fellow, which translates to Awesome Person In The Field of Stagery Who Hangs Out Teaching Classes And Directing Plays And Just Generally Being Awesome Around Windsor Theatre And Other Places Where Dramatic Things Can Be Made To Happen. I don't know too much about her so far, but I have gathered that we seem to have very similar taste in playwrights, she and I, as she's been using a lot of Daniel MacIvor in class, and is directing Sharon Pollock's Blood Relations at Windsor Theatre this semester. I'm awfully fond of both of those playwrights, and of that play in particular. Yay!

M/W/F, 10:30 AM: Literary Periods 1800 to Present, with Dr. Lapp
Dr. Lapp was the first faculty member I met at Mt.A., the first person to tell me about the secret Bridge Street music hall, and the first professor I had in what ended up becoming my major of choice, and it's quite splendid to be taking a class with him again, I dare say.

One thing I think I've mentioned before about Dr. Lapp is that he's a professor who makes poetry seem like something I have the capacity to understand -- not by oversimplifying it, but by reminding me that it was written not by automated confusion generators, but by, you know...human beings trying to communicate something to other human beings. Every student taking a class with Dr. Lapp is required to submit a "freewrite response" on one of the readings every class day. When I first heard this, I'll admit, it sounded hella tedious, but I started to actually like it pretty fast, and I'm glad to be doing it again. As I've confessed before, poetry is not really my strong suit, but I can usually pick out a couple of lines I sort of get even from the really impenetrable-seeming verse, and I find the freewrite approach is really helpful in finding ways to widen my little peep-hole into the text. ("Hey," says the part of me that has Good Ideas, "why don't you just do freewrites for your own academic benefit even when nobody says you have to?" The part of me that has Good Ideas is smart and everything, but I don't think it hangs out with the rest of me very often. It seems to have some fundamental misunderstandings about the sort of person I am.)

M/W/F, 11:30 AM: Introduction to American Literature, with Dr. Brown
My only previous knowledge of Dr. Brown was that he hosted the pre-holiday English Society Wine & Cheese party where we all oohed approvingly at his record collection and Dr. Lapp read selections from A Christmas Carol and I got tipsy and forgot my heart-shaped cake pan on the kitchen table. Now I've spent two classes with him as a professor, and I am definitely looking forward to more. Hopefully he doesn't hate me for naming punk as a musical genre with non-American roots. I didn't really mean it, which is to say I don't have an opinion about the origins of punk. I just like it when people make noise.

So, yes. That's what I'm looking at this semester academics-wise, pudding. In less academic news, I'm working on getting content and funding for the Catalyst zine, figuring out when and how to hold the Day of Silence, and maybe tonight I will put on some tarty and/or vicary clothes and get kind of drunk and wish Trina a happy birthday. Or maybe I'll stay home and put comments and stickers on my classmates' freewrites and patch my pants, because that's the kind of exciting life I lead.

More Life,

P.S. - If you're one of those forward-looking individuals who wants to have some sort of idea of the kind of adventures that might be available to you after Mt.A., there's this friend of mine named Jenn who graduated last spring and is currently teaching English to cute little schoolchildren in Japanland. For extra awesomeness, she has been blogging about her experiences here. I particularly like this review-of-lessons-learned-in-2008 entry, because a) it covers time spent in both Canada and Japan, b) I was there for some of those quotes, and c) oh my goodness am I ever impressed with the bravery involved in committing to live in a country where you can neither read nor speak the principal language. So yeah. Jenn's great, and I get to see what picture-sized parts of Japan look like without having to feel illiterate my own self because of that blog. You should too!

P.P.S. - Ben Folds is the new Chuck Norris.