Sunday, September 30, 2007

Nuit Blanche was a lot of fun. After getting lost for a bit, I hooked up with Mindi, a friend I'd known online for about three years but never met in real life, and we checked out most of the exhibits in Zone B around the OCAD building. Among the highlights were the row of galleries along Dundas, a furnished outdoor apartment, a neo-representative installation of the Last Supper, and artists working live in their studios. I also checked out a garbage bin that had been converted into a hotel room. You could book ten minutes in the room to chill out while people climbed the sides of the dumpsters to effectively spy on you. Really strange.

I made a few calls to Matt but he was calling it an early night, so I ended up walking around with Heidi and Karyn. We checked out the "make your own cloud exhibit" and the balloon maze, both of which were installed in the Eaton's Centre. We headed up to the U of T campus to see a couple of other attractions, such as the UFO crash exhibit and the haunted subway (the lineup for that one was way too long).

We proceeded to spend about an hour trying to relocate Karen's car before I was graciously given a lift home a little before 4AM. There were so many people downtown supporting this event. It was fantastic to see and experience it - a feeling akin to going out on Halloween, as more than one person indicated. Nice, crisp autumn air and a score of wandering souls out at night. I love to see that kind of spirit. Goes to show what a million dollars will do for your art show.

I spent the day listening to The Marriage of Figaro, which I'll be seeing live on Tuesday. I wanted to get a feel for what the opera is actually about. I also watched Vanilla Sky, which I own but hadn't seen in a few years. It was more contrived than I remember it being, but it's certainly an ambitious film.

I wrote 833 words. I'm trying to read as much Austin Clarke as I can before I fall asleep. It's going to be a busy week.
It's been a long nuit.



Saturday, September 29, 2007

Well, I'm going to Germany. Got my ticket and everything. I'm leaving on December 28th and coming back on January 4th, so I'll be having the coolest New Year's in pretty much my entire life (though eating that bowl of vodka jello at Cam's place in my teenage years will be hard to top. Sometimes I really miss my capacity to do shit that stupid). It will be my first trip to Europe. I'll get to spend time with my lady. It's all roses.

That, however, is still three months off. In the meantime, I finally finished putting the grant for the OAC together. I received Pixie's DVD in the mail today, as well as Donna's reference letter. I spent a few hours doing some fine-tuning and printing off every last copy. It's done. On Monday I'll send it off to do its thing.

Today at school I held a 400-year-old book in my hands, as well as some really old editions of Don Quixote and old translations of Plato and Socrates. One of the Socrates works belonged to and was annotated by Northrop Frye. I wrote down one of his annotations because I thought it was endlessly funny:

Socrates: "And I ask again, What do we do when we weave? The answer is that we separate or disengage the warp from the woof."

Northrop Frye: "Huh?"

Classic. I get a good vibe from the Bibliography prof. He seems very intelligent and approachable.

I watched the film "Closer" for the first time. Just an amazingly brilliant piece of work with incredible performances by all. I want to see it again, but I think it would be a hard movie to sit through multiple times... the actors essentially take turns being the biggest living piece of shit in the film. The dialogue is overcast with emotion and eroticism without being hokey - very hard to pull off given the intensity behind each scene. It plays around so deftly with ideas of honesty and truth while at the same time using both as justifications for unconscionable behaviour. A really amazing film.

Bedtime is way overdue. Nuit Blanche tomorrow! Hopefully I'll be updating with some pictures.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Today was tiring, but it was a perfect example that every day has the potential to be something you least expect.

After finally rolling out of bed at around 10:30, I showered and got my shit together, determined to start tackling this passport business. I went downtown and found the office building. I went to the little camera shop on the ground floor and had my picture taken. I had to put baby powder on my forehead because there was too much of a glare (I'm that white). After positioning me like a Whose Line Is It Anyway? actor the photographer plucked at my hair - I had gelled it, and since my curls are a "defining feature" he had to accentuate them for the shot. The photographer may have simply been acting coy underneath that Russian accent and gruff exterior.

The prints were ready in half an hour. I look like a Sears catalogue model; one of my shoulders is hunched and turned slightly towards the camera as if to say "I was about to leave the room, but I was too captivated by your beauty, gorgeous creature whom I've just met." There's one errant curl sticking straight up off my head. I'm worried they'll be rejected because of the angle of my one shoulder. I've heard the passport office is extremely finicky about the photos.

I didn't find out for sure. I went to the office and told them I didn't have a lieu of guarantor form. They sent me to an employee who told me that starting Monday, anyone with a passport who's known me for two years is qualified to be my guarantor. If I wait until Monday, I can get Jay to fill in his info on the application and not have to pay a lawyer for it.

I headed over to the Eaton's Center, where I picked up a camera case, blank CDs, some envelopes, and the new Foo Fighters record. I passed by Indigo and noticed that Kevin Smith was doing a signing for his new book "My Boring-ass Life" at 7.

Usually when I become privy to such information, I try my best to disregard it. It doesn't matter what it is. I'm not a very spontaneous guy because I think about things too much. When I wake up in the morning (or early afternoon) I have or create a general idea of how my day is going to go. I'll usually make decisions later on in the day, but they're either very small or decisions I see coming on the basis of what I know I'll be up to. If I'm forced into doing something that I have little control over, or if my plans drastically change, I worry that I'll be very uncomfortable with the results. It's easier to stay at home and hide and eat and watch TV, and that way I know exactly what I'm in for. When I lived in the west end of Ottawa, I'd rarely go downtown to hang out because the bus ride was too long, or I would worry that I wouldn't have anyone to talk to, or that no one would pay me any attention, or that a show would suck and I'd have a miserable night and still end up having to get on yet another bus for a half-hour return trip home. When I lived downtown things were a bit different because I could make it home on foot from pretty much anywhere I hung out. I also felt more secure having people around me, being able to provide them with a place to gather. I'm a born facilitator; I don't respond well to being told what to do in social situations.

I'm a huge fan of Kevin Smith. Massive. And when I see an advertisement for an appearance he's making, a part of me thinks I'm expected to see him, as if it's natural. Now, if I were given a few days notice, I'd probably be all over it, and start making plans to attend. But having it thrown in my lap like that, I constrict. My immediate thought is "I'm not going to go. It won't be what I expect. I'll never be able to make an impression on him." As if that's really the point behind meeting someone you admire.

I had more time than I originally wagered I'd have, so I went to get my health card renewed. After waiting for about a half an hour I handed over my forms and received a bit of a lecture from the employee about my tardiness in obtaining a new card. I told him it wouldn't happen again, no sir. From now on I'll be punctual Pete.

After I took care of the health card business, I finally decided, fuck it. I'll go see Kevin Smith. I've seen him speak in person, but I've never met the dude. If I don't do it, I'll regret it. That's the feeling I wish I could carry around with me at all times - if I don't do it, I'll regret it. I have to loosen that spring inside me more often. So I marched back to Indigo (after putting a muffin and chocolate milk in my belly; one can't change their day's fate on an empty stomach). It was around 3:30 by this point, and there didn't seem to be a lineup, so I browsed for about half an hour. By then a line had started winding its way through the cooking and craft sections, so I bought a copy of the book and joined the queue. I spent three and a half hours in that line, reading Kevin's book, thinking about what I should say to him, shifting my weight from foot to foot, beating sensation back into my legs. Finally, at around 7:15, Kevin came out and delivered a short Q&A session. He was tired and had been up since 6 AM doing press work, and really wanted to try and get to as many people as possible by 9 PM. The line started moving.

By this point I had already decided what I was going to say. I was thinking of the biggest Kevin Smith fans out of everyone I know, and it hit me: my brother. His birthday is next week. It would be cool to get him a signed book, but I couldn't leave the line. So I called home to see if he was there. He was at a friend's, so I told my dad to have him call me back if he arrived home within the hour. He returned my call, and I told him to keep by his phone. When there were about three people in line ahead of me, I dialed him up. I climbed onto the stage, gave Kevin a "Hello Sir!", and handed him the book. I asked him if he'd mind wishing my brother a happy birthday. He said sure and took my phone. He said hello, told him happy birthday and that he'd talk to him longer if he could. In my excitement I said, "Say you're Kevin Smith!" and he said, "I think he knows." He returned my phone and I thanked him, patted him on the shoulder and walked away.

I still had my brother on the line. I asked, "Did you know who that was?" He said that he didn't. I told him it was Kevin Smith and he freaked. He laughed in a way I've never heard him laugh before. He told me that if he could do anything for me, to ask away. I don't get to do many cool things for my brother. We're not as close as we could be. But I knew he'd get a righteous kick out of that.

I came home, absolutely exhausted after waiting all that time, and crashed on the couch to watch some X-Files and listen to some SModcast. Sam emailed me, telling me I'd have his reference letter tomorrow.

Not entirely a bad day, simply because it was so unexpected. I can't be afraid of the things I can't foresee. I have to remember how positive the out-of-the-blue can feel.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

I saw Andrea for the first time in a few weeks this morning, via webcam. It was gratifying to see her move. Her gestures, the corners of her mouth, the two strands of hair framing her face. She gave me a virtual tour of her apartment, stopping occasionally to respond to my comments.

The grant is almost complete, but I've run into a couple of snags. I don't have Pixie's DVD yet because I emailed her the wrong shipping address. I also don't have my letters of reference. These things aren't necessary, but they'd help with the presentation. Either way, this thing is going in by Monday.

I really should go downtown tomorrow and start taking care of this passport stuff. I'm just worried that I'll have to wait in line only to find out that I don't have enough of the right documentation. I haven't received my new driver's license yet. My health card is expired. I don't have a guarantor. I guess I should just head down and get it over with. I also need to pick up a case for my camera, so if I can at the very least come home with that the day won't be a total loss.

I received copies of The Man Who Shot Liberty Vallance, Wonder Boys and the second season of The X-Files in the mail today. Wonder Boys is one of my favorite movies, and I lost my original copy, so a replacement was in order. I also watched the extended version of Alien 3, which made the film a bit better, but it's such a nasty piece of work. Some reviews I've read of it have called the film nihilistic, and I think that's apropos. Everyone in the film but Ripley is so relatively despicable that you can't care what happens to them. And you'd root for the alien if it didn't look like such an early 90's computer-animated piece of shit.

I'll be attending Nuit Blanche this weekend with Mindi, and I'm planning to take lots of pictures. This page needs a little colour.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

I just wrote about 800 words towards a story I'd put on the shelf. I feel as though I've got a character in it that will keep pulling my interest back. At this point the whole thing is a hodgepodge of 12,500 words that I've been writing over time, bits and pieces begging for a common plot. Perhaps it IS there, somewhere.

My Touch of Evil presentation went beyond swimmingly; Professor Columpar cited it as an example to follow for the rest of the semester. High praise. I missed the feeling of getting things out of the way. At least I know I'm still capable of pulling it off after a year without school.

I accomplished what is probably my quickest reading of a text in my entire university career today. "Angélique" by Lorena Gale had been all but impossible to track down for this week's African-Canadian Lit class, but I found a copy at around 12:30, took it home and had it read by 3 (granted, it was only a 70-page play. But I had it read in time, dammit). I also borrowed my first book from Robarts today, a biography of Marlene Dietrich. One more step towards being a fully functioning student.

I'm going to get as much of this passport stuff taken care of as I can this week. It's a fairly involved process. You'd think I was adopting a kid. I have weighing against me the fact that I don't have a guarantor, so I need to fill out an additional form that I have to pick up at the passport office. On the bright side, it'll get me close to the Eaton's Centre. I'm going to need a camera case if I'm going to take some pictures of Nuit Blanche this weekend.

It's been a long day and I didn't get much sleep last night. Ain't university grand?

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

In seven hours I'm doing my first presentation of the year on Touch of Evil. It took a little more work than I thought it would, which is why I'm up at 3 AM. I'll have to lug my laptop to school and back, which I'm not looking forward to. I don't particularly enjoy the commute, especially back from school. Toronto seems to be in perpetual rush hour.

I really enjoyed working on this presentation. I went into school early and watched the 108-minute laserdisc version of TOE in the Media Commons room of Robarts library. Media Commons essentially acts as a video store. You can take out (mostly) anything you want for a couple of days for free.

After a quick bite at Tim Hortons, I had my second Opera class and watched some clips of different performances of Orpheus. Professors Clark and Hutcheon are thus far stellar in the classroom. Professor Clark used a PIANO to emphasize a point. My GOD. In class today I learned by video, audio recording and piano. It's a dream come true.

I should try for sleep. Six hours and ten minutes. Wish me luck.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

I got out of bed early today and took care of a lot of the supplementary materials for the grant, but I'm going to need new ink cartridges for my printer before I can print them out. Everything with colour has a red tinge to it.

I've had Orson Welles on the brain all day today as I prepare for my class facilitation. Four readings and a viewing of The Battle Over Citizen Kane later and I'm still struck by how different Welles' career as an auteur could have been. His treatment was one of Hollywood's greatest mistakes. It's not that I feel sorry for him as a person (the documentary certainly invites its audience to pity him), simply that I look at the young Orson at his most dynamic and see a kid who doesn't give a fuck about anything but movies and wish he'd been given more of a go by people who felt the same way.

Tomorrow I should head in early before Opera to check out an older cut of Touch of Evil on short term loan at the library. Spending two hours hunched over a monitor in a library sure sounds comfortable.

I was offered a deal on a MacBook tonight, but I'm starting to divide my purchases into need/don't really need piles. I'd really like to have a somewhat solid financial base when I return to Ottawa, just to get me started on my own, buy some furniture or what have you. I'm becoming more and more attracted to the idea of finally having my own space and decking it out as best I can.

Also watched Blonde Venus with Marlene Dietrich and Cary Grant. The film was great, and Marlene's a looker, but based on that picture I'm of the humble opinion that she couldn't carry a tune for the life of her.
I discovered that I'd already completed my Opera readings for the week, so I struck those out of my plans today. I'll have a bunch to do for TOEP as it is, tomorrow.

In that work's stead I watched Gangs of New York, which I hadn't seen in a few years. I do enjoy Scorcese immensely, though I'm not as big a fan of his gangster pictures. Don't get me wrong - I liked Goodfellas, but it's not as good a film as The Aviator. The Departed, though, probably IS my favorite Scorcese. Beginning with Gangs of New York and continuing on through present day, Scorcese's been taking DiCaprio through the ringer. I've always liked DiCaprio as an actor, although he's received so much flack for being pretty. Scorcese saw it too and helped him along immensely. "Gangs" is a good film if you're looking for blood and bravado, and juxtaposes gang warfare with anti-draft mob mentality very well. Daniel Day-Lewis is nightmarishly good (literally, I once had a dream about the character he plays), and even Cameron Diaz doesn't blow her part.

I also watched Alien vs. Predator. It wasn't as bad as it *could* have been, but you know what you're getting yourself into when you sit down to watch a flick called "Alien vs. Predator". Scott did the think-piece Alien flick perfectly, and Cameron did the cocks-out actioner Alien flick perfectly. Obviously, you can't beat those guys with anything modern. Incidentally, Ewen Bremner from Trainspotting has been in a handful of films I've seen recently, including this one and The Rundown. At least I know he's still acting.

I worked a bit more on the grant, and the first draft the writing material is done. Tomorrow I'll work on supplementary materials like pictures, images and whatnot. Hopefully I'll be able to submit it sometime this week and not worry about the next one until the middle of November.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

I went a little nuts tonight and wrote an ode, but not before reading some John Keats and Pablo Neruda. I'm going to look at it in the morning and wonder what the hell I was thinking. But at least it's something.


Bibliography is the study of research methodology. Solves that little mystery. Really, it's just a course that teaches the latest research methods, proper citation, and, yes, bibliography preparation. We spent our first class in a computer lab in the EJ Pratt Library going over journal databases. In fact, we'll be spending most of our classes in libraries all over the campus, including the Robertson Davies Library in Massey Hall, where we'll be privy to seeing a relic of a printing press at work.

I was feeling like a shut-in last night (being indoors for almost two straight days will do that). I ended up spending a lot of time outside today, walking around the campus looking for book stores, and it helped my constitution as much as it put a hurt into my feet. I ended up walking down College and up Bathurst, and I stopped in at Honest Ed's discount store, which to be honest I found unsettling. I took a look at some information about Ed Mirvish online, and the man was a god in Toronto until he died about two months ago. He did a lot to help out the city's artists. His store, however, looked like a Dollarama blown freakishly out of proportion and my prolonged search for the exit left me feeling, ironically, a little claustrophobic. I also, for one reason or another, take issue with a business that insinuates so forcefully that it's "honest" (yet another item in a growing list of incriminating factors revealing that I am not, and probably never will be, a true Torontonian).

I made some yummy chicken salad pita sandwiches for dinner and watched The Wizard with Jay, which is essentially an hour-and-a-half-long commercial for the Nintendo Entertainment System with a little family drama thrown in. Nevertheless, it was a movie from my youth that I was incredibly stoked over at the time. "I love the Power Glove. It's so bad." Truer words were never uttered on celluloid.

Jay showed me how to rip Touch of Evil, so I should be able to grab a couple of clips this weekend. He's going down to Buffalo tomorrow to buy an iPhone. I'll be going over my grant and catching up on readings. But mark my words - I'll be getting out of this place on a more regular basis come October.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Well, I figure the written part of my grant application is about 85% done. I just need Kathryn's information for the personnel list before I go over everything else with a fine tooth comb, and then I'll work on supplementary materials.

My OSAP finally kicked in today, the day after I emailed the financial aid office about its whereabouts (of course). I'm still waiting on my new driver's license, my new VISA, my Future Shop credit card statement, and Pixie's CD in the mail.

I started looking into travel fares and passport information online today. It looks like I'll be able to visit Andrea in Berlin over the winter holiday. It's definitely something to look forward to, as I miss my girlfriend, and I've never been to Europe. I've only been out of Canada once and went as far south as Manhattan. But I want to make sure I've got my cards and such in order before I start buying plane tickets. It's exciting to think about, nonetheless.

Today I watched Million Dollar Baby, another of Jay's movies I'd never seen. I have to hand it to Eastwood, Freeman and especially Hilary Swank for playing incredible roles. It's an emotional story with a seemingly very simple execution, but the way it's lit speaks volumes for what actually happens on screen. I tend to enjoy boxing movies, as it is. Boxing is a healthy metaphor, though I don't watch the sport myself. MacLennan uses it in "Each Man's Son" to great effect.

I finally finished watching my X-Files Season One boxset, and the season finale was great; it made me want to pick up the second season. All of the Mytharc episodes are solid. The series is weak early on when it deals in offshoot stories about idiot savants and Mennonite cults and woodland creatures with no effects budget.

I really need to download a copy of Touch of Evil, or find out how to rip it to my hard drive. I want to capture clips for presentations. It's embarrassing that I have a diploma in Multimedia Design and can't even rip a DVD successfully.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Today I wrote a 1600 word project description for the Ottawa Art Bazaar. I certainly have big ideas regarding where I want this thing to go. But you know, I look at my life five, ten years down the road, and I still want to be involved in this sort of thing. It's an exciting and dynamic thing to make a living at. Whenever I mention it to my mother, she tells me this drive I have to put on shows is a trait I inherited from my grandfather. I feel good about that. I hope I can do him proud.

I watched a couple of movies in Jay's collection today that I'd never seen. The Rundown, which was okay for what it was and had some great action sequences, plus a hilarious Christopher Walken monologue about the tooth fairy that he had to have translated into Portugese to get his point across. Gold. The other was Dark Water, which started out atmospherically rich but kind of lost me about halfway through. I found that the story didn't make much sense and had trouble grabbing me enough to really care. Kudos to Tim Roth for his performance, though. I didn't even recognize him until I saw his name in the credits.

I searched for recaito in the grocery store for about 20 minutes today, but there was none to be found.

I'm expecting a few things in the mail that haven't arrived yet. I hate waiting on the mailman. It's the curse of this digital age. I can go online and find inappropriate pictures of people with farm animals in five seconds, but I have to wait three weeks for a CD in the mail. Crazy world.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

I got out of bed at 8 AM today, I'm proud to say. Took my time and got ready, had an online conversation with Andrea, and went to class. My first official Touch of Evil Project class. We sat around talking about the film and how the course would take shape. It seems to be predominantly comprised of Film students. We're to fashion a DVD-ROM (ideally), and Professor Columpar showed an example of a CD-ROM done on Hitchcock's Rebecca. It brought back reminders of certain fundamentals of interface design I garnered from my college days, but I haven't opened Director software in years. I don't know if I'd personally be able to retrain myself to create something like that and make it good while still focusing on the rest of my work.

You know, it just struck me that this blog is searchable, and that searching by a professor's name could lead them directly to what I'm typing here. It doesn't bother me, because I'd never talk ill of a professor in this context, but the whole idea of incriminating blogs interests me. Employees being fired for going off about their bosses. Professors becoming aware of how their students really feel about them. Then there are sites like I wonder if professors can't resist checking that site out, reading anonymous comments left by their students. Apparently there's a related site that allows professors to fire back at the comments via video. How terrific is that? For the record, I love my professors. They're all the greatest.

Anyhow. Between classes, I came home to some DVD's that had arrived, including a Marlene Dietrich collection I'll be using for my TOEP presentation. I finally got hold of Donna and she was very helpful in giving me advice on applying for the grant and graciously promised me reference letters by the end of the week. I'll be applying as an individual. Over the next couple of days I'm going to get through more of the written application and start preparing my secondary materials.

African-Canadian Lit was engaging, and I get the feeling it will be rife with discussion all term. There are some interesting folks in my classes that I'd like to get to know better.

I hit the grocery store, caved and finally purchased a box of candy bars. Yeah. That's the temptation you run when you live next to a wholesale grocery store. I now have a box of Caramilk Deluxe armed and ready. I better start making use of that exercise room.

Wrapped up the evening listening to SModcast, watching episodes of The IT Crew and a Buster Keaton and Jimmy Durante flick, "Speak Easily" - a screwball comedy that has funny parts (and not-so-funny parts) but is more notable as a speaking role for Keaton. I love him even when he can't act. All he has to do is walk into something and my heart is won again.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

I showed up for my Opera class today, and there was no one there. What's happening? I don't understand. Why do I keep missing classes? This never happened at Carleton. I've missed three classes so far and I'm only a week in. Granted I slept through one, but come on. I emailed my prof asking what the deal was, but I haven't as of yet heard back.

I called Donna at Arts Court before I left, but she wasn't there. I called Sam later on and found out that she'd gone home sick. Sam couldn't really answer my questions regarding the grant, and told me that I should try Donna again tomorrow. I'm thinking of just applying as an individual now, rather than on behalf of an organization, because it seems like too much crap to deal with. I'll call Donna again tomorrow, though. I've learned from organizing these shows that sometimes you don't get anywhere unless you bug people to death.

So without school nipping at my heels, I settled in and watched Saving Private Ryan, which believe it or not I'd never seen. It's a brutally violent film that rattled me. The cinematography is breathtaking, and although the script is choppy in parts it's hard not to call it a triumph (though I probably liked Platoon better). And everything I'd heard about the first half hour is true.

I also watched Touch of Evil again in preparation for tomorrow's lecture, for which I am determined to be awake. I wish I could get out of bed in the morning like a firecracker. As it is I'm the type who will set my alarm for 8 and get out of bed at 10:30. I'm definitely not a morning person.

I wrote the Artist Statement for my grant, using a rant about the Ottawa art scene I posted on my Livejournal a couple of months ago as a basis. I took out the stuff that sounded too much like griping, took out the slang and made it sound more professional. So that's out of the way.

Jay turned me onto this British comedy called The IT Crowd. It's a show about three people who work in the IT department of a corporation and get into misadventures. Pretty funny. You can check out the entire first episode on You Tube here.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Tomorrow I'm going to wake up and call Arts Court in Ottawa. I'm going to do my best to get a straight answer from them regarding how they'll be involved in the grant process. I've been talking with my friend Maegen, who has thus far been an incredible help, providing me with information on the right people to talk to and the right steps to take in order to ensure success. But it's time to make Arts Court take appropriate notice of this.

I have a bunch of questions written out that I'm prepared to ask. After I get the information I need, I'll start working on the written application, which looks as if it will take some time to complete. I have two weeks. If I'm successful with this grant and the other two for which I'm applying, I could conceivably, in a best case scenario, put on three art festivals a year and make a living at it. Not only that, but everyone helping out would get paid. It's going to take some work, but if I'm finally able to do what I want to do, it's going to be worth it.

As for school, I spent a lot of the day catching up on Touch of Evil Project readings, as writer after writer dissects Orson Welles' vision. I'll probably skip the screening tomorrow, as I have the film on DVD already.

I wrote about 200 more words today.

I have "Regret" by New Order in my head. There's a real sense of melancholy to that song I don't hear very often.

There's a panoramic shot of the CN Tower from my balcony, taken on the new camera (click for a bigger version).

I devoted as much of today as I could handle to Opera readings, and I'll have most of them finished by the time I go to bed. This interdisciplinary approach to the subject matter is throwing me for a bit of a loop. One of the readings was comprised mostly of music scores to illustrate its thesis regarding the impact of shifts in musical structure on the dramatic whole of an Orpheus production. I kind of understand what it's getting at, but it was clearly written for students of music. The stuff on the interaction between libretto writers and composers is more my speed. There's certainly an element of competition in place when deciding which discipline is best to get at the dramatic core of a production.

I watched Citizen Kane in the spirit of my Orson Welles class. I always forget how absolutely perfect it is. Not a bad performance, none of the dialogue is gratuitous, it looks gorgeous, and it uses incredibly poetic metaphor.

For dinner tonight, I chanced a recipe for baked penne pasta with Italian sausage. Really delicious but really heavy. Here's a picture:

Cameras are fun.

I talked with Andrea a bit today. She's found a place to live, so it's a load off both our minds. I'm proud of her for being as determined as she is.

Finally, I got some more writing done, about 200 words. Still pretty dark in tone, but at least I'm getting used to writing on emotional impulse again. I missed the weight it lifts. Like successfully detoxing.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

WHAT I'M IN F... - sigh.

I have a theory about today's Friday. It got out of bed under the impression that it was, in fact, the 13th, and decided to curse me with bad luck for about the first half of the day. I made my way to campus, found my classroom in the Hogwart's-esque University Centre, and it was empty. Not a soul at 5 minutes to class time. I asked the folks at administration what was going on, and they said they were aware of some confusion but didn't know. I phoned Gillian, but there was no answer, so I walked to the English Department office. I found out that classes - all classes, not just certain classes on a list that was sent out - were cancelled for Rosh HaShannah.

I got home just in time to Jason messaging me about a delivery man he had just buzzed up from his cellphone. I waited, but no-one showed, so I went downstairs and found a slip declaring there was no answer and that I had to pick the package up at a convenience store a stone's throw from the building. I called the postal outlet, who told me I'd have to wait until Monday for pickup, and Canada Post, who told me they couldn't send the driver back, even though he'd been there ten minutes earlier and was probably still on his route.

So now I'm starting to get annoyed at the day, and I start thinking about things that aren't right. Why haven't I heard back from Arts Court about reference letters for my grant application? So I send them a friendly reminder and figure that the day is shot when they don't email me back within the hour.

I put in the first episode of Knight Rider, which all in all cheered me up. Something about Hasselhoff's chest hair sprouting out of that half-buttoned denim shirt brings a smile to my face. It could bring about world peace. The Germans are already on board. Knight Rider was a favorite show of mine in the 80's. I got to sit in the KITT car when it appeared at the Memorial Centre in Peterborough while touring auto shows. The show IS pretty awesome, packed with insane ideas. But there are weird little continuity errors throughout that boggle the mind - shots suddenly turn mirror-imaged, Hasselhoff's injured shoulder kept changing from left to right, stunt drivers are clearly visible during certain scenes. Strangely, this all enriches the viewing experience.

At 4 I decided to visit the store to see if my package had arrived. It had. I'm the proud owner of a Kodak EasyShare Z712 IS, 7.1 megapixel digital camera. It looks like this. Stayed tuned for more pictures as I practice handling it. I also have a new alarm clock. I'd been using my old alarm clock for almost 16 years, and I stopped trusting it to get me out of bed about ten years ago. After sleeping through class last week, it was the last straw.

So I'm feeling a little higher tech now. I watched some Undergrads with Jay and capped stills of Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter for film_stills. Non-stop excitement. But! I also heard back from Arts Court. Donna thanked me for the reminder, and they'll be sending me what I need shortly. Not a bad Friday after all. Not an unlucky one, at least.

Friday, September 14, 2007

I was able to talk with Andrea for about ten minutes on the phone today. I imagined her in her hostel on the other side of the world as I looked out at the Toronto cityscape. It's hard to account for such an immense distance, to think that a person's voice could travel such a long way almost immediately. I've always disliked talking on the phone, but it kind of amazed me today.

I've been keeping to myself a lot since she left, but I'm hoping to get out a bit in the next couple of weeks. Nuit Blanche is coming up at the end of the month, and I'd like to spend some more time hanging out with Matt and some other folks around Toronto that I don't normally have the chance to see. This is officially the longest stretch of time I've ever spent in the city, and I'm used to packing what time I have here full of visits and excursions. My number one priority is school, however. I'm not going to screw this up. I also need to get on applying for grants. I have the forms and I'm planning to go over them this weekend while I wait for some additional material to show up.

I watched the move Airheads today (a gift from Andrea, some cinematic silliness to give me a break from work), and Rear Window, which is undoubtedly my favorite Hitchcock film. There are so many feminist subtexts at work that it's hard to view the film in any other light, but it's such a great piece of suspenseful, claustrophobic filmmaking. I also finished reading "The Hanging of Angelique," and I don't remember the last time I finished a book so fast. 306 pages in 36 hours. Probably not since my undergraduate years.

This week has felt incredibly long. Tomorrow is my last new class of the week - the Bibliography course. It will, at the very least, finally answer once and for all the question that's been on my mind since I started looking into grad school: namely, what the hell is Bibliography?

Thursday, September 13, 2007

I met with Professors Hutcheon, Clark and Columpar today to discuss what they're going to be subjecting me to. Professor Columpar seemed nice and I'm even more excited for the Touch of Evil Project. I'm doing a presentation on Marlene Dietrich, as well as the very first class facilitation of the year on cinematic re-vision. Excellent stuff. I also toured by Gillian Northgrave's office to finally meet her and pick up my CGS award money. Gillian is the Graduate Counsellor and Program Administrator of the English Department, and we'd been conversing for a few months before I was finally able to put a face to her name.

I picked up most of the African-Canadian Lit course material at the U of T book store, which has an overly complicated TOKEN LOCKER system to ensure that no one sneaks out books in their bags. Give me a break. After scoring the texts I stopped by Pita Pit for some grub. "Young Hearts" by Rod Stewart was playing on the PA inside, and it brought back memories of Ottawa. I spent some time mulling over "The Hanging of Angelique" while waiting for my appointment with Professor Columpar. It's a book that unveils the truth behind slavery in Canada as it tells the true story of a 29-year-old bondswoman who was put to death for setting Montreal ablaze. It's a wake up call to anyone willing to think that slave ownership in Canada wasn't that bad. The Underground Railway ran both ways.

For dinner I attempted beef stroganoff from scratch, and it wasn't a complete failure, but I don't think I'll be making it again. I find the recipe's sauce too thin.

Buck 65 is performing on Friday at the Drake Hotel. I might go.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


- wait a second, first things first. I slept through my first class, The Touch of Evil Project. Waking up was one of those uh-oh, why the fuck didn't my alarms (2) go off, why am I waking up under my own power kind of waking ups. Great start to a new course.

But I didn't let the morning go to waste. I emailed the prof immediately, apologizing for my absence and inquiring as to where and when I could pick up my syllabus. While waiting for a response I went to Future Shop online and bought a new alarm clock and a digital camera with memory cards. Then I started investigating grants for the next Ottawa Art Bazaar. I came across some information on a package I'm going to put together, so I sent out requests to some folks for their help. The first application for the Ontario Arts Council is due October 1st, so I'm going to look into it more extensively this week, as well as the leads I have on a couple of other sources.

Finally, Professor Corinn Columpar emailed me back, setting up a meeting for tomorrow so that she could assign me a presentation slot. She also told me where I could access the syllabus online. Therefore -


The Touch of Evil Project is not devoted entirely to the Orson Welles film; in fact, I'll be looking at a bunch of films including The Magnificent Ambersons, The Third Man, Kiss Me Deadly, Morocco, Greed, Klute, and Lone Star. The theme of the course, I think, involves interruptions and overhauls of the creative process resulting in the perversion of a director's vision. Sounds very cool. The actual "Touch of Evil Project" is a culmination of each student's contribution of one particular aspect of the film, echoed in the other material we'll be examining. I'll be graded on my contribution, which will take the form of a presentation, as well as participation, a class facilitation, and a final project (research paper or something mindblowing) with proposal and presentation. Lots of presenting. But at least the subject matter is beyond engaging.


George Elliott Clarke seems like a genuinely warm, enjoyable man, who is extremely passionate about African-Canadian Lit (although he dislikes the term "African-Canadian", "black" and any other generalization of race, claiming these definitions are only in place for political reasons). His intensity grew as he went over what we'll be studying piece by piece, and peaked in his telling of an experience he had on a plane (back from Berlin, nonetheless) just this past Sunday when a man accused him of stealing food. I volunteered to present on Oni the Haitian Sensation, and sent him an email after the fact to stress my interest. I hope I'm able to, because I'd love to turn it into an opportunity to take a closer look at Ottawa's spoken word scene. I get a kick out of making my classes into examinations of my direct interests. In the meantime, I'll be looking at Lorena Gale's "Angelique", Austin Clarke's "Choosing his Coffin", Afua Cooper's "Hanging of Angelique", Dionne Brand's "Land to Light On", Mary Shadd's "A Plea for Emigration", Djanet Sears' "Harlem Duet", Nega Mezlekia's "Notes from the Hyena's Belly", and material by the man himself as well as some films.

The University of Toronto seems like a very competitive place. I like to take my time when it comes to courses, meeting professors, sharing my ideas. I like to get the feel of the room. And the feeling I get from the rooms I've been in so far is that continuous attempts are being made to cement one's place in the front of the line. I'll pass it off to a general excitement, for now. But I've personally never been one to take the first bite of a kill.

I found out how much I'll be getting scholarship-wise. I almost fainted. The feeling came over me that I'd done something terribly wrong. I'm starting to feel funny about applying for OSAP. But the revelation is putting interesting thoughts in my head. Like where I may be spending New Year's Eve.

I don't have another class until Friday, but tomorrow is a day full of appointments. And I really shouldn't sleep through them.

My baby's up there somewhere, in the sky on the other side of the globe. At 11:11 I made my wish for her...


A gull drops to kiss
    its dark, watery double,
       soars again alone.

- George Elliott Clarke, "Solitude" (from "Whylah Falls")

Monday, September 10, 2007

Ladies and gentlemen, I present the first installment in an ongoing series:


I had my first class today - Interdisciplinary Approaches to Opera - and I will not, as I had previously indicated, be studying Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen. Instead, I'll be looking at five, count 'em, five operas, presenting as part of a group on one and writing a 15-page paper for the remainder of the final grade. The operas are: Mozart's Le Nozza di Figaro, Verdi's Don Carlos, Wagner's Der Fliegende Holländer, Strauss' Elektra, and Britten's Death in Venice. I'll be seeing the first two live.

I chatted with some folks before class, including another English student named Marco whose schedule and interests shadow mine pretty closely. He also speaks Italian. He must be stopped (kidding). After a 45 minute delay related to scheduling, Professor Hutcheon introduced the course along with Professor Clark, and the students introduced themselves. The class is a mish-mash of Music, Drama, Comp Lit and English students that will be put into groups to present. The amount of readings is about average, in addition to actually sitting down and listening to/viewing the operas. It feels as though I'm of the few who know next to nothing about opera, but that's only going to drive me harder. On Wednesday I have a one-on-one with Hutcheon about the course. I'd better review how I quoted her in my undergrad essays.

I arrived on campus far earlier than need be to pick up OSAP, so I spent some time locating the Graduates' pub on the western end of the campus. Know where to drink and you'll know where to think. About $200 in textbooks later, I headed home, ate some chili, played some Wii, listened to some SModcast, and hoped that I'm not already in too far over my head.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Tomorrow is my first day of graduate studies. I'm a little nervous, but it will be nice to have day one finally under my belt after all this time. I've had my sights set on a Master's degree for a few years now, dating back to a period during second or third year when I would browse different university requirements at great length well into the night. I've always been a bit of a worrier.

I talked with Andrea tonight on the phone for an hour or so. In two days she'll be on the other side of the world. In her place I have a gift she left me (not to be opened until she's overseas), a picture of her guardian angel, and a stuffed Eeyore I sleep with every night.

I took the 9 AM bus back to Toronto today, picked up some school supplies, and finished Generica (I thought that despite its ingratiating syntax in parts, which was probably done on purpose given that it's a story about an editor, it was a sharp and humorous look at the publishing industry and the nature of desire). I also trimmed my beard, but not before watching the how-to video. The first thing I noticed is my error in purchasing a hair CUTTING kit instead of a shaving kit. Though I was able to successfully wing it with the electric clippers in the kit, none of the examples on the DVD provided instruction on how to shave. I do, however, now know exactly how to remove a rattail, should I grow one like this poor bastard kid:

And I also know how the ultimate tapered cut and shaven visage should appear:

Handsome man.

And that, my friends, is the end of summer 2007, once and for all. I said a lot of goodbyes this year. Lots of farewell parties, dancing, hugs and morning-after headaches. And it all led up to this, my first graduate year at the University of Toronto. Nothing ahead but 20-page papers and in-depth presentations. I'm going to need that guardian angel.

Today I wrote a poem about my mother.

I went through some of the boxes I had stowed away in my parents' basement. They were already well on their way to being impossible to get to amid the stuff my dad is clearing out of the garage; forty years of history adds up. I did rescue a few choice texts. More than I had anticipated, in fact, so I'll have to pack them in a separate suitcase for the return trip. It was hard to narrow down under the orders echoing through my head. "You should have a copy of The Canterbury Tales, just in case." Right. Well, whatever helps me sleep better (the inflatable mattress is barely covering it).

My brother-in-law Mike celebrated his birthday with a party at my sister's place. It was good to see Sarah again. She's stressed about her job as an education assistant looking after up to 15 kids a day during her week. My other sister Holly, the one who just got engaged, works as a receptionist in a methadone clinic, so both of my sisters are experiencing pretty high stress environments. Sarah is having panic attacks and she's just started back after the summer. One of the kids she looks after even made her a card telling her she hoped everything would be under "controll" for her. "It's pretty bad when even the kids can pick up on it," my sister says. They won't give her an assistant unless she's looking after at least 16 kids. Needless to say she's fighting just to get to the weekend. The party was fine, but I need to be more folksy with the people in Mike's family (I'm shy).

I picked up a Conair shaving kit so that I can keep my facial hair under "controll." It has 30 pieces to it including a how-to DVD. I can't WAIT to see that. Imagine being asked to compose the music for the Conair shaving kit how-to DVD. Imagine being asked to ACT in it. You'd be feeling as if you had the most perfect beard on the planet afterward. The best example of appropriately-shaven Conair can find. I'm going to screencap it and post it later.

The night wrapped up with watching The Man Who Never Was with my parents, a great flick about Operation Mincemeat from WWII. Gloria Grahame from It's A Wonderful Life co-starred in the melodramatic bits, and the thriller elements were crisply directed, exciting without too much bravado.

Today I went with Holly and Steve to Wendy's, and promptly left when Holly noticed someone in the restaurant she didn't want to talk to. It's a shame when your appetite is spoiled like that.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Home sweet home, all right. I'm in Peterborough for the weekend. I wasn't home for fifteen minutes and my dad starts waving this book on Armageddon in my face that he had just finished reading. A Bible scholar's take on the middle east, the rise of the antichrist, the end of the world. My dad likes to give me religious books. I asked him why he always saw it fit to dwell on the rapture, why he's always looking forward to the end of things, and he said he did it because I was his son, and he wanted to offer me salvation. He has faith that his beliefs are facts, that the rapture will happen in my lifetime. His faith is the most important thing in his life.

Usually, I take his words in complete silence. I let him speak them, let them hang in the air and dissipate into something else. They almost seem to affect him like spells. He's a perfectly great guy a lot of the time. Today he kept pushing me, because I was resisting him. He told me that he wanted to know my thoughts, even if I disagreed. And I told him that I can't talk to him when he preaches to me. He's talking at me, not engaging me in conversation. He sermonizes instead of offering an outlook. I told him I didn't want his book. But I thanked him for his offer of salvation, from a son to a father.

I'm fairly certain it's not going to be smooth sailing for my dad and me entirely from now on, because he's getting older and more panicky about his mortality. He may say he wants to hear what I think, but my dad isn't the type who listens, he's the type who waits for that pause in a dialogue to inform him that he can start speaking again. I've heard ministers speak and they don't speak like my dad. I asked him why he didn't become involved with the Church, why he didn't become a priest given that Catholicism was obviously his leading lot in life, and he told me that he didn't agree with their anti-marriage stance. That he's too busy working and taking care of his family to attend mass. My father is in a difficult position because Catholicism was so ingrained on him as a child, and even though he's left it he still carries a tremendous amount of guilt. He won't call himself a Protestant or Methodist or subscribe to any of the other hundred sects of Christianity due to his stubbornness, so he's taken the parts of Catholicism that he likes and has said to hell with the rest. Literally.

It's funny that this had to happen while I'm feeling so conflicted about my feelings towards God. There's an unflinching, brutal honesty in talking to my dad about how I really feel about religion. It's one of the hardest things I can ever remember doing in my life, probably some sort of leftover childhood desire not to let the old man down. But I'm my own man now. I'm going to be nothing but honest from now on, and not as tactful as I have been in the past. We'll see how his charity holds out. In the meantime I'll pray for him, in my own way. I won't stop loving my father, and I have to give him a chance to follow suit.

Friday, September 7, 2007

I'm going on the Robarts Library tour tomorrow morning before heading to Peterborough. Classes start Monday, and my first will be "Interdisciplinary Approaches to an Interdisciplinary Art Form: Opera." I found a brief course outline online, and we'll be focusing on Richard Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen, a 15-hour, four opera cycle that you can find out more about by clicking on the link. Or, you can have a gander at this:

Yep. That opera.

Today I watched Top Gun for the first time ever, believe it or not, and I'll have "Take My Breath Away" in my head for at least two weeks straight. I was suitably impressed with the film's dogfight sequences, which showed early signs of promise for Tony Scott, whose visual style goes completely mental in his more recent films. Too bad all that plot gets in the way. It was pretty cool to see James Tolkan in a new role (for me), and it just goes to show that Tolkan was the 80's go-to guy if you needed a short, bald, tightly-wound authority figure in your movie.

I played Wii-Boxing for about an hour and worked up a sweat. I've NEVER worked up a sweat playing a video game before. It felt amazing. Playing the sports games every so often might prove beneficial. For dinner, I came back from my tomato-basil pasta debacle with a tasty vegetarian chili that cost me ten bucks to put together and will last me another four nights.

Lately I've been adhering to the regimen of cleaning up after myself, and it feels good. I'll make a meal, eat it, and immediately wash the dishes. I'll make sure the bathroom is relatively free and clear of any indication of my presence in it. I want to make sure I'm not a bother to Jay, but I'm also draining myself of the will to put up with squalor.

I've changed the background and added a few links to other people's blogspots, if for no other reason than to help me access them easier. If you have a blog that I don't know about, send it along and I'll add you.

I'd recommend listening to some Otis Redding, if your heart's feeling low. Absolutely nobody sings it out like Otis.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

I was watching Star Wars (that's Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope for anyone born after 1989) today. It's a movie I've seen many times, and I couldn't really provide you with a cohesive description of its plot, but that makes it great for repeat viewings. I paid close attention this time around to the final assault on the Death Star, and finally understood that one of the pilots who accompanies Luke is an old friend of his from Tatooine. He's one of the last three pilots including Luke, and he's the last member of the Rebellion to bite it in the film. The other pilot is of course Wedge, who is in all three films and delivers an ass-whooping time and again WITHOUT the Force and really without assistance from anyone. He evens saves Luke's ass in the final assault, when Luke's old "buddy" is SUPPOSED to, but is nowhere to be found. Now, Wedge is hit by enemy fire and has to pull out of the trench. But he's the only member of the Rebellion besides Luke, Han and Chewie to survive the attack. So why isn't he at the fucking awards ceremony with the others when the film comes to a close? What, they couldn't have moved one of the extras they hired as a token elder senator out of the frame to clear a space? I mean, it's not like he even had to walk IN with the main characters. Lucas could have placed him already standing off to the side, with a tinier, SILVER medal, just to show that he'd already been honoured for his dedication. Bottom line, Wedge saved Luke's ASS, and that grand hall would be a floating assemblage of Yavin IV bits and pieces complete with digitally added explosion halo if it weren't for him. Respect Wedge.

Anyway, I've obviously been taking it easy today. I picked up some more clothing at the Village, and started into the meat and potatoes of Whylah Falls, which is incredibly beautiful, reading as if Ondaatje had written James Baldwin in stanzas. I'm nearly halfway through Generica as well, and it's holding my interest. I also listened to the latest SModcast, continued my online Scrabble losing streak, and watched some first season X-Files (some of those really early episodes are painful to sit through; as big of a fan as I was of the show, it really didn't hit its stride until a few seasons in).

I picked up tickets to see the Hives next month, and I'm taking Matt as his birthday present. Toronto has far too many good shows going on at the same time. It's completely overwhelming. I'm almost thankful that most of the shows are out of my price range (I'm not paying $37.50 to see the Kaiser Chiefs unless they somehow morph into Catherine Wheel partway through their set).

And I started writing again, a story I had only begun scratching at a couple of weeks ago. I had an idea, opened up Word, wrote it down until it was fleshed out enough, saved it and closed it up. 333 words without driving myself crazy. It's a good sign, and I wager last night's ramble definitely helped.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

I feel, somehow, as though floodgates are about to open.

When I read, I am overcome with emotion and thought. Reading ignites ideas, little bits of fire grow wings, more often than not sputtering and fluttering out after I've had a chance to calm down, to leave the idea behind and let it walk on its own. I'll read a paragraph and I'll have the most enormous inclination to write the perfect sidekick, an inspired companion to the lines I'm mowing through. I read something set in an office, and it convinces me with the force of God dictating to Adam that I should add a chapter onto whatever I've cooked up and set it in an office. Add a couple of Canadian tropes, twist it with a little magic realism and VOILA! But then I stop reading. More often than not, the fire goes out, the wings cease to beat, the idea can't walk on its own.

But sometimes... once in awhile, the idea sticks. There's a purity in it that I can sense. I carry this idea around with me, adding accouterments, shaping it in my brain, sometimes for years at a time. I become obsessed with it. I start to value it as one would value a childhood love. It becomes something almost physically attached to my body - a wrinkle, a rib, an unsettling click in a joint. And then... I can't write it down.

I'll mention what I know for certain. I never felt more alive as a writer than I was as recently as a couple of years back, when I was printing out my own chapbooks fairly regularly for about a year and a half. I don't know if anyone read them, if they retained any of the information, but it felt as though I was saying things that needed to be said. Lately I've been wondering if it was simply a youthful idealism on my part to think that I was being unique in my output, that I was writing worthwhile material that would impact some loosely defined world of readers and critics and artists. But none of that matters.

In the five chapbooks I wrote alone (Heartsex, Joel, The Scene, Kitsch, and Puget Sound) I wrote about love, sex, art, coincidence, accidents, apocalypse, dreams, idol worship, memory, music, alcohol... and God. Last night I tried communicating to Andrea how writing about God was really the only thing that kept drawing me back to the craft (I probably failed miserably, looking too much like a Modernist and coming off as a little crazy). But it's true, and I didn't really recognize it until I tried explaining it. To use your classic neoliberal preface, I'm not a religious person, but I see God at work in everyday life. Nothing provokes my curiosity more than the existence of God, despite the fact that I've developed an outwardly calm veneer on the matter, as opposed to my younger, more adamantly existential self. On the flip side (?), I believe in the existence of beauty as truth. What's in front of us - our loved ones, that pencil on your desk, is enough to bring spiritual satisfaction, simply by its being there for us to engage, regardless of the presence of God.

These are the two most pointed conclusions I have to come to regarding my writing - first, is the notion of God still important to me, and secondly, whether or not I can still find beauty in an agnostic world. If the answers to either of these is no, I won't be able to write any longer. I just won't. It won't work. Thankfully, I don't think that will happen.


Position is where you
put it, where it is,
did you, for example, that

large tank there, silvered,
with the white church along-
side, lift

all that, to what
purpose? How
heavy the slow

world is with
everything put
in place. Some

man walks by, a
car beside him on
the dropped

road, a leaf of
yellow color is
going to

fall. It
all drops into
place. My

face is heavy
with the sight. I can
feel my eye breaking.

- Robert Creeley, The Window


On another note, things happened today:

I saw Andrea off at the bus terminal. Through the haze of being awake at 8:30 I still felt like crying. She leaves for Germany in a week. We kissed long and hard and squeezed hands.

I had to go to my MA orientation almost immediately afterwards. While waiting in the Sanford Fleming building, Jonathan Abresch sidled up to me. We graduated Carleton at the same time and are now entering our graduate studies, though with very different priorities. He's pretty heavy into the Medieval side of things, whereas I'm going as interdisciplinary and contemporary as I can. It was good to see him. The meeting was your average hodgepodge of vagueness, but everyone who spoke seemed genuinely approachable. Some folks from echolocation also took the floor, inviting students to their first meeting of the year, which I am looking forward to and will most certainly attend.

I went home and slept for what turned into a couple of hours, then slouched back to campus for my meeting with MA program Associate Director Sara Salih, which went swimmingly. I'm going to stick around Toronto until Friday so that I can take a tour of the library. I've been in Robarts a handful of times now and I still haven't seen a book.

I spent the rest of the evening reading, letting the floodgates open. Read the ten-year anniversary intro to Whylah Falls (complete with Discography. That's what I like to see). Hopefully I'll be spending the next couple of days effectively organizing what remains of my free time. It's a commodity I will soon miss.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Well, it's the last night I'll be spending with Andrea in quite some time... we celebrated it by being with each other, cramming in Office episodes and chocolate, talking about the things we've exchanged with each other to watch over during our respective stays in alternate universes.

I probably have more to say, but I've giving all I have to her.

Monday, September 3, 2007

First off, here are a couple of shots concerning my apartment. The first is the view of the CN Tower from my balcony:

And this is what the place looks like from Keele Street:

Thanks to Andrea for those. She's been camera happy the last few days. Today I was feeling better, so we went to a Blue Jays game (my first since 1990!) - they beat the Seattle Mariners 6-4. We were up high in the dome (sorry, the "Centre") but the seats were still great, in line with first base. Another day in the airshow provided overhead sights and sounds of jets doing backflips. Afterward, we went to the Steam Whistle factory, but were minutes too late for the tour (though we did learn that the branding code "3FG" written on every bottle actually stands for the "3 Fired Guys" who were laid off from Sleeman's and started their own brewery).

We grabbed a bite on Church Street, aka Toronto's flamboyance nucleus, and went to see Danny Boyle's Sunshine at the Cineplex. I liked the film enough, but I couldn't get past how much it scams from Paul W. S. Anderson's Event Horizon. We headed home and I did some laundry while Andrea crashed early.

I'm getting a bit nervous for next week. There are some things I need to pick up in Peterborough before the semester starts, so I'm planning a trip over a few days. First things first, though. I want to enjoy the time that Andrea and I have left.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

I woke up violently ill and have been trying to recover all day, but I feel really dizzy and my stomach is still churning. Hopefully this is a day-long thing and will be gone by tomorrow so that Andrea and I can enjoy the city.

She's an awesome girl, taking care of me, getting me Gravol, watching movies and TV shows... it's great to have someone like her around because I can turn into a real sook when I get too sick.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

I added a fancy new userpic, taken by the fancy Andrea, featuring my fancy new haircut. Effin' fancy.

Jason's gone for the weekend, so we stayed up late watching Ocean's 12, which was good but felt long (that's what she said! Sorry, too many Office episodes)...

First off, my sister Holly just got engaged to her boyfriend Steve. They've been dating for about 7 years, so it was a while coming. My parents just had their 38th wedding anniversary a couple of days ago, and I think the announcement coincided, so that's nice.

I started off the day marching over to the license bureau and shelling out $75 to renew my driver's license, which expired ten months ago (I don't drive). I was having my picture taken when some guy walked right past me in the line of the shot, so I was momentarily taken aback. The woman at the counter smiled as if thinking "these are the kind of douchebags I'm going to have to deal with on a Friday? Faaaaaaaaantastic." She assured me he didn't end up in the final shot, but I'm expecting a photo of me in mid-WTF glance. If your license photo is supposed to be bad, at least mine will come with a story.

We made our way to the U of T campus to pick up my student card and tour around a little. We checked out the old buildings that looked like something out of Harry Potter. Apparently there had been a fire in the regular location of the English Department offices, so everything is moving to the far north of the campus. I still have yet to find out where exactly my classes will be taking place.

After visiting the University bookstore, we made for the Eaton's Centre. We stopped at a Tim Horton's and I tried tipping the cashier but she told me they don't accept tips. That's BALLS. I worked there for four and a half years and those people DESERVE tips. Way too cockamamie. I picked up records by The New Pornographers and Rilo Kiley, plus Whylah Falls by George Elliot Clarke to prepare myself for what this guy is capable of. Andrea showed me the spot where she picked up the fake Maine ID she used back when I first met her. Sam The Record Man has closed its doors, on a sad note. Maegen used to work there and I myself have fond memories of browsing its racks.

After additional shopping and one hilarious photo op we headed home, watched some TV, ate a good meal, and said goodbye to August. Not a bad day on the whole.