Sunday, December 17, 2000

Ranting, TMI, Photos

Snow!!! ARRGH! First it all falls down like it is trying to do all of winter in just one week and it is so cold that my nipples end up permanently concrete and then it gets warm and rains and all the damn snow melts AND the soles of my shoes suddenly decide after two years that they no longer wish to be water proof. And goddamnit, I still have an exam and an essay to go before I can do anything about it!

Plus, I have gained weight. And in just ten days there will be someone around to see me naked. I am now wishing that I had gone to the gym a lot more than just five times this term. And that I hadn't eaten so much chocolate during September. Why is it that comfort eating ends up making you feel less comfortable down the line?!?

Vent over. I am sure I will be in a much better mood once exams are over.

I am still making photo albums for my European trip after the Lunt. I have no idea how I will ever get them all done-I had no idea what an endeavor it would be. I guess considering I have owned a camera since I was in Grade 5 but never put any photos in anything resembling a well organized album, this should have come as no surprise. And I now need to buy more albums. And more of those photo corner thingies, which incidentally are costing me a small fortune.

YES, ANDREA, COME TO SCOTLAND!!! It would be a great idea. Boys with accents. Boys in kilts. Ceildh dancing. Pubs. Hogmanay. Vacations in Europe (well, perhaps not plural for me, Ms. Student-loan-repayer, but at least one!). Me. You. :)

Thursday, November 02, 2000

The bastards at OSAP and my poor planning

It is turning out to be a very hard forth year. In addition to missing Alan like crazy, I have lost a large bit of my OSAP loan because it was reassessed and I am struggling with classes and a job. I now need another job on top of that which will be hard to manage. My social life is non existent-but then I can't afford to go out anyway. I am finding in my final year that after all this effort I don't really feel that my classes will lead me in the direction I want to go. I seem to have more of a historical background than an archaeological one and am not sure what to do about that now. I should have taken anthropology and geology and environmental science and chemistry along side my classics courses but it is a bit late to realize that in my graduating year.

If it weren't for Alan, I might have changed my degree and stayed a few more years. But then, I want to spend some time discovering what it is like in the real world, the one outside of university. So I do rather suspect I would do just as well to take the two years to figure out what it is I want to do in a Masters and what I need to learn in order to get to there. Because I am definitely not qualified yet.

Tuesday, October 10, 2000

Happy Turkey Day

Well, I have eaten more turkey dinners and leftover turkey sandwiches than any other year that I can recall.

I went to Bolton early Friday morning so I could stop at the British Consulate-the bad news is that I will have to get a working holiday visa, which will mean working under the table, and the good news is at least it is cheaper if I apply by myself and ditch SWAP.

I also bought a tight purple low cut shirt. Alan said once that he imagined that Canadian girls must dress frumpily during the winter in lots of bulky jumpers (before we started going out) and I aim to avoid filling that stereotype. Dating is such a pain in the ass-I will need to go out and buy some sexier bras before he comes across as well.

I met up with a bunch of friends in Bolton on Friday night but we couldn't go to our usual bar cause it lost its liquor license for the evening (we assume they were serving minors-shameful!).

Two days of family dinners and four loads of laundry and I am back in Kingston. My train arrived at 3 am and I caught a cold from my brother. Now doesn't the rest of the world wish they could have Thanksgiving too?

Saturday, October 07, 2000

Almost Thanksgiving

Ready to be shocked-I am still feeling hungover from two nights ago. Apparently making chocolate martinis without measuring out the alcohol is an unwise decision. I am guess that as the evening went on, they got stronger and stronger. Anyway, I pretty much feel like shit.

I had two tests today and the first day of my job (library assistant) and tonight I have to give a talk on studying abroad. And do my dishes, clean my room and pack to go home for Thanksgiving. I am looking forward to free food, free laundry and free phone calls to Alan! I am sure my parents will love that!

My job seems ok, but is only 5 hours a week and that is nowhere near enough to pay the bills.

By the way, third-year-boy, I must tell you that forth year ain't much better. Not only do I have a ton of work-except in my myth and religion class, what a bird course!-but it is also getting a bit tedious. I just want the damn degree and want out. I am sure I will hate having to find a job and do something tedious and repetitive all day long next year, but at the moment working seems like heaven.

Right, well Alan has totally stood me up on MSN! So I am going to go and do one of the millions of things I need to do, and if he comes on, well, too bad.

Friday, October 06, 2000

A rather unexciting life

It is interesting to be back in Kingston, and in Canada in general, but I am more than ready to go back to Scotland. Alan and I are going to have really big phone bills this year.

He is on an excavation at the moment in the middle of nowhere so apparently they drink every night. This is interesting only because of the two hysterical drunken phone calls I have gotten.

Oops. I have just dropped a sesame seed between the keys and can't get it out. I am sure Ryan is going to love that! He's a comp sci geek, but a very lovable one. I am also living with a guy from China and a wanker named Gord who watches about 6-8 hours of TV a day. To say that he is addicted would be putting it mildly. He actually watched a documentary of the girl who played Punky Brewster yesterday. And he flips channels during commercials in Jeopardy! I hate that!!!

I had my first ever lab last week. It was fun, and my lab group giggled a lot, in spite of our lack of experience. Or perhaps because of it. Anyway, the prof was there and was very interested to hear that I am in archaeology and now stops to chat with me on my way to class.

Anyway, that's about the excitingness of my life lately. Vanessa and I did go out dancing on Thursday at the campus bar, which was fun.

Tuesday, September 26, 2000

I need more sleep

Dear my beautiful, sweet lesbian lover: I am afraid Alan is a bit deluded and has not yet realized the true nature of our relationship.

On a less jokey note, getting myself a visa for next year is turning out to be a royal pain in the arse. So many forms...

Alan called totally hammered last night and mumbled about: how he loved me, how he almost threw up, how he fell in a bush, and how he loves red wine. It was pretty funny. Then he called today asking if he had said anything embarrassing.

I got a work study allotment, but now have to find a job, which means lots of wasted time writing out cover letters and pretending to love clerical work, dressing up nicely and dropping off CVs. I have an interview for tomorrow, so hopefully I will just get that one. I don't care much what I do so long as the hours are flexible. And they pay me, since otherwise I will have to start eating my textbooks, cause I have no food budget (or fun budget for that matter!).

I am waiting for one of the boys to try some cleaning, but that may take a while (is hell freezing anytime soon???).

All my classes are at 8.30 till 1-2 so I am starting to suffer from sleep deprivation. Last night without thinking I decided to bake a banana bread, yum, but forgot it takes an hour to cook and it was already midnight. I am in training to talk to people about exchanges at the moment-which seems a bit odd cause all my friends just want me to shut up about Scotland. I am thinking I may be rather good at this :) Perhaps I will convince them all to date Scots and start a trend.

I am off to do my women's studies assignment, which I should have done over the weekend, but watched What's Eating Gilbert Grape instead.

Tuesday, September 19, 2000

The little fiddly things

I have a million things to do but they are all little fiddly things that just take up time I don't really have. I am taking a geology course this year, so have labs for the first time in my uni career. Tonight we also have a lab quiz on geological time frames. I am doing rather well with memorizing them since I only started looking at the sheet during my last class (Archean, Proterozoic, Cambrian, Ordivician, Silurian, Devonian, Carboniferous, Permian, Triassic, Jurassic,
Cretaceous, Paleogene, Neogene!). Practice makes perfect.

The correspondence course which has really annoying assignments, like interviewing women involved in the Second Wave of women's lib, or writing an essay from the viewpoint of someone of a different sexual orientation. It is interesting, but setting up an interview or finding time to think creatively...

Alan is off at field school, and rather sick (just a cold) so I have had lots of rather whiney phone calls. I'm not complaining though, cause the accent is sexy, though the affect is rather ruined by the cold. The obstacle of "I have no money to go to Scotland next year" will be dealt with by hook or by crook (a friend and I are considering selling one of our kidneys on the American black market-it pays rather well). One each of our kidneys by the way, cause looking back at that sentence, it kinda looks like Chad and I share kidneys, which is not, in fact, the case.

I am taking a course on the Iliad because it fit in my schedule and I need to come up with five questions I have always wanted answered about the Iliad by Friday which is going to be marked. Since I am only taking the course because it fit in, I don't actually have any questions. I suppose it is time to hit the library. Or to read the damn book.

My new apartment it just a delight-we have a potato bug infestation, intermittent hot water, enough dampness to require 24 hour running of the dehumidifier, a clogged sink, a $90 bill to have new phone jacks and wiring put in (the dampness is not good for them apparently), no screens on the windows, a crappy fridge, and I have a circular spot of wet carpet that won't dry no matter what I do.

Friday, September 15, 2000

Back in Kingston

After an exciting third year overseas, I'm back in Kingston to finish my degree. It's funny to experience culture shock in your own country, I must say, but I certainly have. It's funny to be back, and with a Scottish accent of my own, no less.

I have a place to live: it's a basement apartment and is cheap. I live with three guys: one is so quiet he is almost invisible, one is annoying, and the other guy is nice, but essentially lives at his girlfriend's place and pays rent to store his stuff. The furniture situation is rather sparse. We don't have anything in the living room/kitchen yet, but then no one ever spends any time in it anyway. Gord's parents said something about a kitchen table, which would be nice. Once the TV is finally set up, I am thinking we could just sit on chairs, unless Uncle Al can bring the couch down. Our biggest lack at the moment is a vacuum cleaner. There has been a small potato bug problem, but a can of Raid is going a long way towards solving that! The place on Division St. had silverfish, and I am not sure which I dislike more. The rug is fine, except I still have a small circle area that is still wet. Ryan gets the same thing when it rains, so I am thinking that it is a problem with the concrete. Whatever, I just avoid it and spray it with Febreeze occasionally to prevent any smells. In general, the place is not as damp now that everyone is in. There is very little hot water for showers, but that is an "old house in Kingston problem", so no surprise.

The petrol situation in the UK is annoying, because now I can't get any mail from Alan. As for if Scotland is affected-yes. Britain includes Scotland, England, Wales and N.Ireland, so when you hear Britain mentioned as a rule, it will include Scotland. With the new Scottish Parliament, there may be some things in future that will affect the rest of Britain, and not Scotland, or Wales, which also has a limited assembly. Only if England is mentioned is Scotland not included. In a quirk, however, England and Wales are more closely tied than England and Scotland, so sometimes when people say England, they also mean Wales. Hope all of that makes some sense.

As for my classes, they are ok. I am taking all half courses, and a correspondence course in Women's Studies that lasts all year. This term I have History of Life (geology), Greek History, Myth and Religion, Greek and Roman Epic. My women's studies course is slowly making me into a rabid feminist. The amount of oppression that has and still does exist is really sickening. My annoying housemate said the other day that the only way sexism will disappear is if all the men decide en mass to stop being sexist. Somehow he didn't realize that it is extremely misogynist to say that women's acceptance in society is completely dependent on men's actions. The funny thing is that while I am doing the readings, I get really annoyed, but in day to day life, my feminist attitudes are pretty basic. I am starting to feel that Germaine Greer is my most recent role model, as she has an interesting type of feminism. My History of Life course is sooooo interesting-I wish I had taken this one sooner, because I am thinking that I might have done some other geology courses too. I also wish I had taken anthropology, but I didn't have the prerequisite. It is funny to think that there is no more time left to take all the electives that I now wish I had done. I really regret wasting some of my time on my second year history classes. Anyway, back to geology. We were discussing plate tectonics, and it really is so amazingly interesting. Next week we have three classes on the basics of biology (we did the basics of geology this week), before getting into the actual course. Apparently there are students from over 40 different departments in this class, and they are even distributed among all four years. In fact, for the first time in my university career, I have labs. Only three of them though. The other big bonus of this term is that I have a course that has no essays, no final, and just six multiple choice quizzes, every six weeks. And the worst mark drops out too! I am thinking that I might even get a 90% in this course.

I am extremely broke this year, which means getting a job. I have one, and will probably get another, and maybe get rid of the one I have, or only do it for a day on the weekends. That and six courses means that I will have very little life. I seem to know more people on campus than I thought I would, but to be honest, I am largely focusing on next year, and am not to bothered if I don't get out much. I miss Alan a lot, and it is a rather lonely feeling to be so far away from him.

I found out that they are giving me two credits for last year, which is more than I expected. And actually, it sounds like I may have actually passed the Greek course, since they only mentioned in the email that I failed the Latin. They just said that since I had a credit for first year Greek here, that I couldn't get another credit for doing it in Edinburgh. Maybe the prof just included my marks from the midterms, and assumed that I didn't have to write the final? I could have passed that way, and lots of exchange students don't have to write finals. And I certainly didn't write mine!!!

I am thinking of getting a Maclean's subscription, since I am rather oblivious to the world at large at the moment. I would never manage to read a paper every day, but maybe once a week is doable. I just hate ordering things like that and then not reading them. We shall see. But I am far to ignorant for my own good at the moment, and hate reading the news on the net, it just isn't the same!

Sunday, August 20, 2000

York, London, Edinburgh

It has been a busy weekend-we were out with Neil on Thursday, then had Em over on Friday after being out to the local, the tattoo this evening with Alan's parents and tomorrow we are going dancing with Neil at a gay club.

My trip to York & London was fun-it was nice seeing Jenny again, and finally I have been to Trafalgar square-though I didn't actually feed the pigeons. I also went to the Tate Modern (very trendy) and to the British Museum. Jenny and I went to Portobello Rd market in Notting Hill and then shopping on King's Rd, Sloane Square-so some of the best known bohemian and classy shopping all in one day. That evening we had dinner at her cousins' flat and had drinks at a pub along the river Thames. WE also went to a trendy Italian restaurant in the West End and then had a drink at a pub-or in front of it, as most London pubs are too small, and you have to just stand around on the pavement in front of them. York had two really cool museums-the Viking one and one where you had to walk through the whole thing in one direction, which had a bit of everything, including a working mill, recreated streets and a history of chocolate.

The tattoo this evening was really good-lots of pipe bands. The Canadian Mounties were there, as were both the Scottish and Canadian Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. There were also displays by the Maoris, the calypso band from the Dominican, the Australian police band (that did the can-can), the Zulus, etc. It's a special year to celebrate the Commonwealth.

Saturday, July 01, 2000

Stymphalia, Greece

I am in Kiato right now, which is an hour away by very rickety bus from Stymphalia. Email is a bit dodgy, since I probably won't be trekking out here regularly. The dig is ok, but the heat is insane and I have a cold. I share a tent with two other
girls and it is so small, you would not believe how crowded it is.

Stymphalia is great-one payphone, a shop that sells crisps and cokes, 5 tavernas, and a fish farm that turns into a "disco" on weekends. Oh, and the 25 campers share two toilets and a shower in the alleyway behind the hotel which is walled in but has no roof. The next village is a 30 min walk and has a post office, bank, and a very small grocery store. I am in the middle of nowhere!!!

Athens was experiencing a heat wave when I arrived (two hours late due to plane delays-it was still in London!) and I only went to the National Museum before collapsing in a heap. We did a few stops on the way up to the dig, but with a prof acting as tour guide who spoke in a monotone voice.


Dogs of Athens had their day

Ever since a Ukrainian archery coach was bitten by a stray, this city's pooches have started to disappear, writes MARK MacKINNON

ATHENS -- It was three years ago that the dogs of Athens started disappearing, according to Angela Fleming.

Ms. Fleming, a veterinarian who frequently takes in stray dogs to have them neutered and vaccinated, has spent years tagging animals so she can keep an eye on them. Increasingly often of late, the animals she treats vanish or turn up dead, found burnt in dumpsters or killed by crude mixtures of pesticides and rat poison.

She believes the killings are part of an unofficial attempt to remove thousands of the stray animals from the streets of Athens in time for the Olympic Summer Games.

"We know it's happening. We put the strays back on the street and they don't last six months. From 2001 to date, there's been a gradual cleanup," Ms. Fleming said.

Animal-rights activists believe that 3,000 dogs have disappeared from the city's streets in the runup to the Games.

The city's population of strays was thrust into the international spotlight last summer when a Ukrainian archery coach visiting the city for a pre-Games test event was bitten by a stay dog as he was jogging.

It was only a minor injury, but the incident raised the question of whether the Greek capital's shaggy underbelly could prove an Olympic-sized embarrassment.

Not that the dogs were a big secret. Any visitor to Athens likely has to step over a sleeping canine for a closer look at an ancient architectural site or is pestered by a whining would-be dinner companion.

The city has an estimated 15,000 strays, a population that has grown because of a lack of shelters and a national distaste for keeping animals in the home.

Some of the dogs are well cared for "community" animals, fed and looked after by residents and restaurateurs. But others are sick, poorly fed and occasionally ill-tempered.

The government responded to the attack on the coach by passing tough registration laws meant to keep Greeks from abandoning their pets and with a pamphlet campaign emphasizing the "uncivilized" appearance the strays give the city.

Someone thought the best solution would be to kill off the strays, and took a gruesome approach to civic duty. One morning last year, 60 dogs and cats were found dead in a central park, just as Greece assumed the rotating presidency of the European Union and a number of foreign dignitaries were to descend on Athens.

Paul Anastasi, a spokesman for Athens Mayor Dora Bakoyanni, said it was the most public of several such mass poisonings. "People were putting down poisons, perhaps because there were large packs of dogs or dogs making noise late at night."

Mr. Anastasi flatly denied assertions by animal-rights advocates that authorities were involved.

The city considered rounding the animals up by the thousands and impounding the strays for the duration of the Games, but anger at home and abroad forced officials to abandon the idea.

So the city is rounding up the strays, sterilizing them, inoculating them and putting them up for adoption. After two weeks dogs without homes, sporting blue tags to indicate they are not to be feared, are returned to the streets.

The measures likely will do little to lower the stray-animal population in time for the Games but may prevent another mass poisoning that could be a blow to the country's reputation.

Mr. Anastasi said tourists rarely complain about the dogs that roam freely in the shadow of the Acropolis, among other landmarks.

Still, he said, the city has an image problem and a big chance to make a good impression this summer.

"Our image, our claim to be a major EU city, the queen of the Balkans, is at stake. We can't afford for it to go wrong."

Monday, June 26, 2000

Re: Moany Boy! (help meeeeeeee!!)

> Hi Amanda,
> Me and the boy are checking our e-mails in web 13
> right now - the phone line
> still isn't in yet! He is missing you already!
> Moan moan moan! Never mind
> it'll (i hope) pass - for my sake and my ears. How
> is the dig going? I know
> you can't really check emails but just incase you
> make it to civilisation!
> Have fun
> Jenni