Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Monday, July 30, 2007
There certainly are enough spiders. I have a kill rate of about 2 a day. It disturbs me. I do not like spiders.
I am not overly fond of crickets indoors either.
Up until then my travelling experience was very limited. I had been to Florida twice with my family. I had done a lot of camping trips: up to Thunder Bay and Tadousacc and Algonquin, down into New York State. I had been to Amy's dad's place in Detroit for some fun holidays that consisted mainly of acquiring ketchup in less-than-kosher ways and drinking underage in a parent-free house.
So, when I signed myself up for some excavating in England and got accepted into the exchange programme to the University of Edinburgh, I was amazingly happy to realise there was a 6 week gap between the two and I was going to get to go backpacking. I bought a travel journal and the Lonely Planet's Europe on a Shoestring the day I got the call telling me I was in the programme - before I even knew which university they were sending me to.
Reading my first observations about Britain, how I felt about travelling and leaving behind my family (granted, I had already moved out and gone to university, but still)- it's so funny and interesting. My written voice is so different, so young! I wish I had the time to read through the whole thing, and I suppose I might still manage to find the time, but by the looks of it it would take me a couple of hours at least.
I have a couple of other journals as well, though I am seldom good at keeping them up for long. Blogging definitely encourages more regularity, though I've gone through some sporadic periods here too. Next time I'm home, I'm going to make a pointed effort to go through all of that stuff. I meant to this time, but got sidetracked by the Buffy obsession and excessive magazine reading. Damn is it nice to live in a country with so many lefty, English-language mags.
Season 6 was as dark as everyone warned me it would be. And I've gone back to my original dislike of Xander. Why in god's name does he think he gets to criticize Buffy's choice in men? I mean, sure, Angel and Spike both try to hurt her. But we've got Xander refering to Spike as a killer with a chip and stating that he's evil because he killed in the past. Anya killed too. You know, vegenance demon gig? If Anya could have cursed Xander herself, she would have. But Buffy and Willow don't hassle Xander non-stop about his choice of girlfriend. So what right does Xander have to police Buffy's sexuality? To constantly critique her relationships? When he runs off and leaves Anya at the alter, his friends are understanding. He doesn't try to be understanding with Buffy in any of her relationship issues.
Attmpted rapes. One stopped by death, the other by overpowering the rapist. Men who feel uncomfortable but don't act to stop them. I'm not sure what to say about all this from a feminist perspective. Both of the actions really disappointed me. The nerdy Evil Genius Trio was fast making this my favourite season for Buffy demons. The whole thing was ruined for me by the fact that after the attempted rape of Warren's ex-girlfriend, the other two never turned on him. Sure, Jonathon had his doubts but for a self-proclaimed feminist show, I didn't think it was enough. As for what happened between Spike and Buffy - I was just starting to rather like Spike as a good guy. I thought the attempted rape was completely out of character for him and not necessary to drive along the plotline.
Sunday, July 29, 2007
-I added a couple of interesting sounding books (I was reading the newspaper) to my Amazon wishlist and idley clicked on the recommendations list. They suggest that since I like Harry Potter, I'd also love Sex and the City. Uh huh. I mean, I do love them both, but...
-I'm feeling very odd. A combo of lazy and of wanting to do about a million different things but I can't seem to just pick one of all of them and do it.
-I saw Dom last night for some book shopping and video renting. It was fun. Bad Cop, Bon Cop is really, really good. But you probably have to be Canadian to find it funny.
-Limeade is good.
-The problem with living with 10 people is the unendingness of stuff to do. I resent having to make up juice because I feel like it by the time I want more, I'll just be doing it all over again, as 9 other people are going to drink all my limeade. I feel that way all the time about laundry and dirty dishes - it offends me that they just reappear right after you did the housework.
-I want a Wii. Just for the facial matching game. I suck but it rocks.
-I really, really detest packing. I detest it more when it also involves me having to find things that I am not sure where are in a huge house full of stuff.
-I think I actually enjoy the box room Korean apartment thing. It makes things so much easier - to find, to clean, to pack up.
-Buffy is almost at an end. That makes me kinda sad. I am not sure that I'll even bother to start Angel, cause there isn't anywhere near enough time.
-Chapters is selling books for $1 or $2!!! This leads to mass book buying. My god, it's fun! Slightly random selection, fair enough, but still.
Friday, July 27, 2007
I can't hear the word hella without thinking of Yun Jin.
I miss ya, babe!
Thursday, July 26, 2007
It's a very weird thing to go from living in a place you get all to yourself to living with 10 people, three of whom are 5 and under.
A: Open the refrigerator door, put the elephant in, and shut the door.
Q: How do you put a giraffe in a refrigerator?
A: Open the refrigerator door, take out the elephant, put in the giraffe, and shut the door.
Q: The lion called a meeting of all the animals in the animal kingdom. All the animals except for one attended the meeting. Which animal was it?
A: The giraffe, because he was still in the refrigerator.
Q: You come to a river that is known to be infested with crocodiles. There is no bridge. How can you get across?
A: Just swim. All the crocodiles are at the animal meeting.
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Monday, July 23, 2007
What to say about Season 5? I wasn't overly pleased about the whole Riley leaving set-up. He was so passive-agressive in the end there. All that "you don't give me what I need, give me a reason to stay, you won't let me take care of you" bullshit. He didn't take any responsibility for himself or his emotions. The relegating of emotional health to a woman as her responsibility within a relationship isn't very feminist. He even tells her she throws like a girl! So, while this particular girl can beat him, girls in general can still be used as a put-down and synonomous with weakness. He replaced Xander in this season as my least favourite character. Xander wasn't so great in his speech to Buffy either about the whole running after Riley - suggesting that if she loved him, she should just forget the whole vampire-sucking/cheating and go get him back. The season redeems itself with the robo-girlfriend episode, which has Buffy realising that she doesn't "...need a guy right now. I need me."
There was another silent episode, the one about her mother's death. It's interesting how effectively the lack of noise can be used to create an emotional response. Because I've been watching the seasons so quickly, it was hard not to compare it with Hush, which has so far been one of my favourite episodes and the only one that has ever made me a little bit on the scared side (and I quite like being scared). I think the silence was more effective at creating fear in Hush than sadness here - in the death episode it worked for me for awhile, but then I found it stopped. I can think of some other shows that have used this technique effectively - an episode of ER comes to mind off hand. It got me thinking about whether or not I had ever seen the same technique used to portray happiness or love and I can't think of any examples.
Where is the damn musical episode? Everyone raves about it and I want to see it already!
I didn't love the first two Harry Potter books - they were fine but nothing too special. I didn't much love the last two either - they were a bit over long and a tad tedious. However, those three in the middle were fantastic. All in all, it's been a great series of books, one that appears to have engaged many children in reading (always a good thing) and rekindled my interest in reading children's literature as an adult (along with His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman). Not half bad for something started in a coffee shop just a couple of blocks away from where I once lived!
I want a man who knows what love is all about. You are generous, kind, thoughtful. People who are not like you admit to being useless and inferior. You have ruined me for other men. I yearn for you. I have no feelings whatsoever when we're apart. I can be forever happy—will you let me be yours?
- - - - - - - - - -
I want a man who knows what love is. All about you are generous, kind, thoughtful people, who are not like you. Admit to being useless and inferior. You have ruined me. For other men, I yearn. For you, I have no feelings whatsoever. When we're apart, I can be forever happy. Will you let me be?
- - - - - - - - - -
Robot, said its boss, is an idiot.
Robot said, "Its boss is an idiot."
I don't think I have an addictive personality but obsessive nails me right on the head.
Saturday, July 21, 2007
"Where are you going?"
"What are you doing?"
"A-pa!" (Grandpa-she can say it, she just chooses not to)
Emily talking is the cutest thing ever. She slurs everything together and hasn't got all the letter noises down pat yet. And she speaks in what are obviously full sentences, though many of the words are either nonsense or incomprehensible. Very cute.
Also cute is Chloe and her commando crawling.
I mean wooden Buddha heads and fancy Asian jewellery boxes and scrolls to put on the wall and enough fancy chopsticks to throw a banquet for a hundred or so. Lots of stuff with elephants on it. Asian style knickknacks.
So far my figurine range doesn't go past Buddhas, an elephant thingy, and one of those penis-head statues from Jejudo.
Perhaps I should have used a different word? Some of it is sort of in the range of art, but certainly not all. Some of it is maybe more in the area of handicrafts. Dunno.
The problem? I'm already reading two books. The Ethical Imagination by Margaret Somerville, which is very cool and non-fiction, which must be obvious from the title. It'll take me awhile because it's very thought-provoking. And Anybody Out There by Marian Keyes - total chick-lit but one of my fav authors for a relaxing read. I'm two-thirds through it and I am really enjoying it. Finish it before starting Harry? Dilemna.
And this is going to put a dent in my Buffy watching. Yesterday was bad enough - I had errands to run and went to see Hairspray, so I only got through a single disc! For me, that's not very impressive. Season 5 is gonna take me forever at this rate. Though the pressure's off - even if I have to leave soon, Samarra has my back :)
Friday, July 20, 2007
Then there is this article which is all about the public aspects of Facebook, Myspace, and blogs and how they are used by journalists. It's interesting because while on my blog my life is being portrayed generally in a more well-rounded way, my Myspace in particular is not. It's a lot of joking by friends, a lot of funny references to evenings out, a lot of exaggeration, and some fairly carefully selected photos. It's a site I use for very particular purposes. My facebook is a bit better rounded, but again, since I don't blog there, it is far from a complete picture of my life or myself. And then, naturally, there are many things about my life that will never make it onto the internet. I wonder what journalists would make of me, simply from my online persona.
Another trip to the Bolton cinema, with Lindsay and Kari this time. I must admit, I didn't really want to see it, so I wasn't expecting much. I really liked it. I haven't seen the original, so I don't really have anything to compare it to. I liked all of the main characters - even John Travolta didn't do a half bad job. I'm not sure why the role is played by a man in drag, but it did get some titters out of the pre-teen small-town audience.
I googled to find out more about John Waters and found this article and this very amusing quote:
"Oh, honey, I'd be so happy if you turned nellie ... you could change! Queers are just better. I'd be so proud if you was a fag and had a nice beautician boyfriend. I'd never have to worry. I worry you'll work in an office, have children, celebrate wedding anniversaries. The world of a heterosexual is a sick and boring life!"The more I read, the more I realise that this version of Hairspray is definitely not a John Waters film, in so many ways. I really must see the original because if I liked the remake this much, then it can only get better.
Thursday, July 19, 2007
The issues of cheating and responsibility came up a lot. First there was Buffy and Parker, with the player storyline. Then Oz and Willow, which I didn't really like. Oz didn't take any responsibility for his cheating, really, just blamed it on his animal nature. Unless the running away was supposed to be him taking responsibility. Then Riley slept with Faith-inside-of-Buffy and later he was worried that Buffy had slept with Angel and turned him bad again.
I didn't think much of Angel's reappearances, but I think that to fully follow them I'd have to watch Angel as well. I briefly entertained the idea of starting Angel now and watching them together, but I think I am too interested in finishing Buffy first. I liked Riley well enough - especially as he tells Buffy: "No one giving you orders... I like it." I loved the way they handled the beginning of the relationship between Willow and Tara.
What was up with that last episode? I really wasn't a fan. Worst one I've seen so far.
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
The first scary episode - Hush, where no one could speak. Now, maybe it was that I was watching it in the dark, late at night, but it made me a bit jumpy. I've never found Buffy spooky before, but that was wiggy, as Buffy would say.
I'm waiting impatiently to get to discuss Buffy with people - so far I'm trying to avoid spoilers. But I liked some of the music and wanted to look it up, so I've done a bit of looking on the web (also to find quotes) and man, is the Buffy fan community intense. It's not a religion, folks! And it most certainly isn't above critical analysis.
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
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2. Players start with 8 random facts about themselves.
3. Those who are tagged should post these rules and their 8 random facts.
4. Players should tag 8 other people and notify them they have been tagged.
Eight Random Facts:
1. I've had four passports in my life and I've had to self-guarantee two of them. The first because I was mugged in Italy and had to get an emergency passport in Rome and the second because I had it done in Hong Kong, less than a week after I arrived. I got my first passport not because I was travelling anywhere but in order to get into bars, since I wasn't getting my license and I needed ID. The mugging story is kinda funny - I got away with only losing a small amount of cash and a credit card I wasn't using anyway, as I had two pockets in my money belt and I only handed over one. Which included not only my passport, but also the photocopy of it that I travelled with in case the passport was lost or stolen. Not a very bright place to keep it. And then I had a bit of a time explaining why I had a Scottish sounding accent and lived in Edinburgh and had no proof I was Canadian, but was in need of a new Canadian passport.
2. My baby toes have toenails that grown vertically instead of horizontally. My grandfather had webbed feet apparently (although he had had both legs amputated by the time I was around) and so this was one of the first things my mother would look for as the 4 of us were born. I escaped the webbed toes gene but inherited my paternal grandmothers feet, which frankly aren't much prettier and don't have the added advantage of helping me swim faster.
3. As a child, I thought that everyone was able to stare at things off in the distance and see two of them. And that it was a very amusing game to play when lying in bed just after waking up in the morning. Turns out, I have double vision caused by too many eye muscles in one of my eyes. That isn't uncommon. What is is that I only have the problem at a distance, whereas most people would see double up close as well. The problem gets picked up in children when they have a hard time learning to read in school, which of course never happened to me. Back then, the problem could have been fixed with a pirate-like eyepatch. By the time I found out I needed surgery that involved sticking scalpels into my eye while I was awake. Not unsurprisingly, I turned it down. And no, I don't see 4 when I'm drunk. Though when drunk or very tired I lose my ability to force myself to see single. And it is hell in close up pictures.
4. Speaking of glasses - I lied for a couple of years before admitting I needed them. I couldn't see the blackboard to save my life, but I survived by copying off of people and getting very, very good at guessing what I was seeing. I finally caved and got glasses in grade 8, when our class had a trip planned to see Les Miserables and I knew we were going to have terrible seats. By then my vision was so bad, people would comment on some person in a crowd as being really good-looking and I wouldn't even be able to have picked out said person's gender at the same distance. I don't wear my glasses for anything up close (computer, reading, etc.) or when in my own house. In other people's house, including my parents, or whenever holding a conversation, I feel uncomfortable if they aren't on.
5. The first musical I ever saw was Cats. The first movie I can clearly remember seeing in the theatres was ET.
6. Speaking of early memories, one of the earliest clear ones I have is of visiting my grandfather in the hospital. What is clearest is a memory of walking down long, white corridors with lots of doors.
7. I love shopping for knickknacks when I travel to decorate with one day, when I have my own place. This is in spite of the fact that I can't, in a million years, actually imagine owning my own place. If you've recently bought a house and my response has been along the lines of comatose, it's because I haven't the slightest clue what to say. Things like house-ownership are so out of my lifestyle they leave me tongue-tied.
8. My book-buying obsession stems from working in a bank. I was always a fairly prolific book-buyer, but until then I basically only bought as many as I could read. Excluding textbooks. Naturally, I bought those and then perversely went off and read something else - related, but not what was on the list (the worst classes for that was ones that made you buy those photocopied collections of readings. There is no sensual pleasure to be gained from reading from that kind of material. I would just go out and buy normal, every day books on the same subjects and read them instead). However, I walked past 3 or 4 charity shops on my way home from work in Edinburgh and would be so depressed by my job that I would buy books to cheer me up. They made me feel that even though I wasn't required to use more than a couple of braincells at work, I was still using my brain. However, in two years I acquired about 400 books. I will have to retire early to ever catch up in my reading and I am these days known for my insanely large libraries, regardless of how short a time I have lived somewhere.
I tag Kristie, Sofiya, Thistle, MsP, lincolnzoe, gosling, Jenny, Sam.
By the end of the season, I'm liking Xander a lot more. He seems to have become less annoying since his character was almost killed by Faith. And as for the evil duo of Faith and the Mayor - as spectacular as that last couple of episodes was, I won't miss them. I found them kind of tedious as villians. Since I know Spike comes back (and I assume Druscilla), I think the quality of the villians is about to go up. There was some fun foreshadowing with the Vampire Willow (I'd have had to have been living in a cave not to have heard the major spoiler about her) and I'm glad that the brief bit where Cordelia wasn't in as much seems to have ended. I must admit that I'm starting to find the fight scenes a bit tedious, due to the marathon watching. Though seeing this show one episode a week for seven years would have driven me batty!
But no more Angel! Okay, okay, Spike is funnier. But who is going to be all dark, sexy and brooding from now on? And that has got to have been the hottest Tai Chi ever to hit the screens. I'll be watching Angel and I don't care if it isn't supposed to be as good as Buffy. I liked him, in all his dark-tortured-ness.
Monday, July 16, 2007
What did I learn? Well, there was a whole article to tell you how to become more confident about your body for the summer season. Apparently the answer is using beauty products!
Great! Now that I've got that sorted out, I'm off to solve world peace through consumption too!
July's issue is all about losing your inhibitions. All the women are writing about accepting and appreciating your body: "If you feel self-conscious without clothes, let a smile be your sarong" writes Amy Bloom. So why is Oprah letting Adam Glassman convey the exact opposite in his column?
Adam starts out by answering the question Is it worse to dress too boringly or too young?" His fabulous answer, that encourages love of differing body types and losing inhibitions?
It's off-putting to see a short, body-flaunting dress on a woman with an older face, even if she has a good shape...This season everything on the runway was very short, even landing at midthigh. Ignore this. A long, gauzy skirt is sexier.First off, women should wear whatever they want. If we shouldn't call Buffy a slut for wearing revealing clothing (and we shouldn't), then we shouldn't tell older women that their bodies have to be hidden either.
Later in the article he tells us that his first law of summer is "nobody should go sleveless unless her arms are in good shape." Fantastic! So, if you don't look like a movie star, feel free to overheat this summer, while keeping those unsightly arms out of the public gaze. He tells us that elbows are "another body part I don't like to see flaunted unless it's smooth and well cared for." And since I browsed the website for links, I've additionally learned that my nude toenails are quite the affront to fashion.
So in the same episode that celebrates Sarah Jessica Parker's new line of clothing, which includes advertisements that use older models and comes in sizes 2-22, we have good, old Adam suggesting that these women be careful! After all, if Adam and other young, heterosexual males aren't going to be impressed with your body, maybe you should just keep it under wraps. Preferably long, gauzy wraps. Sarah Jessica Parker says that: "There are no laws about how to dress. Show your confidence and take some chances." Adam would presumably prefer to agree to disagree on that one.
O Magazine has those little pull out cards with quotes. Being one of those types who has several books full of quotes I have liked over the years written down, I'm usually a fan. This month she instructs us to:
"Place these inhibition-dissolving cards in your lingerie drawer, on a mirror, or by your bedside, as reminders to tune in, turn out, and set yourself wildly, transformingly free."But the same magazines states that Speedos on a man should be illegal and when talking about nude beaches questions "why is it that the bodies we don't want to see naked are always the ones parading around?" Mixed messages, much?
What were you thinking Oprah?
I couldn't find all the quotes online. Adam Says was on page 92 of the July issue of O and the comment about nude beaches was on page 43.
It was interesting. A comment on the reactions in schools after school shootings - blame the "freaks."
Also an interesting comment on women and children. Save the children by punishing the bad girls. I think that is a statement worth reflecting on, as it applies to society.
So, did the Religious Right have anything to do with the script for Surprise & Innocence? Have premarital sex, make your boyfriend lose his soul! All kidding aside, I've been getting more and more engrossed. I have a mad crush on Angel, in his sensitive vampire state or his evil one. I like the developing complexity of the Slayer-Watcher relationship. I think that Spike is going to be hilarious. My favourite episode recently? The one where the grown-ups start acting like teenagers. Buffy's mom and Giles were hysterical.
I'm not very fond of Xander. And I think the show sends out some weird messages about sexuality. Xander tells Corelia "Wear something trashy...er." and refers to Buffy as a slut for wanting to date again. Willow calls Cordelia a skanky hoe when she finds out that Xander is seeing her. I just think this isn't acceptable. It shouldn't be such a blase thing to drag a girl's sexuality into the mud like that. And to do it because she got the boy you wanted? Ridiculous. Faith says that slaying makes her "hungry and horny" and Cordelia's response is to say eeewww. So, basically, it's ok to have the girls obsessing about getting a boyfriend and dressing to attract the male gaze, but we all know that it's looking sexy that is the point, not feeling sexual.
Beauty and the Beasts was a hard one to watch. I don't like the way the show portrayed the partner violence issues, but I can't seem to articulate why that is.
All these end-of-the-world plots had me wondering "who are the vamps going to eat if they kill all the people?" I'm glad one character in the show, Spike, seems to recognize the inherent stupidity of killing off all the food! And the plotline about being dumped on Valentine's Day made me flash back to Grade 7. I did, indeed, dump someone on Valentine's Day. It was an extremely unserious relationship - I don't think we had even kissed or been on anything approximating a date, even for seventh graders. And I had totally not even noticed it was the "Day of Love". But I felt mighty guilty when a carnation turned up for me after the fact. Oops! God, high school was cruel.
Sunday, July 15, 2007
Saturday, July 14, 2007
When I was taught about more than and less than signs, I was taught that it is like an alligator that eats the bigger number (we even drew cute pictures turning the signs into little alligator mouths). When I see > I still have the phrase "eats the bigger number" running through my head to this day. I need it to figure out which sign it is. Just like I still sometimes need to make an L with my hands to pick out with one is left.
This is on par with my legendary confusion with glass/cup/mug and with the idea that the word couple always means two and never a small number, like a few (its use in practice does not match the so-called definition, folks!).
I criticize because I care.
Season 2 of Buffy is proving to be as good, if not better, than Season 1 (I'm only actually halfway through so far). The dialogue is fantastic! While chatting with Samarra (who may need therapy to get over my presumptuous challenging of the love of her TV-watching life), I told her that the thing is that this show does hold up to criticism far more than most. It is amazingly cool to see a young girl out patrolling in the dark by herself to keep everyone else safe. It's cool to see her kick ass.
The Halloween episode was interesting. Perhaps the most feminist of the episodes so far, in my opinion.
Buffy: Musta been wonderful. Put on some fantabulous gown and go to a ball like a princess, and have horses and servants, and yet more gowns.And the reason behind the dress choice was to impress Angel, but his response is not what Buffy expects - he likes her just the way she is:
Willow: Yeah. Still, I think I prefer being able to vote.
Angel: I don't get it, Buffy. Why'd you think I'd like you better dressed that way?In my earlier comment about Buffy and Willow and their clothes choices, it wasn't Buffy I was thinking about. Samarra said: The thing about Buffy's outfits are that they are sexy. Yes, she does kind of dress a little too sexy for school. However. You can choose to be cynical and assume it's to attract the male viewers, or you can think of it as Buffy choosing to dress as she pleases, and not letting the whole "slut" thing stop her (derogatory comments about female sexuality). She's sexy and a woman and she's not afraid to show it. I agree with a lot of that. I mean, I'd be hard pressed to be commenting about Buffy's clothes choices, considering that the only time I'm not in a low-cut, cleavage-baring shirt is when I'm teaching, basically. I do think that her clothes are chosen to attract male viewers. I think the male gaze and its implications are as applicable to Buffy's clothing choice as they are to mine. It's an important issue to analyze, but it wasn't her wardrobe I was thinking about at all. It was Willow's.
Buffy: I just wanted to be a real girl for once. The kind of fancy girl you liked when you were my age.
Angel: Oh, ho.
Angel: I hated the girls back then. Especially the noble women.
Buffy: You did.
Angel: They were just incredibly dull. Simpering morons, the lot of them. I always wished I could meet someone... exciting. Interesting.
Willow dresses exactly like a female geek "should". I should know, I was one. And in the Halloween episode, we have that requisite moment when Willow becomes "empowered" by dressing in clothes that are sexy. I don't personally think wearing sexy clothing translates as empowerment. Or as feminism. I am not judging when I say that. Women can choose to do whatever they want to do. However, every choice a woman makes isn't necessarily a feminist choice. Doesn't make it wrong to make a choice that isn't particularly feminist either. I can understand that there is a personal power that comes from being able to play the game and play it well. Learning to dress well, put on makeup well, do all these girly things - they are skills. But empowering feminist choices? To say that is to skim over an awful lot of looking at why and for whom. Those are important questions. It does nothing to examine the society that drives her to feel that she must look a certain way, that she is more valuable if she looks a certain way.
I'm not calling any the characters on the show a slut for their clothing choices or their actions. But Xander is.
Cordelia: I can't even believe you. You dragged me out of bed for a ride? What am I, mass transportation?What we should make of that, I don't know. I like Zander's character in general. But I think that his character says and does an awful lot of unfeminist things. Can we think of a show as feminist in spirit if only the female characters reflect that? I think it would be nice to see male characters acting and speaking in ways that don't devalue women as well as seeing strong female characters. A show wouldn't be a-ok on the racism front with me if, for example, all the characters of colour were strong and empowered but all the white characters were making racist comments.
Xander: That's what a lot of the guys say, but it's just locker room talk. I wouldn't pay it any mind.
The characters seem fairly nicely split. There are the smart ones (Giles, Ms. Callender, Willow) and the ones made out to be a bit on the dumb side (Buffy, Zander, Cordelia.) So, the airhead is a girl. But her dialogue has obviously been done to make fun of her ditziness on purpose - and it seems to me that its making fun of the shallowness, but not necessarily the girl. She is ultimately portrayed as caring and concerned, when the shit hits the fan. But in amongst that great dialogue (kinda makes me think of the Gilmore Girls, the quick delivery and smart lines), are some very questionable attitudes. A fair amount of it seems done with that self-awareness, as a comment on the attitude itself (lots of Cordelia's lines, for example) but not always. Like Xander's quote later in the post.
I can see that Buffy and Giles' relationship is going to change already - there are hints of it in The Dark Age, where Buffy and the others have to take over the researching and planning for Giles and guide him to the solution. Also in the suggestions that he ignored the Slayer's Rulebook in order to work with Buffy's style and play to her strengths.
It's a great show. I am going to try and plow through as many of them as possible before I have to leave. And I'm enjoying them immensely. I'm also enjoying criticizing them, sure, but what makes that fun is that the show can take it.
There was one pesky question at the back of my mind while watching the two-parter with the job fair - what exactly is it that Angel does to keep himself in black leather jackets and bags of blood?
ETA - Watching Buffy has some negative side effects. Kari bought Emily a wooden snake at the ROM, which while fetching my water in the dark, it made me jump a little. Also, it is disconcerting to look in your tylenol container and see all sorts of different coloured pills. I forgot I had merged all the tylenol types in one place when I moved!
Friday, July 13, 2007
Every summer my mother's side of the family has a family picnic in our backyard. These started back before I was born, but on my father's side of the family. My grandmother and her sisters would all rent out some sort of picnic space in a park, there would be 3-legged races and potato sack races and games. From the first summer after I was born, I've got pictures of me at these things. Then, when I was older, my mom had the idea to start one up on her side of the family and have it at our place, which is complete with swimming pool. On my father's side the picnics stopped being organized, but my mom's side ones keep on going, though this year's felt smaller than usual. Not sure if that is because I am older or if there were less people. This tradition has been joined by the Kerr's annual Christmas party in Toronto, which I haven't attended since 2000, and a birthday party for my Nana and her twin in January here.
Family parties seems to always follow the same path. At the picnic, there are hamburgers and hotdogs barbequed by my father. At some point someone came up with the wonderful idea for sundaes, with tons of fun candy toppings. There is swimming. There is someone thrown into the pool with their clothing on (this year all we got was an attempt). At winter parties, there is always lasagna - regular, vegetarian, sausage/spinach. The deserts brought by the grandmothers are always the same too, and my father always scores some Nanimo bars. There are always those plates of veg, cheese, little pickles. They are reassuring in their continuity. The only different thing every year is trying to figure out which tall person was last year a short, younger cousin and how bald the uncles are this year.
This year, Daniel and I were doing rounds of Corona. The cousins all hung out in the family room, with poor Victoria's boyfriend being mocked for being so emo (looked like that guy in AFI) and Charlotte being teased. Basically, cousin Christopher is turning into an uncle. Amusing. But he had to be taken down a peg by reminding him of his proposals of marriage to both Ali and I when he was about 6. Andrew is the only one of the cousins (I use the word cousin very generally to encompass a rather wide selection of relatives) generation to have kids - Charlotte and Drew even rock-scissor-paper-ed to see which of them would have to reproduce to carry on their branch of the family. Apparently my lack of interest in kids is not out of place in my family. Though, aside from Ali and the twins (also childfree), I am the oldest by some years. Interesting when contrasted with the aunt/uncle generation, full of four child families.
Chloe plays with a helmet at the Royal Ontario Museum. There are so many hands-on activities there these days.
Emily holding a caterpillar. There were all stages of butterfly life on display.
The girls play at being archaeologists in the Incan exhibit.
Us in front of a replica Korean temple. We also did the traditional dinosaurs, mummies, and bat cave.
Emily was most fascinated with lights reflecting on the floor at the Hockey Hall of Fame. I had been to the old one many a time during the CNE, but never before to the new building.
My dad collected these. Dad and Andrew should have seen this together. Though I won at a round of hockey trivia (My thought process: hmmmm, that name is French and a lot of French people play hockey...)
Chloe and I with the Stanley Cup. I do love hockey, I just can't interest myself in a museum about it, apparently.
Emily looking at the sundail at Casa Loma. The most impressive part of this picture is that I managed to take it while holding her up, no small feat.
Andrew, Kari and the girls in front of Casa Loma. It was indeed a castle and a garden. (Bit of an inside joke, but thanks to all those who responded to my IM message asking "What is Casa Loma exactly?" My friends are as geeky as I am, apparently.)
I've only seen one - the Collesium. I wasn't even very impressed. I mean, it's cool from the outside and all, but the inside isn't terribly exciting. This doesn't do my travelling cred much good, does it?
The Ancient Seven are the Great Pyramid at Giza, the Lighthouse at Alexandria, the statue of Zeus at Olympia, the Colossus of Rhodes, the temple of Artemis at Ephesus, the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, and the Hanging Gardens of Babylon.
Only the Great Pyramid is still standing and I haven't seen that one either.
Then there are the other lists, of the medieval and modern worlds. Typically representative of the seven medieval wonders are Stonehenge, the Colosseum, the Catacombs of Kom el Shoqafa, the Great Wall of China, the Porcelain Tower of Nanjing, Hagia Sophia, the Leaning Tower of Pisa but sometimes might include the Taj Mahal, Cairo Citadel, Ely Cathedral, and Cluny Abbey.
So, I've seen the Colosseum and Stonehenge. Here I start to sound like quite the idiot, because I wasn't overly impressed by Stonehenge either. I can't tell you if that is because you can't get anywhere near it these days or what. But I liked Callanish better.
The modern list was complied by some engineers. The CN Tower, Channel Tunnel, Empire State Building, Golden Gate Bridge, Itaipu Dam, Delta Works, Panama Canal.
Here I've been through the Channel Tunnel and up the CN Tower. The Channel Tunnel is very unexciting - just like a normal train trip, without any particularly great scenery even, with a dark bit in the middle. I quite like the CN Tower as tourist experiences go - that lovely glass floor makes me ill every time, the view is great, the gift shop always yields funny pictures, and I played my first and I think only game of Lazar Tag there with Lindsay (or maybe Daniel? or both?) years ago. We went because working in Wild Water Kingdom gave me free or reduced entrance to a ton of local attractions. Embarrassingly, I hadn't even heard of the Itaipu Dam or the Delta Works. Let's blame this on the fact that engineers are involved...
A charming man called Howard Hillman came up with some tourist travel wonders of the world. His man-made travel wonders of the world are: Great Pyramids of Giza, Great Wall of China, Taj Mahal, Machu Picchu, Bali, Angkor Wat, Forbidden City, Bagan Temples & Pagodas, Karnak Temple, Teotihuacán .
I've been to Angkor Wat. It was incredible. Cambodia was incredible. I think this is perhaps the best trip I've taken so far, and it only lasted a week. But that might be good too - I didn't have time to get tired of travelling or overloaded on sights.
His natural travel wonders of the world are: Serengeti Migration, Galápagos Islands, Grand Canyon, Iguazu Falls, Amazon Rainforest, Ngorongoro Crater, Great Barrier Reef, Victoria Falls, Bora Bora, Cappadocia.
I haven't seen any!
The Natural wonders compiled by CNN: Grand Canyon, Great Barrier Reef, Harbor of Rio de Janeiro, Mount Everest, Polar Aurora, Parícutin volcano, Victoria Falls. And the Underwater wonders: Palau, Belize Barrier Reef, Great Barrier Reef, Deep-Sea Vents, Galapagos Islands, Lake Baikal.
Not only haven't I seen any of these, some of them seem very unlikely future trips. And I can't scuba dive.
The movie - it was good. There were some cool wizard battles, I loved Dumbledore's Army, the actors did well. But, as with all Harry Potter movies, I have two main problems. First, they are never going to be anywhere near as exciting as the books because I already know the end. I know how everything works out. Second, they aren't as exciting because nothing they can put in the movie is as scary as I had imagined it when reading the books. Things like the Dementors are bound to be disappointing.
Find out your Harry Potter personality at LiquidGeneration!
Thursday, July 12, 2007
I really like Buffy. The dialogue is great, the characters funny. My favourite two episodes in the first season both had a lot to do with highschool - the mean kids turning into a pack of hyenas and the unpopular kid becoming invisible. It certainly has some interesting and spot-on things to say about the nature of highschool.
However, I am not so sure of its feminist credentials. So, on the surface, we've got this tough woman kicking ass and taking names. Which is great. Strong female character. She walks about after dark, secure in her ability to defend herself. But...
-There's the clothing. Compare Buffy to Willow. Then compare how "hot" they are meant to be.
-Older man teaches, younger woman learns. Giles provides the brains of the operation, Buffy the body. A female reduced to her body is nothing new in narrative.
-Then there is the fact that she has to sacrifice her own wants/life/goals to save others. She was born to do that. Sound anything like the construction of the idea that women were born to have babies and sacrifice themselves for their families?
-In "The Pack", Zander (who has always had a crush on Buffy) while possessed by the hyena spirits attempts to rape Buffy. Then, he pretends to have forgotten the whole incident-there's no remorse, no apologies. The response to attempted rape on his part? Embarrassment. Giles realises that Zander attacked Buffy and knows that Zander remembers it, but he too is happy to ignore the whole thing, pretend it didn't happen. Just as so often in real life sexual assaults are covered up, ignored, excused.
-In "The Puppet Show" the principal is very, very disturbing. Now, one of the funniest comments on the show so far came from him in this episode ("Kids are human beings. It's fuzzy-minded liberal thinking like that that gets you eaten.") However, when Buffy is behind stage, searching for the kid with the dummy, he finds her and warns her off. He tells her the school isn't safe for a girl on her own. He's creepy and he's basically just used rape as a threat. I mean, that's what it means when people tell women it's not safe to go somewhere, to be somewhere. That threat of rape controls women's activities. I thought the episode would lead up to him being the demon, thus he'd be punished. However, he wasn't. He's just a really creepy man who uses the threat of rape to cement his authority over his female student.
-"Prophecy Girl" I've not worked out the implications of the symbols in this one yet in my mind, but there is some interesting stuff. First, there's the white dress. She goes to meet her fate looking a bit like a bride, like a virgin. Over top, she wears the black jacket given to her by Angel, a creature of the night. Then, she seems to have taken some additional strength from the Master, a male, through his killing her. Granted, this taking strength from your enemy is a regular theme (think Harry Potter and Voldemort), but it's just interesting that the slayer (Always female? Seems to be the implication) isn't born with sufficient power of her own, and seems to need to get more through a strong male character.
I'm sure this has all been written about and analyzed by people far more qualified than myself. And I'm sure the show continues to develop and grow-I've got quite a few more series to go through. I just found it interesting that I was expecting a feminist show and I don't really see that, aside from in a sort of surface way.
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
Friday, July 06, 2007
My response? I love being an aunt and I'm ready to book an appointment to have my tubes tied.
But seriously - I don't think this mama business is for me. I reserve the right to change my mind in the future, natch, but I just don't see it. I like kids, I am good with kids, I have lots of opinions about how best to raise kids (that last one was a joke, kinda). But what I don't think I'd like for a second is to have my life involve kids of my own. I love my life. Love it! I don't want it to change in its broad outlines and kids are just so not compatible with the things in my life that I love.
And add that to my horror about even the idea of being pregnant and giving birth... I was gassed to have a cavity filled, folks. And I am hugely weirded out by the idea of the bits of my body that I presently use for fun being used for their natural purposes as pertains to childbirth/childcare. (Note, not by other people doing this, obviously. I think breastfeeding and childbirth as a general concept sound like the most wonderful, natural things in the world. But applied to me - ahhhh!)
Thursday, July 05, 2007
And I ended up downloading a podcast called Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tricks for Better Writing.
Wednesday, July 04, 2007
Every time I come back to Canada, people are wearing something en masse that makes me do a double-take and think "WTF?" And yet, we have Canadians making fun of Koreans for those funny visors.
The girls, Cassie, and I at the zoo, on top of a Diego-style jeep.
Chloe and I. Those carrier things are the bomb, but she does get heavy!
Wading in a fountain - where Aunt Amanda proves to be very responsible and adult and just jumps in too ;)
The gift shop is half the fun at the CN Tower, where you can dress up in half the store. Emily is playing a flute, Sarah has a peace pipe, and I am sporting a lovely feather headband.
The girls looking through the glass floor at the CN Tower - it makes me feel ill.
Aunt Amanda is electrifying - at the Ontario Science Centre.
Check out the names on the bottles...
Tuesday, July 03, 2007
Monday, July 02, 2007
Happy Canada Day all.
Whenever I'm back in Canada, what I like is the diversity. The diversity of people, languages, food, culture. Toronto is an amazing place to live. Canada has a fantastic diversity of landscapes to view and travel through and a fantastic mix of urban and wild. I miss it when I'm gone.
Sunday, July 01, 2007
So, I tried on all my bras and found that the hot pink lacey one works. Plus hot pink straps showing is sexier than white. However, it's one of my "this doesn't quite fit but fuck it, nothing does" purchases. The underwire fits just fine, but it's one of those half-cup bras, which just never seems to cut it for boobs my size.
Let's just say I won't be running to catch any buses today!
However, I'm escaping to the city for the next couple of days! Woo!