Sunday, December 19, 2004

do your time and pay the price for everything you've done wrong, baby

Yesterday I had quite the exam-related adventure, all because I am an idiot who is a very skilled architech of her own demise.

I had a final exam at 2 PM on Canadian government. It was worth 35% of my final mark. I skipped all but one of my twelve tutorial sessions, which was a cheery wave goodbye to the 10% tutorial attendance and participation mark, and have yet to submit my 30% term paper, which may or may not be accepted this late. (I did slaughter the midterm, which makes up the rest of the mark.) I have also been too stupid/lazy/terrified to speak to the instructor.

So one would think that, perhaps, loath to fail the course, I would have been adequately prepared to excel on the final exam. If by "adequately prepared" you mean "slept in until two hours before the exam, when I started studying, despite having had ten free days to start studying before that," then you would be absolutely correct. I also received a rather nasty surprise when I discovered that the final covered not three chapters of the textbook (I have no idea where I even got that number), but six, leaving me with about 170 pages of virgin textbook to absorb in two hours — I had, of course, skipped all but three lectures during the second half of the term.

I grabbed an assortment of pens and pencils, put my student card in my pocket, and jogged to the arena while repeating "Initiation, Priority-Setting, Policy-making, Legitimation, Implementation, Interpretation" in my head. I walked in about five minutes late, which made me feel like a rock star, if by "rock star" you mean "idiot." I couldn't find anywhere to sit, so I had to be assisted by a proctor who didn't seem to like the cut of my jib.

Finally having arrived, I sat down, took off my jacket, put my pens on the desk, and reached into my pocket to retrieve my student card. It wasn't there. It wasn't in the other pocket either, or the back pocket, or my jacket pocket, and I was absolutely sure I'd brought it with me. Fantastic. I'd be paying $25 for writing an exam without school photo ID, and another $25 to replace my student card, meaning that this exam was going to cost me $50, along with whatever remained of my academic dignity and maybe however much it would cost to take the course again.

The exam itself wasn't terrible, but it wasn't great either; there was nothing I absolutely didn't know, but a lot of things I only sort of knew. However, the bonus question almost redeemed the entire experience. We had the opportunity to reproduce and write about any of the political cartoons in the assigned textbook chapters.

Now, I was writing my exam next to someone who was writing a PHYS 107 exam. It didn't seem to be going terribly well for her. I gathered this from the violent fits of erasure that took out half-pages of work, shook both of our desks, and peppered everything in her immediate vicinity with eraser shreds. So I don't think she felt any better when she looked over to find that I was drawing a picture of the Canadian Senate which included a house band playing in front of a giant banner with a marijuana leaf reading "LEGALIZE IT!" and lots of stick-figure senators getting down with their bad selves. She was erasing difficult physics calculations gone wrong. I occasionally erased lines in the marijuana leaf so that you couldn't see them through people's heads. It took me about twenty minutes. This was actually part of my exam.

When I left, I retraced my steps to try to find my student card. No dice. I looked all over my room to see if it was there. No dice. Still feeling shell-shocked from the whole experience (it was a lot to go through in my first four-and-a-half hours awake), I ordered a pizza and ate some chocolate. Several hours later, my housemate came home. "Hey, Meghan? You missing your student card?" It had blown down the street from our apartment a little bit and she found it on her way back from volunteering. To conclude Black List style: Strokes of luck, A; suffering the consequences of my own bad decisions, D-. I never learn.

*Sloan, "Everything You've Done Wrong"

Saturday, December 18, 2004

christmas time is where we spend some money and get poor again

The gentlemen of Tomate Potate have recorded a holiday-themed song entitled "The Ballad of Johnny Boxing Day." You should download it. It sounds kind of like Death From Above 1979 on serious uppers and filled with the Christmas spirit(s). The Internet has also been kind enough to provide you with three Sufjan Stevens Christmas records to download.

A couple of days ago, I had to explain blogs and the "blogosphere" to a bunch of my friends (the bunch of my friends that don't all already have blogs), and while it was nice to have my usually irrelevant knowledge be useful to other people, I felt kind of like an animal in a zoo exhibit. Sometimes I forget that there are people who don't live their entire lives on the Internet, and they know about things like face-to-face social interaction, and exercise, and what it's like to actually experience the weather instead of just compulsively refreshing The Weather Network's local forecast.

I keep having to dig this up for people, so, once and for all, The Indie Rock Girl's Guide to Dating Classic Rock Boys:
At their best, Pink Floyd sounds like Radiohead. At their worst, they sound like that ambient stuff that I listened to for about three weeks when I went through that weird ambient music phase. Led Zeppelin songs are about one of two things: sex or hobbits. Usually not both, and never sex with hobbits. They have sex with groupies, not hobbits. If the singer has a funny voice and is singing about utter nonsense, you are probably listening to Rush and I feel very sorry for you.
About two years ago, I sent that link to my good friend Alyssa when she started dating someone who wanted her to watch The Wall with him. Now they are engaged and she is trying to explain to him why "Time" by Pink Floyd is inappropriate music for the wedding reception. Ah, love.

I am supposed to be studying for an exam tomorrow afternoon (and by "tomorrow afternoon" I mean "in less than twelve hours"), but I got sidetracked into reading all The Letters of Gary Benchley, Rock Star. Maybe if I drink a whole bunch more coffee, I too will have a prophetic vision of Wayne Coyne, telling me how I can rock. This is the kind of funny I wish I brought to the table. In my defense, when I actually get myself together enough to start and finish something, it tends to turn out okay; the problem is, that only happens about twice a year.

The other day, I was wondering if I might be a groupie, but I'm only noticing now because I'm actually really bad at being a groupie. I would say it keeps me up at night if I wasn't still sleeping for 14-20 hours at a time. (Yeah, that's right, 20.) I know it sounds great, except it never makes me feel any less tired.

All I want for Christmas is not to fail any of my classes. Also, peace on earth and bowhunting skills.

*Tomate Potate, "The Ballad of Johnny Boxing Day"

Thursday, December 16, 2004

we go down to the lake to say our last good-byes

Sunrise, December 14

*Cuff The Duke, "Blackheart"

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

people are strange when you're a stranger

Bathroom stall, Stauffer Library

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

if for some reason i'm not present, blame it on my adolescence

So last night I was like, "Oh yeah, I have a weblog. Maybe I should, like, check on that or something." So I clicked my way over to the web statistics and thought everything looked normal, until I noticed that I had gotten 100 more hits than the last time I checked, which is sort of odd, since people don't generally read this. Some kind person linked my Arcade Fire entry in a post on the Questionable Content forums. So, thank you very much, sir! As for The Arcade Fire themselves, when I saw them in September I was tempted to bring this QC strip (contains "adult language") to show Richard Parry, but then decided against it because it would have been incredibly awkward, and someone else had probably already borne the brunt of that incredibly awkward exchange before I even thought of doing so.

It was my 21st birthday on November 15th and, knowing that I love Richard Parry with great fervour and tenderness, my amazing and talented friend Vanessa made a painting for me based on a photo she took at the Clark Hall Pub show of him drumming on an amplifier:

Definitely one of the coolest gifts I have ever received.

Joel Plaskett doing one of the things he does best: looking like an ostrich. A very attractive ostrich, but an ostrich nonetheless.

I just had two dates with Joel Plaskett, by which I mean I went to both Monday and Tuesday's Joel Plaskett shows at The Grad Club. The Joel Plaskett Emergency is currently opening for The Tragically Hip across Canada and chose to play a couple of shows in Kingston during some of their time off. Mr. Plaskett, ex- of the mighty Thrush Hermit, is one of my favourite songwriters. I remember that after I bought Down At The Khyber I listened to it at least two or three times a week for a year-and-a-half. (It's still a good record, but, uh, I'm a little burned out on it now.) Monday's show was with the full Joel Plaskett Emergency band, but Tuesday was a solo show. He is such a charming man. Vanessa suggested that Joel and Buck 65 have a contest in which they try to out-charm each other, but I think the collateral damage in broken hearts would be astronomical.

The full band show, while an undeniably good time, didn't measure up to the Emergency's April visit to the same venue. However, last night was a really special experience, from the Celtic-ized "Down At The Khyber," an impromptu cover of Springsteen's "Growin' Up" with Pete Elkas, to lots of tunes from his new solo record slated to come out in February, among other things. The neatest part was when Joel covered a song his father had written. Joel had found an old cassette tape in his father's house of songs his dad had secretly written and recorded when he was younger, and Joel was really taken by one of them and decided to cover it for his new record. "My dad recorded these when he was in his mid-30s, and I'm 29 years old now, so not far off, and listening to this tape was like listening to my own voice in a few years." It was a very pretty, simple love song, which I assume was written for Joel's mother. More collateral damage in the form of broken hearts ensued.

"I know I'm being self-indulgent here playing all these new songs, and I'm sorry. But I'm missing Da Vinci's Inquest to play for you guys, so I'm allowed to be self-indulgent."

In other news, I am still absolutely terrified of ex-Hermit, current Emergency member, and well-respected Can-Rock producer Ian McGettigan. It is some combination of the pallor, the long-running intentionally terrible hair, the lack of facial expression, the denim jacket Be-Dazzled with the word "FOX" on the back, and a certain je ne sais quoi of creepy. When I was hanging up my jacket, he asked me if I was waiting for the bathroom, and I thought I was going to pee my pants in fear. I was so scared, in fact, that I could not inform him that the door he was looking at did not lead to a bathroom, which he subsequently discovered for himself.

There is a used CD sale going on in the JDUC. I am very weak:
Beastie Boys - Hello Nasty
The Cars - Just What I Needed: The Cars Anthology
The Charlatans UK - Melting Pot
Elbow - Cast of Thousands
Ben Folds - Rocking The Suburbs
Marvin Gaye - The Very Best of Marvin Gaye
Jay-Z - The Blueprint: Vol. 1
Mike O'Neill - What Happens Now?
The Super Friendz - Slide Show
Thrush Hermit - Sweet Homewrecker
In my defense, I had been looking for copies of the last three records to no avail for the last three years or so, and have spent a few months trying to find a copy of Cast of Thousands that DIDN'T cost $23 or more.

I read this article in the Toronto Star yesterday and laughed pretty hard:
The men who tended the crops at Canada's largest marijuana grown operation in the former Molson brewery are considered by many to be "local heroes," defence lawyer Randall Barrs told a court yesterday, after six more of his clients pled guilty to production of marijuana for the purpose of trafficking . . . Barrs said the marijuana his clients grew was "less harmful to society than the beer that was produced at the plant before it became a marijuana grow operation." He said a joint submission between the defence and the Crown for 3 1/2 to five years in prison for five of the men will "one day seem Draconian."
I lived in Barrie for a summer when I worked at Honda, and one day on the way to work, my dad was mentioning the high frequency of drug use among highschool students and general residents in the city. I said, "If I actually lived here, I'd be taking a lot of drugs too." (If you have ever been to Barrie, you probably understand.) 'Local heroes' indeed.

Student Health is processing several vials of my blood to try and figure out why I have been having to sleep 12 to 18 hours a day. It has not been good for my schoolwork. Still, Radical Dudez, Whiskey Steve & The Steves, and others at Clark on Thursday night for $3, unless I have come to further personify death and disease.

*The Joel Plaskett Emergency, "Come On Teacher"