Friday, December 17, 2004

The "We" Thing...

It's such a complete paradigm shift, really. "Going out this weekend? I don't know, let me check our plans." "We had a lot of fun yesterday." "Would you like to get together with us?" It's been so long since I was concerned about an us. A very long time since someone else's plans, feelings, wants, and needs were suddenly melded to my own. It's not unpleasant. It is... different. Can anything more be said? I'm so not single anymore...

Monday, December 06, 2004

The Definition of the Perfect Weekend

Being told Friday afternoon that, no, you don't have malaria, and no, you don't have to get blood taken to test for it. Hallelujah!

Spending two hours talking poetry and theory with three other people from class.

Not feeling like you bombed either your midterm or your quiz retake Saturday morning.

Being told by your professor that she thinks you belong in the graduate program. Reaffirmation!

After drinking too much alcohol and too much caffeine, having something much more pleasant to think about than just, "I wish I could sleep."

Extending Sunday night far, far, FAR past the time you should be in bed, simply because you don’t really want to kick the company out.

Falling asleep smiling Sunday night, and waking up smiling Monday morning.

Such is bliss, my friends. Such is bliss...

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Ten vacation thoughts

Things I learned on vacation:

1. As fun as people are, sometimes you just want to do your own thing.

2. The Dominicans love their music. In fact, they love it so much, they don't really believe in background music. It all has to be discotheque-loud, no matter where you are.

3. Taking a vacation from being in charge of anything (anything at all) is not as easy as it sounds, and requires a great deal of conscious thought and a good sense of humour from yourself and those around you.

4. The world is far, far too small. What other explanation could there be for me ending up as a guest at the wedding of friends of a friend with two people I went to Junior High with?

5. Disposable underwater cameras are a waste of money. Memories are better.

6. I really, really love the wind, except when I'm trying to sunbathe on the beach. Even then, I'm only minorly annoyed with it.

7. Tropical fruit is so much better in the tropics than in prairie grocery stores.

8. Rum is a good thing.

9. Packing too many books on vacation leaves one with a sense of something unfinished upon return. It's better to pack too few.

and 10. Vacations are nice. Coming home is better.

Forgive the previous and following lack of consistent posting. For the next two weeks, I'm studying my ass off for my midterm and quiz rewrite on December 4. I will pop my head back out after that and provide a more detailed update.

Monday, November 01, 2004


Sunday afternoon, Sheila and I went through my closet. I have become increasingly dissatisfied with it, and Sheila came across a lovely book called The Pocket Stylist, so with measuring tape, book, and an eye to be ruthless, we went at it.

The pile of clothes that we deemed completely unsuitable was larger than the pile of clothes that were fine and the pile of clothes that could be kept for emergency purposes put together. I knew before that I had few clothes in my closet that I was comfortable wearing. Now, I just have few clothes in my closet.

I can't decide whether I'm happy about this or not. On the one hand, my weight has stabilized, so I can actually go and buy clothes now and expect them to fit for a good long while. Huzzah! On the other, I've had to toss over half my closet. Hmmm... Part of me decries the waste, but I never really wore any of it, and I never felt comfortable when I did.

My task is now to pinpoint what pieces I need to add to the clothes I have left to make a functional wardrobe. Wish me luck!

Sunday, October 17, 2004


My body is convinced it has a virus. I keep telling it that it doesn't. I'm far too busy to be sick. And yet it persists in this fallacy. So I have no choice but to baby it a little bit, with innumerable cups of tea, and cutting anything I can possibly cut until such time as it gives up this facade and returns to its normal functioning state. I still have to be out of the house every night until Monday the 25th, but I will do my best to get it to bed at a decent hour each night, and provide it with warmth, nutrients, and fluids. And Kleenex. And lozenges. And painkillers for the sinus headache.

I managed to get the paper done. We'll see how it turns out. This week's lecture was post-modernism. It was very fun! Ah, I live in the constant hope that, someday, my mind will be activated for at least four hours every single day, rather than only once a week.

I've decided that fencing is a definite R-mode activity. So if I can perfect the shift into R-mode with drawing, will I become a better fencer? Hmmm... This calls for practical testing. Stay tuned...

Three and a half weeks until the Dominican! I am so not going to be sick for that...

Thursday, October 14, 2004


Happy birthday to me!

My first birthday living on my own. The day has been marked by busyness, craziness, some wonderful phone calls, wishes from fencers, and a nice glass of wine, which I didn't allow anyone to pay for. Overall, it's been a good day.

Happy birthday to Jen's blog as well, which turned one year old yesterday. October is a good month!

What's that? A review? Ummm... I'll try to come up with something. Maybe you all can give me suggestions of something you'd like to see reviewed. I like suggestions. I like reviews too.

Time to snooze...

Monday, October 11, 2004

Two thoughts

Thought #1: No longer buzzing with adrenaline, I am able to breathe again. As I watched the building opposite burn, I imagined how it might have been my building. And then I wondered what in my apartment it would hurt me the most to lose. My library? All the wonderful gifts I've received? Photographs? My many craft projects? Furniture? Recipes? Computer files? Some of it is replaceable; much of what I've named is not. And yet it's only material. Material is replaceable. Do we have it wrong, then, in our society? Why do we get tied to replaceable, material things? Strange.

Thought #2: Wow, it's been a while since I've done this. It's hard to write an essay, especially when I'm trying to keep the page count down. Go figure. But, call it half done. My desk is covered in books, which I'm trying to keep open any way I can. Much fun. Wish me luck. (BTW, Jen, you're right. This is a note to self. She didn't even insist on secondary sources! I mean, WTH? Second year course! No secondary sources required? Well, she's getting them from me. Semiotics!)

Saturday, October 09, 2004


The building right across from mine caught fire no more than an hour ago. Or perhaps it caught fire around four or so, as I've been catching whiffs of smoke all afternoon (my window and patio door were cracked open to relieve the stuffiness), but it really caught fire just after five. That was when I notice the scent of smoke was fairly consistent, and I heard someone outside say, "Call 911."

The fire started on the exterior second floor balcony, the end unit. The fire department hadn't arrived by the time it melted the siding and got to the tar paper. From there, well, let's just say I now know why fire departments are so concerned about response time. It was horrific. It was also horrifically fascinating.

Visible flames were quickly extinguished with foam retardant, but they've only just now begun to pack up the hoses and allow residents in other parts of the building back in. I think the fire fighters will be here for a while. I saw one resident leave with a suitcase. I don't blame him.

My mind is full right now. I'll try to post again later.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Course Correction

No review this week, I'm afraid. There's a little too much going on for me to find something new to watch, read, and/or listen to, and although I could go back through my vast experience and pick something, I'm afraid I just don't have the energy for it. Next week, hopefully! It is the long weekend after all!

Jen requested an update on how my course is progressing, and I then realised I've been derelict in posting about it. In fact, the only post I made about was that I was going back! But now, as I prepare to write my first essay, it seems appropriate to talk about how it's going.

It's great! Well, not the getting up for an 8 am Saturday morning class and sitting in awful Social Science chairs for four hours, but the rest of it is great! We aren't applying the theory to works so much as exploring what the theory means and what place it has in our society, and the way each previous theory shapes the ones that come after. Much of this ties directly into my GNST and COMS classes, and that, I think, is where my trouble is. The first essay is 5 pages, double-spaced. I don't think I can even write only five-pages anymore! Our final essay is only 10 pages. Good Lord, this is going to be so difficult... But then, I always had more to say than the page allowance gave me room for.

The U of C's definitely changed since my time, though. While we only have one person in the class using a laptop to take notes, our professor uses PowerPoint each class. There are online resources, message boards, buildings have been renovated, parking costs have gone up (although I'm sneaky and park where it's free; I don't mind walking!). It's true, I guess; you can never really go back.

Still, I'm having fun, and our professor is really smart, and actually keeps me awake for four hours, so that's a good thing. We'll see when I get my essay back how the marks are going to go, though...

Monday, September 27, 2004

Random Thought Generator, Prior to...

Only in this day and age could four people in four different cities and three different countries simultaneously do the same exercises in the same book and keep each other motivated to continue through.

It sure isn't easy, learning to live alone. Just when you think you've got it figured out, you realise that you really don't.

Why do I live in this city, honestly? Why couldn't we have had summer in, you know, summer?

Nothing beats a Sunday evening spent with a pint of berry ale and an improvised soap opera, especially when said soap opera is starting to hit its stride and understand its own internal conventions, and especially when I always get a long hug from Johnathan, the cast is happy to see me when I arrive, the cute bartender knows me by name, and the waitress knows my drink order.

I shouldn't only review things that I like. I should review things I don't, as well, shouldn't I? But there are so many things that I actually like. Should I waste my time not recommending something?

I should post more than just reviews.

I apologise for the tardiness of this week's review. I took a bunch of CDs out from the library last week, and I had to listen to them all before I could decide which one to review.

The Stealth Project is subtitled music under the radar, and that's what it is. You will not hear this music in high rotation on the radio, if you hear it on any radio at all. Why did I pick it up then? Because in the brief time I listened to CKUA, I heard Christine Lavin sing a song called New Age Sensitive Guys, and it was one of the funniest things I'd heard in a good long while. And since she was the one to put this compilation together, I decided to give it a try. Glad I did, too.

The fact that none of these songs will be played on any conventional radio station does nothing to take away from their brilliance. In fact, it's because they're not radio-friendly, mass-media darlings that they seem so fresh. The CD opens strongly with Red Grammer's Hold Me Tonight, a sweet melancholy ballad, and continues in that vein. These songs are introspective, and some of them are a little sad, yet still hopeful. No track disappointed, but if I had to pick three stand-out ones, they would be:

  • #7: Dee Carstensen, Ten Complaints. Immensely powerful, wonderful chording, and the content! I just got chills at the end of the song.
  • #9: Christine Lavin, Harrison Ford. I laughed! It's brilliant, really. I must take it to Mom and let her listen to it.
  • #12: Grit Laskin, Hi Sal, Have You Checked Your Email? Wonderful satire about our dependence on technology. It's hard to work "domain name server" into a song, but he manages very, very well.

Jackie Tice's The Marijo Tonight, Deborah Pardes' Prom Dress, and Ron Renninger's Twilight came very close to being on this list.

The library, for the sake of convenience or perhaps because they didn't know what else to do, filed this one under MA (Popular Music), but it's more folk or modern troubador than anything else. I'm glad I found it. It's well worth the time.

Friday, September 17, 2004

Fruit and Fields

I really don't know why I don't eat more fruit. It really does taste yummy. But unless I really consciously think about it (like the past month, where I've been bound and determined to have some fruit with my lunch every weekday), when I go for a snack, it's something decidedly non-fruit. Flatbreads, or crackers, or even random slices of cheese enter my mind before a small plum, or a slice of watermelon. I think I shall have to be a little more proactive in my eating habits.

This week, I'm reviewing Of the Fields, Lately, the current presentation of Theatre Calgary. Super wonderful thanks to Mom and Dad for the birthday present! It makes me so happy!

Of the Fields, Lately is the last chronologically of a series of five plays about a Newfoundland family that lives in Toronto. This play is set in the late 1960s, and details the estranged son Ben's return home for his aunt's funeral. The play is done in two acts over the course of two days, with some asides by Ben reflecting on the events from an unknown time in the future. There are four main characters that occupy the stage, and their interaction, from belligerant to reconciling, forms the meat of the play.

Although, or perhaps because, I have a good relationship with my family, the character of Ben really struck a chord with me. Here was a young man who had been out on his own for two years, coming home for a funeral and forced to confront his relationship with both his father and his mother under trying circumstances. With more information in his possession, he is able to set aside his animosity towards his father to offer to return home. And yet, he has the strength of character to retract the offer when it becomes clear that his return, despite how it is longed for by both his parents, would negatively affect their peace of mind. Chills ran through me when Ben, after his father asked him why he was coming home, said, "I want to." Perhaps that was because, prior to the play, Mom and I had just been discussing how much I didn't want to come back home, and how much she didn't want me to either.

Death is a prevalent theme in the play, and it is juxtaposed with images of life and beauty, giving the play a haunting power. Uncle Wiff's description of Dot prior to their marriage is brigh, and the subtle use of projected images on the black backdrop really added a level to the story. And while we are taken in by his description of her vivaciousness, we are continually reminded that she is dead, and that the love with which Wiff speaks of her had cooled. Death and destruction hangs over the entire play, visually represented by the black backdrop, which was only superficially marred by various projected images.

R.H. Thomson directed Theatre Calgary's production (and if I'd known he was going to be sitting behind us the entire time, I would have brought my Cyrano de Bergerac program for him to sign), and I believe he did a fine job. The actors were believable (though Cheryl did point out that Mary looked a heck of a lot older than 50), and they interacted with conviction. There were some points when the Newfoundland accents were difficult to understand, but for the most part, I was able to follow the dialog.

I enjoyed this production quite a bit, and if you're one who also likes a bit of well-prepared meat to your entertainment (and are in the Calgary area), you might want to consider buying tickets and going to see this one. It will be playing until October 3.

Friday, September 10, 2004

Vanessa's Hopefully Weekly, Very Opinionated Media Reviews

As I am going back to school and fencing within the next week, I decided that I needed a new feature in my blog, to give me incentive to post things. Thus, I have decided to review things. We start with a movie. Who knows what'll come next. I've also put together a quick website to host previous reviews in one spot. You'll see the new link to the left.

If you have not seen Bubba Ho-Tep, then I recommend most strongly that you do. You might not think it's your cup of tea. After all, the premise of the film is a little out there. An aging Elvis Presley, played by Bruce Campbell, battles an ancient Egyptian, soul-sucking mummy, aided and abetted by JFK, played by Ossie Davis. I can't begin to count the number of things wrong with that sentence. And yet, it is by far one of the best movies I've seen this year. Because it's not a horror film, and it's not a comedy, and it certainly isn't a drama. It simply defies definition. Despite the surreal subject matter, there is a sweetness and sadness that transcends and even legitimizes the story. I reached a point where I believed every detail in context, which is a rare thing for a movie with so many unbelievable details.

For a low-budget independant film, the cinematography is excellent. Some of the night scenes began to blur, especially when the action ramped up, but perhaps that was deliberate. Bruce Campbell was wonderful as Elvis, and Ossie Davis pulled off JFK with far more success than you might think at first glance. Their supporting cast was also excellent.

I can say little more without giving away too much. I must simply repeat my earlier recommendation that you all see this movie soon.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

A thought...

I was scribbling something the other day when I described the POV character as being touchstarved. Funny the way the mind works. The word resonated with me a little, and the more I thought about it, the more I came to realise that I am too. Living alone doesn't allow too much opportunity for substantial human contact, let alone physical contact, and yet touch is so important for maintaining balance. Oh, you learn different coping strategies, and you take touch where you can, but you still feel the lack of it. I do, anyway. Not that I'm asking for sympathy; far from it. Privacy, independence, and maturity are worth a sacrifice or two, and I'm more than willing to make them and continue to make them. Naming the sacrifices makes it easier. Besides, I think it's fascinating how my mind used a character that bears only a passing resemblance to myself to bring the issue to the forefront. There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy...

Class starts September 11. What an auspicious date to launch my run towards graduate school! Lucky I'm not superstitious... Updates to follow.

Monday, August 23, 2004

'Tis the end...

The last Olympic fencing event was yesterday, and to the best of my knowledge, the CBC has shown a total of 4.5 minutes of fencing, and one interview with Sherraine MacKay, on the Tuesday when she fenced Individual Epee. Little to no mention was made of the WE team's absolutely STELLAR performance, coming this close to a bronze medal, even with a legal little trick by the French team. I spent about half an hour Friday morning constantly hitting Refresh in my browser, which was tuned to the bout results page for the Bronze medal match. I was so twitchy, and not just from whatever was happening with the weather, that I couldn't really concentrate on anything else until the match was over. Alas, we lost the medal, but succeeded in placing higher than we ever have in any Olympic fencing match (team or individual, to the best of my knowledge). Wish I could have seen it.

And now, back to my regularly scheduled life.

Friday, August 13, 2004

Ness' Olympic Fencing Whine


But I can't find it on the broadcast schedule any more. Did the CBC drop WE (individual), which was the only one they were going to show? And I haven't been able to find any webcasts so far.

WAAAAAAAAHHHHHH! *sniff* I know it's not a popular sport, but HOW UNFAIR IS THAT????

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Errol, Classic Films, and Sabatini

It's sad, really. Here I am, lusting after someone who's been dead since '59, though if he were still alive, he would be my grandparents' age. I refrained from too much gushing in my movie review of Captain Blood, but yowza, where has he been all my life? :) Errol Flynn is attractive in a square-jawed, boyish, devil-may-care-but-if-he-does-here's-what-I-think-of-that way. And it sure looks like he knows what he's doing with a sword. I await the tounge-in-cheek comments I know some of you will want to make on that one. Refer to Edmond Rostand if you need some inspiration...

I indulged myself this weekend and watched a total of eight movies in four days (none on Sunday, though). Four of same were classics, the newest having been filmed in 1952, and three of those I'd never seen before. I had to drive all the way down to Marda Loop to rent them, but it was worth it. All four were wonderful. But most video stores seem to be weeding out their classics. Even if they're available on DVD, it's rare to find them. And yet they carry P.O.S. movies from the Eighties without question. Are my tastes too high-brow? Do most people think that good movies have to be in colour, or they aren't good at all? It's sad, so very sad.

Anyway, watching Captain Blood and Scaramouche made me want to read some Sabatini, but do you think the library carries very much? No. Grrr... But then I got to thinking, if I do an undergraduate thesis as one of my 500 level courses, wouldn't it be fun to do something with fencing literature? Maybe the University library has Sabatini!

The movies I watched this weekend:

  • Friday
    • Kiss of Death - Eh. David Caruso, Samuel L. Jackson, and Nicholas Cage. All of them over-the-top. If you don't think too much, it's a decent mystery.
    • Swing Kids - I want to take swing dance lessons. Very good.
  • Saturday
    • The Thin Man - Nick and Nora Charles solve a mystery, but are between half and completely tanked the entire time. I was shaking my head and laughing. Wonderful interaction.
    • Laura - Seen this one before, and it's still as good. I love noir.
    • Red Dawn - Missed the first ten minutes of this one, as it was on TV, but caught the rest. 1980s American paranoia. Fascinating from that perspective.
  • Sunday - none
  • Monday
    • Captain Blood - See above link to review. The movie was awesome!
    • Scaramouche - Review here. Very enjoyable.
    • The Man Who Wasn't There - The Coen brothers do noir. 'Nuff said.

Monday, July 26, 2004

Battle Scars

Needles. I hate 'em. I hate going to the doctor, 'cause half the time they want you to get blood taken. I mean, I know it's nothing. Just a little prick, some minor nerve sensations, not too much pain (certainly no more than I inflict on myself on occasion), so what's the big deal? "What's the big deal?" says the five-year-old in my subconscious that got stuck over and over for half an hour. "I'll show you what the big deal is! Hah-hah!"

So I felt a little ridiculous when I had an anxiety attack during my physical. In the end, I suppose it worked out for the best. At least my doctor knows I'm not kidding when I say I don't like the needles. The people at the clinic, though... They really must think I'm joking. I have no other explanation. Didn't I tell them I needed their best person? Small veins, nervous patient...

In the end, it took three technicians and two tries for them to vamp the blood they needed from me. I managed to hold still while they were searching for the vein in my arm, but boy did it take a lot of self control. Yeurgh.

I will say this, though: Needle bruises are more colourful and swollen than fencing bruises. As battle scars go, they're much more visible. But I'll take fifty fencing bruises over a single needle bruise any day of the week. I like my metal a quarter inch thick and capped with a rubber tip or electric push-button, thanks very much.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Choose your weapon...

I have found a new weapon with which to combat my somewhat more frequent bouts of bad humour, and it is yellow. Bright, glorious, Hufflepuff, fuzzy, happy yellow. I am making a scarf out of it. If I'm feeling a little out of sorts, all I have to do is pick up the needles and knit two or three rows of sunshiny happiness, and I feel much better.

In other news, it looks like grad school is a little further off than anticipated. As I suspected, I'm low on higher level English courses, and in order to be a credible candidate, I need to take five full courses, one in literary theory, two at the 400 level, and two at the 500 level, to prove to the committee that I'm serious. At the end of it, I'll be able to say to them, "Look, I've essentially done what's required of an English major, and here are all my lovely marks and references." It's getting to the end. I'll get started, whittle away at it, but the earliest I can apply is for admittance in January 2006, and that's if all the scheduling works out.

But, on the other hand, it gives me more time to save, pay down the mortgage, and quite possibly take a vacation or two!

Monday, July 12, 2004

Wolves eat up competition

As most of you know, I entered a piece in the Western Showcase Creative Arts and Crafts Fair again this year. The piece in question was a gift, and so is no longer in my possession, but I borrowed it back for Stampede. I have only one thing to say: I get to keep the ribbons!

Mates took first in class (framed mounted cross stitch of animals), and first in section (all cross stitch). I am VERY HAPPY! Of course, now I sort of want to finish something for next year. With all my spare time? Not likely. Hobbies are for fun, for the journey, not the final product, although the final product is nice to have. Any pressure to complete something for next year is entirely self-inflicted.

Anyhow, yay for me!

Wednesday, July 07, 2004


Living alone and doing all my own grocery shopping means that I have more motive, means and opportunity to give in to cravings. Motive: Now I can! Means: Hey, it's all my own money, I can spend it how I like. And opportunity: It's me pushing the shopping cart, and everything that's in it is for me too!

This week, it was All-sorts. Went to the bulk foods and scooped out a little bag of them. I know I shouldn't, empty calories and all that, but damn, even though they're a little stale, they're so good. But I do have some self control. Last week, I finally gave in to my craving for KD. Bought a box, cooked it, ate it, and thought to myself, "There we go. Now I don't crave it any more. And I probably won't for several weeks, if not months. Urgh..." Note to self: I can no longer eat a whole box by myself. Save some for leftovers.

I get cravings for the strangest things. You will rarely hear me talk about dying for chocolate or ice cream. I crave some things that are bad for me (the two above, and Pringles are the ones that crop up most often), but I also crave tomatos, cherry tomatos especially. Or shrimp. I'll go nuts for them on occasion as well. Orange juice comes up every once in a while. And sometimes I absolutely, positively must have cashews.

It's not just food. I'll also crave a dose of Hugh Jackman, but since I purchased the X-Men set, I can satisfy that one anytime I want. I'll be desperate for Pride and Prejudice too, which is also no longer a problem (I have the best sister). Unfortunately, there's a burning desire for due South building inside me, but I shall resist, or maybe rent a disc, if I can find a video store that does so.

I won't even talk about music. And let's just forget about books.

What is it in the human psyche that makes us want some things to the exclusion of others? Why must we have things, and why do these wants stick with us, almost take us over in some cases? Strange, strange. I guess we all have, in some way, addictive personalities. It's what we choose to get addicted to, and how often we allow ourselves to indulge, that defines us.

Sunday, July 04, 2004

Having had a week to process the event, it now seems hilarious.

Monday was a very... bad day for me. I don't believe I returned to consciousness before 5 pm, and really don't remember going to work. However, I do remember going to vote, if only because the drive from work succeeded in bringing me a couple of centimetres closer to actual thought. Having not received (and still haven't, mind you) my voter information card, despite four weeks of trying, I had my driver's license out and ready, and proceeded to my polling station. I handed the card to one of the guys there, and he looked up at me. "I know you," he said immediately. "You're the Fencing Queen."

GAH! Not being very awake, I replied, "I am. How do you know that?"

"Oh," he said, handing my license to his compatriot to check against their list, and getting my ballot ready, "sometimes we play soccer after you guys."

So, I am the Fencing Queen. I'm sure Catherine Dunette and Nora O'Malley would have something to say about that, but I guess on campus, I'm the closest thing. This makes me smile. It makes me feel like I'm justified in my choice of blog title.

I must keep reminding myself that over 99% of the population of this city has no idea who I am, and doesn't care. This is very difficult when I keep running into strangers who know me by sight...

Saturday, June 26, 2004

Pros and cons of living in a construction zone:

Pro: You never know when they're finished. Last night, I turned off all the lights preparatory to going to bed, and stumbled in the sudden darkness. This was strange; usually I can see by the light of the @&*#$ lamppost they installed outside my living room. Well, they've blackened the pane of glass that faces the building, which means no more artifical daylight at midnight! Hallelujah!

Con: They're never finished. I woke up at 0600 this morning (sleeping in! Hooray!), and relaxed comfortably in bed for a while. Then the bulldozer started landscaping practically outside my open window. It was 0630. I thought bylaws had them waiting until at least 0700. Grrr...

Friday, June 25, 2004

I have been advised that I need a Nekobus. For those who don't know what that is, I suggest you do a Google search. To summarize, and keep in mind my information is incomplete, it is an entity that, by nature, makes life less boring. What do you expect when you cross a cat with a bus? (Don't ask...)

Am I bored? Certainly not this week. I leave the house at 7 every day, and possibly come home to eat, though I eventually do get there to sleep. But that's me trying to be an informed voter, and fencing, and going to a movie. Next week may not be so bad. If you look at how much I'm home, maybe I'm not bored.

No, I take that back. There has to be a reason I bought almost 40 books over the last two weeks, despite the fact that I have little time to read them. I'm busy, even at work (shocking!), but apart from fencing, my mind is mostly inactive. 'Tis sad, but there it is.

The little dig from Jen (yes, I know it was! But I don't mind...) was to get off my ass and get looking into grad school. Since I have narrowed my focus down quite significantly over the past few weeks, and since my in-country vacation is coming up, I will be making the appointment shortly. A few upgrade courses, an application, and I may be well on my way to being an even busier person studying for a master's part-time.

But, in the interests of... well, interest, perhaps I should find myself a Nekobus. I have plants on my balcony, but the only source of excitement from them is that I've been overwatering them in my exuberance to keep them alive. Oops. Perhaps a fish of some description... But then, I'd need a place for a fish tank, and I don't know how much they'd like waking up to a 25 degree apartment every morning. Lord knows I don't like it... Perhaps a two-legged Nekobus? Would anyone like to volunteer to keep me from being bored? Does anyone know if Michael Bublé is available? He can keep me from being bored anytime. In fact, this week he has been, at work. I sometimes feel a little silly jiving in my chair as I fold paper, but anything to keep me going in the afternoons, eh?

Thursday, June 10, 2004

I've had part of a song in my head almost all day. What is it about certain songs that they just infiltrate your conscious mind and take up residence, like that unwelcome guest who kicks off their muddy shoes on your newly washed floor, and sits down in your favourite chair?

Dum-de-dum-de-dum (I don't remember the first line, all I have is the tune),
Jacques Cartier reached Canada's shores.
He saw a land of rivers and snow,
He wondered which way those rivers did floooooooow...

So he explored in a

Ca-noe, ca-noe, can you ca-noe?
Ca-noe, ca-noe, can you ca-noe?

I can think of several improbable reasons why this song, which I have not heard in well over a decade, decided to move in today.

  • I'm regressing back to a simpler time, when I had fewer responsibilities and had other people to take care of and worry about me.
  • I have water on the brain. Do you think they rent out canoes in the Caribbean? I know there are free paddleboats at the resort...
  • I have a sudden subconscious urge to find out more about Jacques Cartier.
  • No, wait, it's not Cartier I subconsciously want to find out more about, it's Paulo! What's he doing now, anyway?
  • I'm meant to be an explorer, and sitting behind a computer all day is a waste of my God-given talents.
  • I wanted to share something with my sister. By writing out the lyrics, she now has the song stuck in her head as well. Misery loves company!

Hey, I said they were improbable. Ca-noe, ca-noe, can you ca-noe...

Monday, June 07, 2004

Urgh... It really has been over two weeks, hasn't it? I have no excuses, beyond the fact that the time of day that I usually post was stolen from me by an Internet use watchdog program. I'm not blaming the company; I just need to get in the habit of posting at night.

My life has not been uneventful. The trouble is, I've been a little busy, and when I do have time to sit, I'm just not turning on my computer. But enough...

I bask in the glory that is J.K. Rowling. I loved the new Harry Potter movie. I was terrified they would mess it up, as it's my favourite book, but they didn't. I would have liked to see the plot move a little slower, but in terms of casting and cinematography, it was superb. Hooray! Now, when's the sixth book coming out? :)

And I have booked a vacation in November. Sun, sand, and surf. But how will I take my every whim being catered to (within the limits of the all-inclusive resort)? Ah, but I think I can bear such torture. In the meantime, I must go buy a swimsuit. Oh, horrors.

I have felt a little off of late, where very little seems interesting or beautiful. This is yet another reason for the lack of post. But I seem to be coming out of it a little, so hopefully posts will pick up as well.


Thursday, May 20, 2004

I came home from fencing last night, opened my door, and had a brief sickening thought that I had left a light on. My parents raised me well; even though my electricity is covered in my condo fees, I'm still not one to waste power. But when I manhandled my fencing bag inside and glanced quickly at my light fixtures, I realised that I hadn't left one burning.

I now have a lamp post right outside my window. When it's dark and my blinds are open, which was the state of my place when I came home last night, it burns brightly enough that I could read by it. My first instinct was to be annoyed. Some warning might have been nice before they installed the thing. My second was to wonder if I would be able to sleep, as used as I am to relative darkness at night. Even the light coming in from the hallway under my front door, much removed from my bedroom, was startling the first several months. But this? My third was to wonder if this would make it easier or more difficult for people to see in to my apartment.

I slept well, but that might have been from exhaustion. What with the rain and the crazy Flames fans, driving home from fencing last night was a bit of an adventure for my already tired senses.

Thursday, May 13, 2004

I have been recognised. This is a strange and slightly unpleasant experience for me. Yesterday at fencing, the girl at the equipment room told me that one of her friends recognised me from junior high. She told me his name, but I couldn't place him. I asked if she was sure that he was sure he knew me. "Oh yes," she said. "Vanessa. You went to Queen Elizabeth for junior high. I didn't have to look your name up on the fencing keys list before he knew it."

So, yes, apparently, he does recognise me from junior high. But despite writing down his name and taking a bitter-sweet journey through my yearbooks last night after I came home, I still don't recognise him, have no idea who he is, or have any inkling of how our paths might have crossed. He was a year below me, I really don't believe he caught the same bus as I did, he wasn't in band, nor did he appear to be on students' council.

What disturbs me most is that he told his friend that I was one of the "cool people," so far above him that he wouldn't even dare speak to me. I have never been one of the cool people. Never, in my entire life. This revelation is shocking.

I have hazy recollections of junior high. What did I do that would cause someone to get that kind of impression of me? More importantly, what was it that that impression remains to this day, that he remembers my first name after thirteen or fourteen years, when I couldn't pick him out of a lineup if he had a stamp on his forehead saying, "I went to Q.E.?" I have never considered myself memorable. Plain-featured, not terribly outspoken, introverted, unsociable until more recent history. I don't understand. I really don't.

I have been told that I can be intimidating. I thought it was a recent occurrence, but perhaps it is not. I wish I remembered more from back then. Maybe it would help me put this experience into perspective.

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Oooooohhhhh... But it feels so gooooooood... I overdid it yesterday (boy, did I overdo it), but it feels strangely satisfying this morning.

I've been told in no uncertain terms that I need to stop living in everyone else's future, and start living in my own present. I believe I've discovered a surefire way of doing so. Nothing ties you to the present like sore and tired muscles.

That said, it's very hard to live in the present when there's three centimetres of snow on the ground, and it's the middle of May. I do love Calgary, but this is a little much.

I received mail yesterday. Northland Pontiac wants me to take my car in for service. What fun!

If anyone has any suggestions on how I can practice living in my own present, please feel free to try out this fun new comment feature Blogger has introduced.

Monday, May 10, 2004

I won't be home before quite late today, but I'm itching to check my mailbox. Why? Friday marked one week of being mailless. I tend not to count Thursdays, as that's junkmail day, and I can always anticipate something. But apart from that, I've spent a week trepidatiously inserting my key into the lock, only to be swallowed up by the vast emptiness inside my mailbox.

This is not a plea for lettermail. I know you have to send to receive, and I haven't had a lot of time to send lately, though it has been on my mind. But if flabbergasts me that I haven't even received a bill, or a Dear Occupant letter, or just something, for a week! But no. 'Tis not to be.

In preparing this entry, I've also randomly thought that I have spent a great deal of time maleless as well, so what's my problem with a week of maillessness? I love the English language...

I am going to the gym after work. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

I believe, with 95% certainty, that I have chipped a tooth. I am only 95% certain because the potential chip is on the far outside of a molar. How on earth I could get a chip there without knowing about it, I have no idea. But this development annoys me for several reasons:

  • This is the second out-of-nowhere tooth chip in less than twelve months. What's going on?
  • It's in such an awkward place that I can look forward to an even more painful jaw following repair, if the muscles on that side will loosen enough for me to get the procedure done.
  • My dental benefits don't start for another two months. And while the fiscally responsible part of me says that, with a little TLC, I can probably make it, there's another part that's steadily getting louder, saying, "GET IT FIXED NOW! JUST PAY!"

    In other news, the Flames move on to the Western Conference Final, and the sky has a lovely palette of clouds this morning. The former makes me grin, and the latter makes me happy. I feel as if the universe is aligning again.

  • Monday, May 03, 2004

    Red Deer Fencing Club End of Season Tournament - Saturday 1 May 2004 - Epee

    I took the week off from fencing, but a series of emails between myself and Norman Wiebe ended up with Nathan, Andrew, and I going up to Red Deer Saturday morning for RDFC's end of season tourney and pizza party. As we had to be there for 0800, I got up at 0445. I can do it if I have enough motive, but boy was I tired by the end of the day! Anyhow, apparently many of their fencers were a little worried about "the competitive fencers from Calgary coming up to fence against those poor recreational fencers," but they needn't have worried. There were three pools of five mixed epee fencers a piece. I ended up in a pool with Shane Carritt and James Birchall, two of their coaches, plus two of their rec fencers. I won against the latter (5-3, 5-1), and lost to the coaches (5-4, 5-3), which gave me positive indicators for, I swear, the second time in my life. But the two losses put me in the middle of the tally. I won my first DE (can't remember the score), and then came up against Andrew for the second. Despite the fact that he hasn't fenced much this term, he's still faster than I am, and his instincts are better. I lost 15-11 (I believe). At the end of the day, I came out seventh of fifteen, Nathan placed fifth, and Andrew went on to win the gold!

    Pizza and chatting with RDFC's fencers was very fun, and then the three of us went over to Norm's place for more talking. We didn't leave Red Deer before five. All in all, a very pleasant day of fencing!

    Thursday, April 29, 2004

    Finally! Four days after Provincials, and my body finally works again this morning! Walking is no longer a chore! The pain has subsided to normal levels! I still feel a little dehydrated, but I've been that way for a couple of weeks. So, physically, I'm back to normal. Hallelujah!

    Of course, now I want to start going to the gym (finally!), so watch for half-serious moanings and complainings about the frailty of my body. Despite being an active fencer for six years, despite losing 60 pounds, I'm still woefully out of shape. No cardiovascular strength to speak of. My left leg is more flexible than my right. And I'm sure some of the pain is due to unbalanced muscle development brought on by fencing. So, time to do something about it.

    Monday, April 26, 2004

    Alberta Provincial Championships Report - Women's Foil, Team Women's Epee - Sunday 25 April 2004

    The day dawned early, very, VERY early, as registration for WF closed at 0800. I am not a morning person. Anyway, Nathan and I got down there, and I changed as was able to warm up a little before the competition started. There were 15 women registered, which equates to three pools of five. I lost all my bouts (5-0, 5-1, 5-3, 5-4), and came out last. I then had to fence Heather Willette from AAA, who came out second from the pools. Needless to say, it was a massacre: 15-2. But those two were pretty good, and I'm not displeased with any of my pool bouts, except the 5-0. I should have had a couple there. Following WF, I began to think about lunch, and then Nathan suddenly got a team together for Team Sabre, so we had to rush back to his house to get his gear. I grabbed lunch on the way. Upon our return to the Soccer Centre, I got myself together again for Team Women's Epee. Mary McNabb from Edmonton Fencing Club, Karren Liver from Red Deer Fencing Club, and myself were one of four WE teams, and the only one that was not from one club. They called us the "Mixed" team, but we much preferred "The Old Gals." Our first round was against the Gladiators B team, which we took 45-32 (at least, I belive their score was somewhere around there). We then had to fence the Gladiators A team, who had just sucessfully trounced AAA's team. We lost by a score of 45-22. As a result, our team came out second. It was much fun! I'm definitely doing team events again.

    As an update to Saturday's results, I came out 10 of 12 in WE.

    I am now very tired, will have to stretch all day, and am very much looking forward to my massage tonight. My back is killing me. I'm soooooooo out of shape!

    Saturday, April 24, 2004

    Alberta Provincial Championships Report - Women's Epee - Saturday 24 April 2004

    There were twelve women registered for the open event today, a rather small number considering the scope of the tournament. Our pool of six ran on one piste, which drew it out some. I won two (5-1, 5-0) and lost three (5-3, 5-1, 5-0), which placed me seventh out of the pools with an indicator of -2. I drew Sarah Morrison, who (surprisingly) placed 10th out of the pools, and after a very long wait, we were on. The bout made it through one and a bit periods, and I lost 15-11. To be honest, I feel okay about how I fenced. I pushed her, made her work for it, and I know that next year, I will be able to beat her. I believe that my final placing is 9th, but I didn't want to wait around any longer to pick up my passport, so it is waiting for me there tomorrow. I will confirm when I have it in my hands. Foil and team epee tomorrow; I'm looking forward to the latter, and will deal with the former as it happens.

    And let us all welcome my new friend, Magic the Lucky Fencing Dragon, who told Sheila that she should take him along for my last tournament of the season! It's not everyone that gets a Lucky Fencing Dragon, you know... I'm very special!

    Tonight was the Provincials Banquet, which was good except for the fact that I couldn't hear what anyone was saying when the speeches started. Next year, we will hopefully be in a dedicated room, or if we are not, I will pick a chair that isn't next to a fountain. I will also not overdo it on the food. Bad, bad, BAD Ness! On that note, I will drink three glasses of water, turn in, and let it work through my system, so I can be ready for tomorrow.

    Friday, April 23, 2004

    There was an editorial printed in the Calgary Herald over the weekend that’s still with me. They’ve been printing letters in response to it, and I’ve been following it closely. Both the editorial and some of the letters make me uncomfortable. I know why the editorial makes me uncomfortable, but I’m not quite sure about the letters. Before this gets very vague and confusing, you can read the original article here, or when that link doesn’t work, here. You can read the rebuttal letters here.

    Am I a feminist? I’ve never defined myself as such, but the way I live my life might make it seem that way. I live alone, take care of myself, earn my own living, and participate in a very male-dominated sport. I prefer to be treated as my personality dictates, not my gender (as indicated in my post last week). And I have a lot of problems with people telling me I can or can’t do something on a basis beyond ability. I am perfectly willing to admit my deficiencies of skill, but I refuse to be stereotyped by my gender. But is this why this article makes me uncomfortable? And it makes me uncomfortable, not livid…

    I believe my discomfort might come down to procreation. One of Hannaford’s arguments is that women are supposed to be givers of life, not takers, nor in a position to have it taken away from them. But, despite advances in medical technology, we still need both sexes to keep the species going. Granted, there are no artificial wombs yet, but neither is there artificial sperm, and cloning is still in its infancy. In the letters of rebuttal, much is made of the parent/child relationship, and of the husband/wife relationship, both of which have a great deal to do with procreation (especially in the case of the former).

    In my twenty-six and a half years on this planet, I can count the number of times I’ve felt the urge for a child of my own on one hand, and all of those were before I hit puberty. In all the time where having a child has been possible for me, I’ve never felt it was something I wanted. Despite my gender, I somehow doubt that I will ever be the giver of life in Hannaford’s argument (sorry, Sheila, that leaves it up to you to provide the grandchildren). If Hannaford would continue to argue against my right to face death in defense of a principle I believe in (whatever that might be), then he objects to my going to war based on my potential to have a child. Now we’re starting to get into The Handmaid’s Tale territory, and that is something best avoided.

    Would it not make more sense for me to go to war in place of a young man, newly married, with a child on the way? He has shown the ability and desire to procreate, to give life. Why should he go off to face death while I stay home, simply because I am female?

    I do not dispute the fact that women are physically weaker than men. That’s simple biology, and I have no qualms admitting it. If women cannot cut it physically, they should not be on the front lines. But if they can… If they can, why should they not? I do not pretend to be in excellent physical condition, but I have no doubt that in the First and Second World Wars, men who were in as good or worse shape than I were drafted and sent overseas. Such is the nature of war; you make do with what you have. And it wouldn’t take long for me and other women like me to be trained up alongside men to the same physical condition.

    These are moot points, of course. I believe, or I hope, that the world has learned enough that the new wars will be like the ones in Afghanistan and Iraq, fought by soldiers and reservists, not draftees. Indeed, it will be a moot point for me until I get off my rear end and join the CAF Reserves, as I have been thinking about for over a decade. But in the meantime, I’m still going to be thinking about this article, and how it made me feel.

    Wednesday, April 21, 2004

    In honour of the Flames proceeding to the next round of playoff hockey, I thought I would relate how I knew that they had won Game 7.

    Monday night, I spent most of the night reading, then watched a show from 10 to 11. As I was reading, I heard this cheering from some other apartment, likely the one across the hall. It made me smile, because I knew then that the Flames had scored a goal. After watching my show, I thought I would flip over to the CBC to see what the score was. 2-1 with five minutes left in the third. "Oh," I thought to myself, "I'll just watch the rest of the period. The Flames are leading." And indeed, it almost happened that they won. But with five seconds left in the third, five on four, the Canucks scored the tieing goal. It was 1130, and I was beat. Remembering that, on Saturday, the game went through two complete overtimes before the winning goal, I turned off the television, telling myself I could read about it the next morning in the paper. I tidied up, got ready for bed, and shut off the light. I settled into my pillows, slowly relaxing towards sleep, but suddenly this raucous cheering interrupted me! It came from everywhere, it seemed; not just the apartment across the hall, but echoes from upstairs, and outside. I fought, but it was futile. I got up and went out to the living room to watch the replay. Oh, what a sweet goal! Satisfied, I went back to bed, and fell asleep to the sounds of the celebrations outside.

    And that is how I knew that the Flames had won Game 7. Even this occasional hockey fan is excited by the prospect of the next series.

    Friday, April 16, 2004

    I keep expecting my blog to update itself. I know this is silly, because it's my blog, and will only be updated when I write something in it, but I fight the urge to click on the link from Jen's blog to mine to see if there's anything new. I check Jen's blog almost daily, so you can imagine how odd it is for me not to have learned by now. And yet for some reason, I expect something new and witty to have appeared with absolutely no effort on my part! Silly Ness…

    It's not that there isn't anything going on in my life. But does it make for a good post? Today, for example: it's barely noon, and I could comment on the fact that, after over three months of working at Hitec, I finally decided to take advantage of the "Casual Fridays" and wear jeans with a nice shirt. Of course, I would pick the Friday where the people who usually do take advantage of "Casual Friday," didn't. Not that I care, but what a coincidence. Or I could mention that yesterday night, I fenced an epeeist from Holland (I hear rumours he was/is on their national team). It was a wonderful bout; I despair at ever being that fast. However, I don't believe he was going all out against me, as I kept getting single hits. I'm torn between being honoured by his gentlemanly behaviour, or being annoyed because I want to learn something. It's not because I actually have the skills to take on an Olympic fencer. I'm absolutely not that good! But what does one say in that situation? "Listen, I know you must be holding back, I've watched you massacre all the guys you fenced tonight. Can you please just trounce me? I learn better that way. But thanks for being so kind and generous; even I like being treated like a woman sometimes." On two hours acquaintance? Not likely…

    These kind of random thoughts cross my mind, and when I get to work in the morning, and am quickly checking my email and Jen's and Steve's blogs, I consider checking mine to see if they have sprung fully written into existence simply by me thinking to myself, "I should post that in my blog." Of course, I doubt I'll be alive the day they invent a cybernetic implant that would make that possible.

    My current obsession is the Thirty Years' War, brought on by the library finally cycling through all the holds on Ring of Fire to get to me, and me reading it and not remembering half of what happened in 1632 and 1633. The series is such a lovely blend of the fantastic, the historical, and the "what ifs?" of alternate history. Not only that, but there is a great deal of military and political strategy that comes out of the works. So now I'm itching to learn more about all these historical figures, most especially Gustav Adolf of Sweden, Cardinal Richlieu of France, and the Danes of the period, who have only been mentioned briefly as a significant naval power, but will undoubtedly crop up again as the series progresses. My imagination is fired. I can't stop thinking about it. The story and the history have enthralled me, in much the same way as the Hornblower series has. I need more information. Time to head to the library, I guess. It's funny; I was never much of a history buff. I guess you reach a certain point in your life where you just need to know where you've come from.

    Oh, and if anyone knows anything about Blogger, maybe they can tell me about the archiving. If I delete a post from the main page here, will it remain in the archives? I just don't know, and I can't find the answer... I don't want to permanently delete any of my posts. Email me!

    Thursday, April 15, 2004

    There’s a certain degree of cloud cover that’s just perfect, and we had it this morning. Sometimes I don’t like driving east to work, but today was a treat. Today I could look at the sun. It was a great glowing disc in a field of dirty white. At one point, the clouds just below it thinned, and although the disc itself stayed muted and viewable, there was a bright aurora beneath it that I had to squint against.

    It’s not the first time I’ve been able to stare at the sun (who sings that song? I don’t recall…), but it always gets to me when I do. No wonder the sun figures so prominently in most religions and mythologies. It feels like you’re looking into the eyes of a god. Normally, you have to turn away or risk being blinded, hurt, struck down. It’s uncomfortable and exhilarating and wonderous to look up at that ever-present entity and examine it, even for a bare moment.

    This morning, the sun was jubilant, burning off the clouds and attempting, in its singular way, to bring spring back to Calgary. I’ve also seen the sun angry, bloody and aged, filtered by wood smoke into reds and umbers. I was saddened those days.

    It struck me this morning that it is such a happy accident that life developed on this planet, and that we can enjoy moments like this. I’ve been working on crocheting placemats, and yesterday I got to thinking that our lives are similar in nature: one thread weaving in and out to form a pattern, a whole of some kind. Occasionally, you’ll drop a loop, and it will unravel a little, until you can pick it back up. I’ve been feeling a little lately that I’ve dropped a loop or ten, and pieces of my life are starting to come unwound. But looking at the sun this morning relaxed me a little. Coming face to face with the eternal really puts all the little stresses and issues of my life into focus. I think I’ll be able to start picking up the loops now.

    I fenced for the first time in two weeks on Tuesday. I’m out of shape and out of practice, but I can still get in some practice before Provincials in a week and a half. Tonight is the last UCFC practice of the term. It should be fun!

    Tuesday, April 06, 2004

    Oh woe is me. I do so hate being sick.

    In other news, the wind is blowing today, blowing very hard. And I am unfortunately stuck inside. I love the wind. I love the way it presses my clothes against my body. I love the way it shouts in my ears until I can't hear anything else. I love the way it chills exposed skin. I love the way that, if it's steady enough, I can almost lean against it and have it hold me up. I love the way it makes me search for breath, find the right angle so I can draw air into my lungs.

    On the other hand, I'm having trouble enough breathing today... Oh, but to be out in the wind!

    Tuesday, March 30, 2004

    A dear friend has pointed out that a) most high school bands lack a string section, which makes playing classical music difficult, b) most high school bands sound terrible, and c) any music teacher with a shred of passion left would not want to subject their favourite pieces of music to the butchering of 100 lazy and mostly untalented students.

    I will not dispute such wholly universal facts! I was in band for six years, and I know what the teachers were up against. I did think, as I was writing my post, that having no string section made playing some classical music difficult, and that the apathy and lack of skill of many of the players also makes any attempt at something remotely complicated an exercise in futility. I suppose I kept thinking back to high school, where we had pieces in our music folders, with interesting names like Kilimanjaro and Lux Aeterna, that we only rarely pulled out at our teacher's request. We always butchered them, but to this day I wish that the teacher had just pushed us through, made us practice, so I would have some idea what those pieces sound like. Instead, my fingers probably still remember the fingerings for Sleigh Ride and Under the Sea, given the chance to play again. *sigh* I guess I should head down to the CPO more often to get my fix live. ;)

    I listen to CBC Radio Two as a general rule when I'm in the car. On the way in to work this morning, they played the Bacchanale from Samson and Delilah op. 47 by Camille Saint-Saëns. I was inspired to turn it up, and I smiled. This is not an easy feat for me in the morning, this smiling thing, but I just couldn't help it. Just like practically any selection from Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade, the music just got under my skin and tingled, until I was compelled to increase the volume so I could catch nuances. Oh, and when the timpanis started at the end! Is there any joy more pure?

    This led me to think back to when I was in junior and high school band. We never played anything like Bacchanale or Beethoven's Fifth or Ninth or even Copland's Rodeo. For five years straight, I played the same arrangement of Sleigh Ride, until I got so sick of it that now, nearly a decade since the last time I played it, I can't stand to hear the song at Christmas. Twice, once in junior and once in senior, I played The Dragoons of Villars, which was challenging and lovely and unrecognisable, but most of the other students hated it, so once it had been performed, it was dropped. Whenever the teachers tried to get us to play a piece that was difficult, or not recorded previously for mass consumption, most of the students either couldn't play it, or didn't want to. It was far too easy for the teachers to give up rather than fight almost 100 surly students. So, for the most part, the band teachers had us play contemporary pieces, with relatively simple arrangements. I understand their reasoning for having us do The Lion King, The Little Mermaid and other Disney film soundtracks. We knew what it was supposed to sound like, which made it easier to practice, and easier to bring together as a group. But it did very little for our appreciation of the art form of music, and that appreciation is something I'm just beginning to get. Now, Mendelsson speaks to me on some primal level that I can't interpret, Hildegard of Bingen has me almost believing that I speak Latin, Vaughn-Williams haunts me with the Antarctic, and Pärt has taught me what beauty there can be in dissonance and conflict. I live in daily anticipation of what new jewel I will discover on the drives to and from work, fencing, and errands.

    Sunday, March 28, 2004

    Calgary Open Report - Women's Foil - Sunday 28 March 2004

    My event started at 1330, which allowed me to sleep in this morning. I rather liked that! Tournament weekends have a tendency to throw my system for a loop, so to sleep out was lovely. As luck would have it, two of the best fencers there were in my pool, and the others weren't walks in the park either. I lost all five of my bouts (5-0, 5-0, 5-2, 5-3, 5-3), and came out of the pools 17th of 17. I fenced my DE against Emily Dixon from Saskatchewan Fencing Club, and had some issues. I managed to push the bout into the third period, though, with a final score of 15-5. My fencing was... not terribly impressive, but not gawdawful either. It's the mental game (reading opponent, staying ahead of their actions) that's giving me the most trouble. It's something to work on at any rate. I've nearly given up on this season. Barring the Calgary Centennial, I've placed last in WF at every tournament I've attended. Provincials are in four weeks, and I doubt I'll improve that much in that amount of time.

    Final result: 17th of 17 in WF for the Calgary Open

    Saturday, March 27, 2004

    Calgary Open Report - Women's Epee - Saturday 27 March 2004

    There were 19 women registered in the event today, and I ended up in one of the pools of seven. We ran two pistes, thankfully, so I managed to stay pretty warm throughout. It was not an easy pool, but it wasn't too terrible either. Out of six matches, I won two (5-2, 5-1), lost four (5-1, 5-2, 5-4, 5-4). I placed 13th out of the pools, which meant that, for the first time ever, in any weapon, I got a by! Yay! I fenced my DE against Jackie Geller, who came out 4th. I've beat her before in the pools, so I knew a little of how she fenced. I did not, of course, expect to win, and I didn't. However, I pushed the match to the second period, and lost by a score of 15-12. Next year, I will be able to beat her. So, all told, I'm extremely happy with the way I fenced today.

    Final result: 13th of 19 in WE for the Calgary Open

    Friday, March 26, 2004

    Nathan should not have worried last night about injuring me as we practiced parrying whips. Really. I'm quite capable of injuring myself more severely on my own. No bruises from all my mal-parries last night, so to make up for it, I had a run-in with a door this morning. My left thumb is now essentially immobilised and extremely unhappy with me. I even had to fill out an accident report for work. "Nature of injury: bleeding from under nail, bruising and swelling in knuckle, reduced mobility of digit in both joints due to slight swelling. Description of circumstances: Someone opened the door as I was reaching for the doorknob. My thumb took the force of it." I feel so stupid, but I didn't know he was coming. Owwwwww... It's hard to type when you're trying to ice a finger.

    Someone out there is looking out for me, though. At least it was my off hand!

    Thursday, March 25, 2004

    I drive Barlow Trail to and from work every day. Now that spring is here, I have come to the conclusion that, just as Calgary drivers get stupid over the summer and have meltdowns with the first snowfall of the season, so too do gophers get stupider over the winter. On my way to and from work, I spot at least a dozen new bloody splats on the road. It is a rather macabre way to pass the time in the car.

    I have no idea how long gophers live, but surely not all of the instantly departed were born over the winter, just as not everyone who slides into the ditch or has a fender bender at the first hint of ice on the roads is a new driver. And even if the gophers are stupider coming out of hibernation, surely they would figure out that after the first hundred or so of their colony met a swift and terrible end, that they should stay away from the road! But no. The little cannibals are still tempting fate.

    In other news, fencing went better today. I hold out hope for the weekend.

    Wednesday, March 24, 2004

    So, I give up. For three months, I've been trying to keep up on my correspondance, make sure people know I'm still alive, still thinking about all these people I haven't emailed, and I just don't have time for it. What makes me think I'll have time to keep a weblog going, I don't know, but here's hoping.
    The Calgary Open is this weekend, and I'm desperately trying to put myself into a mental place where I can fence without being sloppy, which is what I've been all week. Perhaps I shouldn't have taken last weekend off to the extent that I did. Perhaps I lost an edge that was left over from the RDO the weekend before. Lord knows I was doing really well last week, for all that I was exhausted. But this week? Sloppy. Taking stupid hits. I know I'm not terribly good, but I'm better than this. I must try to meditate a little on Friday night, see if I can pull it together for Saturday.

    Blogger template 'Blackorwhite' by 2008