Monday, 29 November 2010
Discover your inner sparkle! Join Barbie in a colourful, modern-day fairytale filled with fashion, friends, and fun. Barbie and her dog Sequin jet off to visit her aunt's amazing fashion house in Paris. Much to their surprise, it is about to be shut down forever! After she discovers three enchanting Fairies with sparkle-magic powers, Barbie comes up with a brilliant idea to save the business. She even inspires Alice, a shy fashion designer, and together they create a dazzling runway fashion show! Barbie shows that magic happens when you believe in yourself.
I would like to add a few more awesome notes to the above description, firstly the dog, of course, can talk, and wears a pink sparkly outfit. This film is the 12th in the Barbie Film Series. I saw bits of the 8th one, The 12 Dancing Princesses, a few Christmas' ago when my little cousins were watching it. I can tell you, whatever you are picturing, it is worse - so so so much worse. The horrendous computer animation was just the tip of the iceberg, I actually had to stop watching. Oh, and at the start of this one, you know, before she goes off to Paris, she is an actress filming on a movie set for "The Princess and the Pea." Look at Barbie go!! (Also, why the hell are faeries part of this? Oh Barbie.)
Sunday, 28 November 2010
The Improbable Portrayal of Prostitution
that Perpetuates Patriarchal Oppression
The Unrealistic Portrayal of Prostitution
that Reinforces a Male-Dominated Discourse
in Eighteenth-Century London
Saturday, 27 November 2010
A Swan On Saturday - Part II - The Myth
Leda was the beautiful Queen of Sparta who unwittingly attracted the attention of the ever-horny, womanizing top Olympian, Zeus. Zeus decided to seduce her. To do so, he turned himself into a swan. For some reason. Maybe it was a secret fantasy of his, and what good is being the head of a pantheon of gods if you can’t pursue all your secret fantasies? In his disguise, pretending to be pursued by an eagle, Zeus fell into Leda’s lap for protection. Of course, Leda took one look at this most beautiful specimen of swanliness and simply had to have him. Or let him have her. Whichever way that works (though really, it doesn’t with a swan).
Leda and the Swan shared a magical night, the kind where time slows down and feathers float through the air, though in this case they were Zeus’ and not from a pillow torn in the heat of passion. Zeus flew off into the night, and Leda returned to her husband’s bed for more carnal exploits. Apparently, for all his swanliness, Zeus hadn’t quite satisfied Leda.
Months later, as these things go, Leda gave birth to two eggs. Yes, eggs. The eggs cracked open to reveal two sets of twins, one sired by each man, one divine and one mortal. They were Helen, Clytemnestra, Castor and Polydeuces. Helen became Helen of Troy, the face that launched a thousand ships and a ten-year war. Clytemnestra became the wife of Agamemnon, leader of the Greek forces in Troy, who she promptly killed to be with his cousin. Castor and Polydeuces have their own story of heroism and brotherly love, and eventually became a constellation and the astrological sign Gemini.
Funny thing is that this isn’t the only instance of bestiality in Greek mythology. Pasiphae fell in love with a bull, jumped into a handy cow costume, and soon gave birth to the Minotaur. Zeus turned his lover Io into a cow to hide her from his wife, Hera. He also turned into an eagle to carry off Ganymede, and a bull to carry off Europa. The Satyrs, who had sex with anything that moved, were half goat, and the Centaurs, who raped many a maiden, were half horse. Oh, those crazy Greeks.
Friday, 26 November 2010
Wednesday, 24 November 2010
Tuesday, 23 November 2010
Santa arrives for the Port Dover Santa Claus Parade on a fishing tug (The Eau Clipper), escorted by the Coast Guard. Everyone lines the pier to watch him (and the Mrs, various elves etc) disembark and get onto the Lions Club Float. The parade then starts from the pier and goes up the main street. So much fun. I was totally unaware of this and couldn't figure out why everyone was congregating at the pier where we were all getting the floats ready. By the way the Port Dover Racing Division and Sailing School won the prize for Best Non Commercial Float. - whhoo hee! We had 3 floats, basically decorated dinghies - lights, garlands, music (Sam the tech guy from Lighthouse Theatre is a sailor, Morgan painted the sailing school signs). Fi rode in one of the boats, I handed out candy canes. Nothing like Paris, there was only 1 firetruck and no old cars!
Monday, 22 November 2010
The story is Parker quipped, "You can lead a horticulture but you can't make her think" upon being asked to use 'horticulture' in a sentence.
Sunday, 21 November 2010
-Walked past the Santa Clause Parade. A marching band was playing one of my favourite Christmas Carols, Angels We Have Heard On High. Glo.o.o.o.o.O.o.o.o.o.O.o.o.o.or.ia...
-Renewed books at University of Toronto's John P. Robarts Research Library. An architectural wonder from the early 1970's that resembles a peacock.
-Kevan Osmond, Teri's little brother
-James Harris, Family friend and fellow blogger
-Trevor Rankin, Co-worker from Natural Resources
-Ben Miller, Family friend in the UK
Visit one of my friend's sites to donate, donate through someone you know, or just go to the main site. It is a great cause and a fun concept!
Saturday, 20 November 2010
A Swan On Saturday - Part I - Introduction
Chris called me the other day to talk about this painting of Leda and the Swan by da Vinci. I had seen the painting before, and others like it. Leda and the Swan was a popular Greek myth for appropriation by Renaissance artists. Chris was surprised that da Vinci had managed to make the swan look so human, and, let’s face it, overtly sexual in nature.
I was reminded of a statue I saw when I was in Venice in March. It was Leda and the Swan, and the pose was so erotic that my friend and I actually had a lengthy discussion about it:
That statue, from the Venice Archaeological Museum, is actually a Roman copy of a Greek original. So da Vinci was in good tradition. Upon further perusal of Google Images, it has become clear that all Renaissance portrayals of Leda and the Swan are very sexual, in a way that a 21st century audience can find disturbing because of its implications of bestiality. Clearly, the Greek, Roman and later Renaissance artists had no such qualms. In fact, they portray Leda and the Swan in a far more sexualized way than they were comfortable portraying an actual man and woman.
But wait! Who are Leda and the Swan, you say? Well, that’s the real reason that Chris was asking me about it, and that’s coming up in the next post!
Friday, 19 November 2010
Wednesday, 17 November 2010
By Christine Sweeton
It has been hard without a little camera. (I know I keep saying this.) I should have brought my big SLR to Toronto but it is at The Cottage at the moment. However, I found a place online to take a photo using My Little Pet's webcam. Here it is in all it's annoying gritty webcam-glamor-shot glory. Strange thing about this picture, I think I look a little bit like Anne Hathaway. I hope the Natalie Portman resemblance can still be seen, I love looking like her. The main point of the photo is to show all the friends and family who are far away how short my hair is. And this is straight! Well, straighter than normal. It was perfectly straight about 5 hours ago but it is raining here and, as usual, it has started to go a bit wavy. Still, when it goes back to being my normal curly hair it is going to be insanely short. I'm excited to see what it looks like after I get out of the bath tomorrow morning.
Tuesday, 16 November 2010
First off, I need to update my clothes. I do love shopping, however at the end of the day clothes couldn't mean less to me. I rarely end up spending any money on how I look, and sadly this tends to show. I make do and buy what I need to get by. By the end of my time in Ottawa my wardrobe was almost exclusively business-casual for working in the government, then over the summer all my normal-basic-casual clothes went on the trip with me and got so worn out and gross, plus with my recent bit of weight loss nothing even fits anyway. Basically I have been screwed for clothes these past few months, to the point that when Taylor was down she forced me to buy jeans and paid for them. (I'm paying her back with the OSAP money tonight.) I went shopping again today and am slowly starting to build up some nice clothes for winter.
Secondly, it has been almost a year since I last cut my hair. Yes, it is lovely long, but it was also very dried out and damaged at the ends. I wore it up 90% of the time, and by up I don't even mean a ponytail but actually in a tight ballet-bun. It was definitely time to get some shape put back into it. It is always scary trying to find a new hairdresser who can cut curly hair, I have had some awful experiences in the past. I did a walk-in at a nice place in the Eaton's Centre and I think the guy did a great job. It is much much shorter, I think at least 4 inches were cut off. My hair is now at my shoulders!!
Monday, 15 November 2010
According to the website...
New Orleans and New Year's Eve go together like rum and red drinks. In fact, it's often difficult to tell New Year's Eve from any other day of the week on Bourbon Street. That is, unless one has been to Bourbon Street on New Year's Eve. Laissez les bons temps rouler!
The real beauty of Bourbon is it's openness. Drinking is permitted in the street – that's the case everywhere in the French Quarter – and there are dozens of places to purchase all manner of alcohol. This includes not only bars but small stores with a counter that serves frozen drinks, jello shots and cheap beer. There's live music everywhere, from jazz to rock to zyedeco.
I am so excited! Can't wait! It is going to be epic.
Sunday, 14 November 2010
Me: Oh, I love this part.
Kristen: Me too.
Me: Language and Love, it like, go past. Love, go past. Goes past...
Kristen: Transcends. Is 'transcends' the word you were looking for?
Not a good moment for me as an English Major.
Saturday, 13 November 2010
In all seriousness the second part of that statement is not true at all. I am working with really great students this semester. This is my first experience being a Teaching Assistant and it has been so much fun. I have always had the upmost respect for all teachers but now that I have been behind the lens a little bit I also have so much sympathy for them. It is insanely hard work!! I am learning so much, from the lectures, from the text, from the lesson planning, from the students themselves. It is a rewarding experience and seeing the essays is a part of that.
Friday, 12 November 2010
I decided to take a slightly different root home from the Subway this afternoon, I went out the 'wrong' exit from the station and once I ended up on a main street I went in the 'wrong' direction for a while. Getting myself to Rrunuv Bayit after these little detours turned what is normally a 3-4 block walk into a 12 block one. During the first part of the walk I started considering everyone's complaints about Toronto. Once I reached the top of my street I decided to pay close attention to my surroundings for the remain 4 blocks, it see if I could find a harsh difference living 'here' opposed to 'there'.
I have never lived in the country. The house in Paris had a big back yard and being in an old neighbourhood, had huge mature trees. It wasn't like I looked out my window and saw fields of horses and vast meadows of clover. My friends who live or have lived in the most rural of settings all have neighbours with houses close by. Even at The Cottage, where my parents wake up everyday and drink coffee while gazing at the sand beach panoramic of Lake Erie, still have other cottages mere feet away and out back there is a store on the other side of the street and a parking lot. (That is what they put up in paradise apparently.)
I don't really know the history of my area of Toronto, but along the main streets the low-rise apartment buildings seem to be built in a 1920's art-deco style and on the side streets the houses seem more like they were built in the 1950's. I say this because it means that the neighbourhood was developed a long time ago, so there are a ton of mature trees here too. There is also space; nice front yards, gardens, and small parks every 5 blocks or so.
The main thing I noticed about the 'nature' in my neighbourhood was that I saw 1 brown and 14 black squirrels, all of which were fat. It is no field of wild flowers but the area is still very pretty, I feel there is enough nature here to satisfy.
But what about a sense of community? Cities are so isolating. I used to have a saying about Paris that if I drove through downtown, regardless of the time of day, I would always see someone I knew. This was hilariously accurate and I believe held true for about 85% of the time. When someone finds out I lived there and I get asked if I know someone, often I do. It was a small town, people knew each other. Lets not get carried away though, I didn't know everyone, it wasn't that small.
In Toronto, I live in a three story walk-up and I know the other four people who live in the building. I know three of the guys who work at the local hardware store. Most mornings the same homeless man is sitting outside the Subway station singing 1960's anti-war songs, beautifully I might add. Also, interestingly enough the last three times I went to the grocery store I have gotten the same check-out girl, who recognizes me. I am starting to know people and build up a sense of neighbourhood. It happens everywhere, it isn't just a small town thing.
A school bus dropped a boy off in front of one the apartments I was walking by, a woman (presumably The Super) was raking leaves in the lawn, she called out his name and asked how his day was. He smiled, waved, and said it was good as he pulled out his keys to go inside.
It is hard to even say that the people in Paris are particularly friendly. Paris is a friendly town. I have many friends who live there. It is all very pleasant and happy and nice. But the reality is that not everyone gets along with everyone else. Like everywhere, there are little social fights and a whole lot of gossip. Some people are annoying and some people are mean and that is not a big city thing, that is a human thing. But the stereotype is that in a small town when passing a stranger you get a smile and/or greeting and that is friendly. My theory is that you get what you give. The reason it seems like everyone smiles and greets you in a small town is that you walk around smiling and greeting people. The idea of Toronto as a place where this doesn't happen prevents people from doing it, it just becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
I decided to give some good old Canada cheer as I walked the last 4 blocks home. I passed three people and smiled, all of whom smiled back, one nodded, and one said 'hello'. I passed a fourth person, who had a dog, and the tiny dog barked at me. The owner returned my smile and apologized for the dog, afterwards I could hear the owner say to the dog, 'You're such a jerk.' It was hard not to laugh. A fifth person was on her porch trying to chase her cat back inside. Before I even had a chance to smile at her, she saw me looking at her as I walked by and waved with a huge smile saying, 'He isn't allowed outside.' The sixth and final person I saw was gardening. She was facing her house and we shared no interaction at all, she was very intense with the gardening and had her back to me. So five of six! Don't give me this story about Toronto being unfriendly..
It is still Canada after all!!
Wednesday, 10 November 2010
Sorry I was looking to post another picture and just got drawn to him again. So cute! Since I don't have a digital camera at the moment and am unable to post pictures of myself and my life in Toronto, maybe I will have this little guy substitute for a while. I did take a whole bunch of pictures of him, there are so many more. (The China pictures aren't up on Facebook yet either, I have gotten bogged down by school and the trip photos have stopped for the moment but I promise Mongolia, China, and Western Canada are coming.)
Tuesday, 9 November 2010
Lost in an electronic sea of equivalence.
Searching for superficial standards.
Caught in a current of digital comparisons.
Kristen signed her contract, continuing her career.
High school peers are posting pictures of new puppies.
Taylor is tying the knot.
ERin has already had an anniversary.
A person in my program is friends with a restaurant proprietor.
Dave does testing for demolitions.
Steph travels to the States to attended engineering seminars.
Countless friends own cars.
Mike is managing his second mortgage.
Jenn's new position means prosperity and potential for promotion.
A bunch of friends are boasting about beautiful babies.
Working against the worry of imaginary worth.
Facebook makes me feel like a failure.
Lonely and looking for a life.
Sunday, 7 November 2010
Don't take too long to think about it. Fifteen authors who've influenced you and that will always stick with you. List the first fifteen you can recall in no more than fifteen minutes.
1 - Shakespeare
2 - A.A.Milne
For his poetry not for Pooh.
3 - Marian Keyes
Chick Lit with depth.
4 - Aaron Sorkin
Best screen writer of all time.
5 - Jonathan Safron Foer
I have read two, they do stick with you.
6 - C.S.Lewis
Read over and over in my childhood.
7 - Italo Calvino
If On A Winter's Night A Traveller blew my mind.
8 - Audrey & Don Wood
Children's author and illustrator.
9 - A.E.Maxwell
Even beyond Brave New World he is awesome.
He writes my world.
Better than Chicken Soup for the Soul.
Cyber-punk is an awesome genre.
Is it bad that I didn't come up with 15 and I'm an English Major? I never remember authors.
Saturday, 6 November 2010
I looked up a recipe, and even after seeing the ingredients, I still thought it would be pretty simple and not particularly fattening. Turns out that after I melted the ridiculous pile of margarine and stirred up the egg yokes, I realised that there might be something to the nutritional information at the end of the recipe that said that each tablespoon had 71 calories, and that 99% of them are from fat. Making the sauce also turned out to be a bit more difficult than I thought too. Turns out that just looking at the ingredients and glancing at the instructions is not really good enough. I combined everything all at once and then had to google why 'hollandaise sauce not thickening.' Pretty much the most important instruction in the recipe, add the melted butter to the egg yokes -gradually- oops! Had to throw it out. Cooking fail!
Kristen's eggs were awesome though! No need for the sauce after all.
Thursday, 4 November 2010
I don't really feel like I have gotten into a good groove with school work yet. I am up to my old habits and they don't seem to work as well for me anymore. I need to step up my game and start getting the marks that really reflect who I am as a student. I know that I'm smart enough. Seeing the low grade did not make me question my intelligence. (While I'm sure a number of people in the program think I'm dumb, I know that I'm not.) What the low mark, and looming list of assignments, shows me is just how much work it is going to take to be successful. It is going to be tough to work hard at research and writing again but I need to and quickly!
Monday, 1 November 2010
Tuesday - 2:30 am to 7:30am - 5 hours
Wednesday - 4:30am to 6:30am - 2 hours
Thursday - 3:30am to 7:00am - 3.5 hours
Friday - 1:00am to 11:00am - 10 hours
Saturday - 3:00am to 3:30pm - 12.5 hours
Sunday - 4:30am to 6:30am - 2 hours