I sit here, staring at my paper, which is in OpenOffice Writer, and not Word. And it’s late. The paper, that is. The time is mid-morning, but I’ve been staring at it for hours and hours and I’m so tired of it already.
It needs to be done.
I feel the stress, the pressure, the crunch, the absolutely paralyzing need to get it done.
It paralyzes me. I can hardly breathe, sometimes, and my eyes start to water and I have to force a breath in to calm down.
It doesn’t last for long.
I procrastinate, so that, miraculously, an idea, a tiny nugget of wisdom, a lightning bolt of an epiphany… something, anything hits me to finish this paper.
It never comes.
I sit here, on my couch, in what is now the daylight following a night without sleep, dreaming my life away instead of digging into new digital media and its effects on traditional media. Memories hauntingly beautiful and dangerously close, wishes that will never come true, flit through my mind, teasing me, telling me I should already be done so I can try to wish harder or work harder to bring those wishes into reality.
I sit here, and write this blog. I need to break out of this, I need to move against my own desires and habits and lethargy and frustration.
Just do it.
Dear Mr. Habermas,
You have been my arch-nemesis for two years. Oh, how I struggled with your views and ideas over the course of a year, through 2005 and 2006. So determined was I to excise you from my mind, I promptly forgot about you when my papers and exams were done, until my classes this term in Sociology of the Media and Contemporary News Media. In the latter, my professor turns to me each class when she asks “and who is our favourite theorist?” and, each week until this last, I would grudgingly answer “Habermas,” with just a little bitterness accompanying your name.
Then I realized, Jurgen, we’re not really enemies at all. Despite your dry, horrific translated writings, I can actually embrace the concept of the public sphere. This blog is part of it. Mailing lists are part of it. IRC is part of it.
Once I realized, during last week’s class, that I live, eat and breathe the public sphere, which I call “online communities”, my hatred for you lessened. I finally gave you more than just a little respect and a lot of resentment. I salute you, sir, and though I’m sure I haven’t done nearly enough research and don’t understand half of what you’re talking about, I am downright tickled that the public sphere is not some nebulous concept like many others I’ve had to read about. The public sphere is here, is now and is a huge part of me.
Thank you, Jurgen, for giving me a name for my passion.
At ten to six in the morning, the sky shifts from a dark blue with pink highlights to a light purple which is nearly uniform.
There are still crickets chirping, even though it’s definitely light outside and the traffic is still very intermittent. This is the night’s last hoorah before it gives way to day and the evil daystar.
I’ve been up all night, which is no longer a rare happening for me. Ideas tease my mind as I stare blankly at a piece of paper or my computer screen. I have so much emotion inside of me and I can’t get any of it to pour out to make coherent words, much less phrases or paragraphs.
I play a game to let things percolate and then I think I might explode from the pressure of all this stuff in my head… except it won’t come out. Nothing, not a word, I can’t put it down at all.
It’ll come, I know it will. I just need to coax it out. Maybe a change of scenery?
I’ll probably be going to the cottage this week with my dad and his mom. Maybe some fresh country air, some canoeing or swimming and some different people to talk to will shove these ideas out of my head and on to paper, or the virtual equivalent thereof.
The bus will be going by my window any minute now, truly signalling the start of the day. I’m going to try to be asleep by then.
Nights were always what I loved most about summer. I would sit up on the second-floor balcony, which faced the street we lived on, and I’d sit on the (surprisingly comfortable) dividing railing between our neighbour’s balcony and our own, with my back pressed up against the solid brick of the houses.
Sometimes, I’d sit there for hours, just being part of the night, watching fewer and fewer cars go by, listening to the light wind rustling the leaves, watching humidity lightning light up the sky. Sometimes, my neighbour would join me, sitting across from me, leaning back against two supporting beams that had a large gap between them. He never did fall through that gap, never did plummet to the ground, never did impale himself on the shrubs or railings below. I suppose I should have let him have “my” spot more often, considering this, because a fear of falling was my primary reason for sitting with my back against the houses.
Later on, I’d write while sitting out there on the balcony, sometimes read. It always seemed to me that summer nights were made for quiet writing.
A few times, I’ve taken a notebook and a pencil and I’ve tried sitting on my windowsills, both in my room and in my guest room, with the windows open, just a screen between me and the outdoors. If I close my eyes, I’m almost 14 again, back at my parents’ house, sitting on the balcony.
A few days ago, I looked around my guest room. It’s never really been “the guest room”. It’s been my old roommate’s room, it’s been a storage space, and, in jest, it’s been a friend’s room. In jest, I started referring to it as *her* room, because she was spending inordinate amounts of time at my place and we’d get to talking and she’d miss her bus… so she’d spend the night in the guest room. Her room.
For whatever reason she has, this friend and I haven’t spoken on the phone in over a month now, and it’s been about 10 days since I last wrote to her, imploring her to talk to me about whatever issues she’s having, why we’re not talking, not seeing each other… and I’ve gotten nothing back from her.
So the other night, I reclaimed “her” room. For the first time since I moved here five years ago, this room is going to be a room that I actually use. I won’t sleep here, I won’t eat here, I won’t watch TV here… but I’m thinking I’ll write here.
And that’s where I am, right now. I brought my computer chair in here, I’ve got my laptop on my lap with my lapdesk. I have all my iTunes music back on this computer after a hard drive failure and repair. And I can hear the crickets chirping outside on this lovely summer night.
To new beginnings.
And I’m not sure why, exactly.
I’m sitting in my Contemporary Cultural Theory class (God bless wireless), and I just… feel weird.
Learning about the difference between social theory and sociological theory (oh, and there is one), I feel unfulfilled and wistful. Not that I don’t like sociology, because I do, but I’m increasingly convinced that sociology is a means to an end for me, although the end is as of yet unknown.
I feel like writing, these days. There’s something bouncing around in the back of my mind, but I have no idea what it is, and I don’t quite know how to coax it out to play. I feel like being artistic, somehow, but I don’t know if that means I want to redo a website or make a new desktop image or just play in Photoshop or Illustrator. I feel like disconnecting myself from the online world, but I don’t think I really want to connect myself to the “real” world any more than I already am connected. I feel like I want to talk and write and read in Italian all the time, but it’s not possible for me to immerse myself in the language as much as I’d like.
This is my problem. I’m always really interested in about a thousand things at once, and I don’t have enough time to really get into them all, and not enough determination to get into one thing, and too much interest to limit myself to that one thing anyways.
I guess I’m just… restless, more than wistful, but there’s wistfulness in there, too. I remember being able to make time to do things that were important to me. I don’t ever remember being this burnt out. This is the first time in my life I’ve managed to push past where I’d normally give up, at least for this long a time.
May. In May, after finals, I’ll have a bit of time to relax, to change gears, to sleep in. Go back to my part-time job, too, for a bit, but definitely after a couple weeks of rest.
And then, Italy, for two weeks. With my parents, alas. But Italy. For two weeks! Pasta and gelato and ITALIAN. The ability to go out into the streets of Milano, Venezia, Firenze and Roma and know how to do more than order mineral water (without carbonation) or ice cream or pasta, and understand what I read and be able to appreciate things so much more than I did at age five or thirteen.
Then back home, back to work, and a single three credit class during the summer, perhaps.
I chalk up this general malaise to working last summer while doing the hardest 6 credit class ever. Sure, I got an A, but I pretty much killed myself while doing it. Still, it’ll help me with a 400 level version of that class this year, and both of those will help with my thesis next year.
But I want more than to do classes and get these crazy letter grades that I’ve come to care so much about, which, in itself, is terrifying. I still want to create and absorb art. I don’t want to read these days, because I have so much readings for school. This is foreign to me. I love to read. What is university doing to me?
Suggestions on how to recharge my batteries before May are welcome, because I don’t know how I’m going to make it through to May without some kind of recharging.
Yes, I know, it’s another post. It’s shocking. ;)
For those who are not aware, I got my driver’s license last March, at the ripe ol’ age of 27 years and 10 months.
I resisted getting one for years and years and years because you just don’t need a car in Montreal. Sure, it’s occasionally handy, but you don’t need one, not by any stretch of the imagination. Besides, as prior blog designs attest to, I love the public transportation in this city.
I drove around the city this summer, got lost on more than one occasion, parked in the tiniest of tiny parking spots, have praised Jesus himself when I have found a street I recognize and have had other sorts of driving stories. I have not (yet) gotten a ticket or been in an accident. Yay!
I got my license in March. The day of a rather bad snowstorm. So bad, in fact, that the SAAQ (Quebec Automobile… something Society) offered to reschedule my test due to the conditions. When I said, nah, I’d rather do it that day, the woman warned me — if I lose control of the vehicle, we come straight back to the office, and I fail.
I shrugged. I really had nothing to lose. If I failed, I didn’t have a license. If I passed, I did have a license. Makes sense, no?
I kept control of the car at all times, I drove slowly enough to keep from slipping and the one time I did slip, I carefully steered into the skid and half a second later, was fine. I even parallel parked in four inches of snow. I was the only person that woman passed that day. And they closed the bureau not 20 minutes after they passed me.
This, dear readers, is all a prelude to tonight’s rant.
(or, I Should Sell Tickets to my Attempts at Parking as if it were a Sporting Event)
Due to the fact that I’m working at the election on Monday, January 23rd (hey, that’s TOMORROW. GO VOTE, Canadians!!!), my parents have lent me a car.
This evening, I realized that since my laundry room in my building closes at 9:30, I wasn’t going to have enough time to wash my dress pants. The alternatives? Wear a skirt (hahaha, NO) or wake up at ass o’clock to wash the pants before I go off to work. When I complained about this to my friend J, she offered me a pair of her pants for tomorrow.
After some consideration, since we’re very different body types and have never exchanged clothes before, I hopped in the car and went on over.
Driving down her cross-street, I saw a spot, but it was on the other side of the road. Then I turned down her street and saw a spot (again, on the other side of the road) really near her building.
Carefully, I pulled into a driveway and pulled back out and attempted to enter the parking space in a forward fashion, since it seemed large enough to do so. Ah, perhaps it would have been large enough to do so in a Saturn sedan, the kind of car I normally drive. Not so with a Nissan Pathfinder, the kind of car I was driving tonight. I was at an awkward angle, too, due to snow, so I said screw it and pulled back out before going up the street to that other (much larger) spot I’d seen on the way over.
This time, I elected to reverse in, properly, as I’d been taught. I could blame it (and I will, in part) on the snow and ice, but it’s largely my fault that it took me not one, not two, not three, but four attempts to back in before I didn’t cut too sharply, leaving me stuck at a bizarre diagonal angle. Of course, this time, I barely cut in at all, determined not to be stuck at a 37 degree angle to the sidewalk. And it worked. Kind of.
You see, folks, my parking is somewhat legendary among my friends and family. No, not my driving. My parking. I’m not a great driver, not a horrible driver, but a reliable driver. My parking, on the other hand… Let’s just say you can ALWAYS find the car I parked, because it’s at a crazy angle to the sidewalk.
Tonight, I said screw it after the fourth attempt. As I walked away from the car, which was a good foot and a half out from the curb, with the back end sticking out even further, I muttered to myself “How on earth did I manage to park so badly?”
This is not the first time I have muttered the same words.
It seems that despite my adequate driving ability, my parking is sorely lacking. In fact, it seems to be degrading. Parallel parking just doesn’t seem to be in my genes — except for the fact that both my parents and my younger brother (who has been driving for seven years) can all park beautifully. To boot, my mom has that Parking Karma. She ALWAYS finds a good spot.
Still, I guess I’ll get better with practice. Until then, $25 per ticket to see me attempt to park a car properly, with an automatic entry into a pool of “how many times will she have to start over?”, with a grand prize equalling 80% of the ticket money. (The remaining 20% will go to gas expenses and possible extra driving lessons to TEACH ME HOW TO PARK, even though my driving instructor obviously did a good enough job with me in order to get me to park flawlessly during my test in a SNOWSTORM.)
On that note, shower and bed in preparation for a long day tomorrow.
I’m busy, I’m tired, I’m stressed out, burned out, taking 400-level classes and that meant pulling an all-nighter on CHRISTMAS EVE, but I’m still alive.
I just renewed one of my domains the other night, and checked on the expiry dates of my other ones, so that reminded me that hey. I have this domain. This site. Which I neglect pretty much all the time. For which I apologize. I’ll try to do better, honest I will. (Although I have my doubts that anyone still reads this page.)
Anyways, I am breaking my silence to tell all Canadians to vote.
Once again, for the third major election in a row, I will be working at the polls on election day.
I’m going to give you all some backstory on my voting behaviour, so you can all see where I’m coming from.
My very first vote came on October 30th, 1995. It was the referendum on sovreignty in Quebec. Being a staunch federalist (that’s to say, I do not support Quebec seceding from Canada at all), I voted NO to Quebec separation.
Considering the final results were something like 50.58% NO and 49.42% YES, every single vote in that referendum mattered like nothing had ever mattered before. And I was part of it. Great introduction to voting.
I voted in my first federal election in 1997. I went to advanced polling because I was leaving the country and wouldn’t be able to vote on voting day. I voted Liberal. They won.
I attempted to mail in a ballot for the Quebec provincial election in 1998. It didn’t get there in time. I am still bitter. I selected Liberal on my ballot, though it didn’t count. The Parti Quebecois got into power, and the Liberals lost.
I voted in the 2000 federal election. Again, I voted Liberal. They won.
I voted in (and worked at) the 2003 Quebec provincial election. I voted Liberal. They won.
I voted in (and worked at) the 2004 federal election. I voted Liberal. They won. (A minority government, mind you, but they won.)
This year, I’m working at the 2006 federal election. That’s Monday. For the first time in my life, I did not vote Liberal. I voted NDP (New Democratic Party) because I am tired of the Liberals but would rather eat my ballot (which, incidentally, is not permitted) than vote for the Conservative Party or the Bloc Quebecois. I would rather not vote at all than vote for the Green Party of Canada or the Marxist-Lenninist Party.
I voted NDP because I have a rather large hunch that my riding will go Liberal anyways. (It always does.) I wanted them to see that they had at least a little less support in this riding than they usually do.
But here’s the thing. Your vote matters. Every vote is counted. Every vote makes a difference, if only people would believe it. Vote for the party you think would form the best government. As of 2004, with your vote, your party gets $1.75 in funding, so your vote really does matter, even if your party doesn’t get into power, it will help them.
That said, I can’t bring myself to suggest voting NDP if you think it’s a tight race between the Liberals and the Conservatives, even if you agree with the NDP more. I can’t. I am too scared of seeing Stephen Harper as the next PM of Canada. I’ve been predicting a Tory minority government since the election was called, but they’re ahead in the polls and a Conservative majority government, IMHO, would be BAD.
But really, the important thing here is that you VOTE. Turnout was down to 60% in 2004. Let’s bring those numbers back up and get back out to the polls.
Am I registered to vote?
If you got a Voter’s Information Card from Elections Canada addressed to you at your proper address, you are registered to vote. If you did not get this card, here’s how you make sure you can vote on Monday:
First of all, find your electoral district by visiting this link. Click on the “Am I on the list of electors?” question on the right hand side and this will give you your returning officer’s contact information. CALL THAT NUMBER. Open 7 days a week. Ask them if you’re on the list and where to go vote and when if you don’t know.
If you’re NOT on the list, ask them what you need to bring with you to vote on Monday and make sure to bring everything they request you bring. Also, don’t forget to ask when and where you should vote.
(Usually, a photo ID and a recent utility bill with your name and address on it will suffice for verification purposes.)
So you have no excuse not to vote. Go. Vote. Make your choice be heard. Make a difference in the way your country is run.
I’ll post again after the elections. Hope you’re all doing well. :)
I keep forgetting about my blog. That’s not a great sign, I don’t think. Ah, well. Practice makes perfect, eh?
So, basically, life is crazy. University is driving me insane, the Habs are continually shocking me (in a GOOD way. I’ve been to two games in the last week, and we’re on a five-game winning streak!) and, yes, I am doing National Novel Writing Month. Two (or three?) years ago, when I did it, I got a sticker. It reads:
I’ll sleep in December.
That’s pretty much when I’m going to get to sleep next.
Tonight, I’m working on a Research Design and Analysis assignment, which should be just fine, considering I did most of what RD&A requires of me back in Research Methods this past summer, and we’re allowed to reuse our data/work. Of course, it’s 2:21am, it’s due at 6pm, and I haven’t started yet. Nor have I written a single word for NaNo after I went to bed at SEVEN THIRTY on Wednesday morning, which will put me about 1400 words behind, because I was about 200 words ahead when I went to bed.
That’s about all that’s new in my life. I know I owe emails — Jeff, I’m not annoyed with you at all, just confused by this new blog interface — and I’ll get to them, eventually. The best place to reach me, at the moment, is (and I’m putting it this way because I don’t want to be spammed to death):
juliebug [at] golf mike alpha india lima [dot] charlie oscar mike
I don’t even open Eudora anymore, I just check various webmail interfaces, but that’s rare. The above-mentioned address is the only one I check regularly.
Oh, and one other thing, before I get back to work: THE WEATHER SUCKS. It was like, 2 degrees out today, windy as hell, pouring rain. It was raining horizontally, I swear, because I HAD an umbrella and I got drenched anyways. Not to mention the fact that I was wearing a long-sleeved shirt, a fleece sweater AND a coat and the wind still cut through all that like a hot knife through butter.
Either bring on the snow, so that I don’t get soaked while waiting six minutes for a bus, and so that I can ski (!!! I can’t wait), or just cool it on the precipitation for a while, ‘kay? Thanks.
Off to work on RD&A, and I promise to post again soon.
Well, it’s going to take a little bit of time for me to get used to this whole blog thing again. I’d pretty much forgotten entirely that I even still have a blog again. The only reason I remembered is that it’s raining outside right now, at nearly 4am, and I thought, “Hey, it’d be nice to have a blog again, just so I can write about the rain.”
And then I said to myself, “Self, you DO have a blog again!”
So here I am. And I am quite amused by myself.
As to the rain, it’s gentle, it’s comforting and it makes me so very happy to be sitting indoors, where it’s nice and warm, with just one lamp on in my living room, with a blanket on my lap, while all that’s going on out there.
School is going well. Halfway through the semester, practically, and I’ve had to turn in very little work, which is always a bonus, particularly as I have very little work to hand in for this whole semester. I get an essay assigned tomorrow, and I have a short assignment in SPSS for next Thursday, plus I have to write a parody or satire of my favourite or least-favourite song for Monday… and, yeah, I just had an Italian test and handed in an Italian composition.
Hm. When you put it all together like that, along with the prose poem and univocal lipogram I had to do, maybe it is a fair bit of work to hand in. I’m woefully behind on my readings, of course, but I feel like I don’t get a lot out of the lectures when I’ve done the readings, and that I don’t get a lot out of the readings (particularly for Social Theory) when I haven’t heard the lectures yet.
Upcoming plans include:
- a pumpkin carving party at J’s on Saturday night, apparently
- seeing my best friend at some point in the next few days, when she’ll be up from the US
- doing homework
- helping others with SPSS homework
- playing computer games when I should be doing homework
- preparing for NaNoWriMo
- cheering for the Habs, with their 4-1 record thus far
Did I mention that I got my driver’s license back in March? It was a snowy, snowy day and they actually CLOSED the license bureau for road tests about 20 minutes after I finished. I passed on the first try. Just FYI, it is not easy to parallel park in 15cm of snow.
On that note, I’m going to watch Smallville (the shame, the shame!) and then go to bed.
I really do need to post more often.
So it’s 5:25am as I begin to write this. What am I doing? Burning some CDs to get some free space on my HD. What should I be doing? Reading for Contemporary Sociological Theory, which is my only class tomorrow, and begins really early — at 2:45pm. ;)
Well, that’s my earliest class of the semester! My other classes are at 4:15pm and at 6pm!
Basically, I should have showered and gone to bed by now, and I really should have done my reading on Talcott Parsons. But I haven’t done any of those. I spent tonight watching TV. Alias and Smallville, actually, although it took me, oh, THREE HOURS to get through my tape of Alias. Distractions in the form of hockey (hockey! You’re back! I LOVE YOU!), phone calls, random airings of Sex and the City and an explanation as to what webhosting is and why one must usually pay for such things all interfered with watching Alias.
Still, it was a lovely evening. Hell, my whole day was great except for a nagging headache. I woke up past 1, I skimmed my Research Design & Analysis readings, I talked on the phone, found out P got a new job (and I am very psyched for her!), caught my bus, went to class… okay, so I got lost on the 11th floor looking for a specific lab. I wound up in the Economics department instead of the Sociology department, but I got there eventually! And then, as we’re all sitting there, trying to use SPSS (a big ol’ stats program), like, 80% of the licenses on the computers had expired. I could NOT suppress a laugh, and pulled out my laptop and opened up SPSS. I’ve been using SPSS all summer for my Research Methods class. All those hours of inputting data and playing with it actually paid off.
Anyways, the teacher told us to all group together with the 20% of the computers that had a valid SPSS license, but since I had a working copy, I called my friend J over and this guy B, this guy M-A and some other dude (whose name I have totally spaced on) all came over. And we all KNOW SPSS, so the teacher was explaining how to run descriptive stats and stuff and we’re like “yeah, yeah, we know”. Meanwhile, this guy D and and girl M realized I had a working copy and inquired as to how to get their home copies to continue working. I sense I may become popular in this class. ;)
Got home, saw the end of the third period between the Habs and the Rangers and am annoyed by the Rangers’ 3rd goal, but hey, Ryder scored in OT to give the Habs a 2-0 record thus far this season and it was his third goal in two games and his second game-winner. I am rather thrilled. :)
Then J and I eventually got through Alias, and she was even able to catch her bus home ’cause the nice bus driver realized she wanted on the bus and stopped just AFTER the stop to let her run across to get on.
And what the hell have I done in the nearly six hours since she went home? Honestly, I don’t know. Watched Smallville. That didn’t take six hours. <scratches head> Where DOES the time go? Honestly!
On that note, I should go back to CD burning for a bit and maybe I’ll get some reading done while things burn.
(Aren’t you thrilled I’m blogging again? I know you are. ;))
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