Thursday, August 27, 2009

Les Comps &c.

My life right now revolves around my upcoming comprehensive exam. It isn't until December, but when you've got over 100 books to read and learn to the point that you can write and speak about them (well, minimum 12 of them, but god knows which 12) with something between competence and brilliance, December isn't very far away. So, the blog will suffer, as I do (I'm a bit of a nervous Nelly when it comes to things of this importance), and you'll have to put up with sad little posts, or none at all. So, to usher in the era of being too busy and important doing other things, a list post:

  • The journal still doesn't have a name. Can we pick a bloody name already? We can't get an ISSN, or properly set up the website, until we choose something. I feel like I need to stop being democratic, start being totalitarian, and just make a decision. Monday. We will decide by Monday. And that's it!
  • I'm obsessed with Mad Men. The sex. The clothes. The drinks. The smoking. The sexism. The rampant materialism. Joan Holloway's body. Roger Sterling (I have a thing for older men). Everything about it is endlessly fascinating. I'm watching it while I work on my GA work, which is mindless XML coding--perfect! I'm about 3/4 of the way through Season 2, which means that I'll soon be caught up and reduced to watching it when it's actually on. Which will probably be better for my avoidance of procrastination project.
  • I'm learning how to sew. I have my own sewing machine, and my mother is a beautiful seamstress, but I've never learned properly. However, I purchased some rather expensive fabric this week to make pillows for my bed (beautiful wool on cotton crewel), and so I'm going to sew them myself. They better turn out nicely, as I splurged so much on the material.
  • Hayley and I are planning a weekend trip to Boston just after Thanksgiving. I've never been, although I have been around that part of the country before, and I'm looking forward to a bit of a break and some touristy fun. Any suggestions?
  • I can't believe that it's almost September already. It's freaking me out, honestly. I need to stop thinking about it. Luckily I'm not starting from scratch with my tutorial (I'm teaching Intro to CanLit, which is a variation on the course I taught this past year), Shakespeare should be a manageable amount of reading, and I am, even though I feel like I'm not, progressing well with my comp studying. However, September? Come on! We haven't even had a proper summer yet! I'm just not ready to get back into the whole whirl and grind of back-to-school. That said, I have no choice, so bring it on, I suppose.
  • Hiking awaits me in September. That is a definite upside. I adore hiking, and I haven't gotten to do any of the real stuff since I moved to the city. Now that I'm back, it's back to Saturdays on the trail, eating picnics on rocks, brewing espresso over a mini-burner, and reminiscing about the days when my dad smoked cherry tobacco and we'd stand and watch the turkey vultures. I have a lot of great memories of hiking with my family. And fall is, hands down, bar none, stamp it no erasies, the best season of the year. Sharp air, crisp leaves, the smell of wood smoke, the feeling of promise and new beginnings all around--Labour Day is my New Year's, no question about it.
  • Rhianon & DaemonQ are going to be parents on Sunday, if not sooner. If that's not exciting, I don't know what is, and in true teacher fashion, his mother has timed his birthday perfectly to correspond with the end of summer holidays. I get to be honourary Auntie Mel! And I'm desperate to know what Junior's name is going to be--we know that he's a he, but the name is top secret until he's out in the world and bawling his lungs out.
  • Reading Canadian authors and critics squabble and bicker amongst themselves is one of the best benefits of my studying. Davey vs. Lecker. Davey vs. Atwood. Davey vs. anyone, really. It's like an intellectual celebrity boxing match, but with essays instead of gloves. Highly entertaining, and educating, all at the same time. I just need to stop laughing like a loon in the library, 'cause people are starting to think I'm a bit nuts. It's the Bill
    Bryson syndrome.*
  • September also brings the beginning of yoga classes. 12 weeks of them. I'm not much one for formal exercise sort of things (I walk my ass off--literally--among other things, but "hie thee to the gym" is a call which I will not answer), but I think yoga I can do, and I've got a buddy. I'm pretty damn inflexible at the moment (too much sitting at a desk, I think), and that whole bendy bobcat pretzel thing is a worthy goal.** Not that I'm aiming to be able to put my feet around the back of my head, or anything, but being less rigid than your average fencepost might be nice.
  • It is now way past my bedtime, and I have a day of Frank Davey bashing/analyzing, let me see if I can get this right: E.J. Pratt, Margaret Atwood, Gwendolen MacEwen, the Canadian long poem, postmodernism, thematic criticism, and a bunch of other things I'm sure I forget. And then I have to read James Reaney--poetry and drama. Without drinking coffee, because I'm on a strict 1 cup-a-day regime.*** Time to shut up already! G'night.
*See previous posts re: people looking at me like I'm having a sneezing fit in a SARS clinic when I read Bill Bryson in public. There are a few.
**This is a quote from "Two Weeks Notice," for those of you not up on your Sandy Bullock movies.
***Not to say that Reaney sucks, because he doesn't, despite what Thom thinks. But I might be editing a collection of Reaney's poetry at some point, and it would be a good idea to pay attention, I think.


Anonymous said...

Yay comps! Though, unless has changed, it's an absolute minimum of 18 books (3 per question per day, right?).

Excited that you're getting into Mad Men too. I haven't watched the new season yet, but the 2nd is really really good.

Melissa said...

I seem to be thinking that it's 12 books (3 each for poetry, prose, theory and drama), with two of the 6 questions being sight passages. But I do need to go back and look at the exams again.

I'm loving MM; I'm about 3/4 of the way through Season 2, and things are getting exciting. I'm intrigued to find out how long the time gap is b/w Season 2 and 3. And when Peter is going to find out about you know what, which seems to be inevitable.

Anonymous said...

Ah, of course - the sight passages. My mistake. I only had one, but it may be different for diff areas.