Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Friday, April 24, 2009

Urban Warrior


Hi, this is my draft
of which I wanted you to tell
if I was on the right lead.
I was suppose to bring in office hours yesterday. Sorry if 8h00 pm
is a little late
for you.


An email received from a desperate student the night before the term paper due date. Made me seriously doubt my teaching ability.

The student received an extension.
Park Avenue Montreal (Image)

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Alphabet Stories

From my sister Suzanne:

"I just recalled I had a friend once (long ago) -- he had a Masters of English literature degree from McMasters -- he loved the letter "e" and would steal it from signs, books, written material,etc. He had quite a collection. He may be dead by now eeeeeeeeeeeeeee."

Friday, April 17, 2009

Signs and Symbols

This is an excerpt from a recent email exchange between me and my friend of almost 25 years, David. Very smart guy. I love that he tolerates my (frequent) Archie Bunkerisms. He has been both a computational linguist and a dishwasher. And I, a barmaid and teacher. We often discuss punctuation when we aren't ranting about various movie boyfriends and the state of the world (and recipes for girl drinks that end up green).

en media res

David: I'm weaning myself off semi-colons. Oh, how I love them!

Me: You are such an excellent writer, Dave -- always have been. Hah...I love the semi-colons too...my favourite punctuation mark. Are you at home?
Me: I also like question marks, though...especially the upside down one in Spanish.

David: I'm becoming dangerously fond of the em-dash. Or should I say em—dash?
Me: I like that too, but I don't know how to format it properly and it often looks like a double hyphen like this --

David: I dunno... double hyphen is double hyphen. Em-dash is its own character. The big question is — and here I insert this interjective clause—does it get set off with flanking spaces or jam up against the words it comes between? Wars have started over less.

Me: Don't get me started!! Hah. Interesting question re the em dash thing.
I prefer it to the double hyphen, but don't know how to do it on my
keyboard. What a loser....xm
David: Macintosh-type computer? It's either Command-hyphen or Command-Shift-hyphen or something like that. On Windows it's wait-for-rain-stand-outside-arms-akimbo-moaning-gently-call-help-desk-send-money-to-Gates-Foundation-shift-control-esc-delete-F1-F3-left-hand-yellow-right-foot-blue-TWISTER! (Starring Helen Hunt and Bill Paxton-cum-Pullman.)

- Show quoted text –

(I love the quoted text the most, especially David's)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Bad Moods and Teeth

A sample chat:
3:34 PMme: Hola ??
3:49 PM Sarah: Hello
r u la?
3:50 PM me: Yes.
Wot up?
Sarah: Nottin'
me: What are you doing at work?
Sarah: I'm in a bad mood.
me: How come?
Sarah: Tedious stuff.
Work is pissing me off.
me: Why?
3:51 PM Sarah: I don't want to get into it.
me: Ok.
I am on meds for high blood pressure now.
Eff. Me.
It's not a big deal. BUT it makes me feel OLD.
Sarah: oh crap.
Yer not old.
me: If one more doctor says "As we get older..." yadda yadda.
3:52 PM Sarah: It's also hereditary.
me: I'm serious. It's bumming me out. Yes. BUT no one is saying anything about that.
Not one medical dude ...
"As we get older...
it takes longer for injuries to heal."
Sarah: Well... it's hereditary.
me: "We have to take care of things..."
3:53 PM blah d. blah.
Sarah: You have a great lifestyle. You take care of yourself.
me: Even the goddam dentist was like "As we get older..." At the time, I didn't realize she was speaking to me, and I actually turned my head to see who she was speaking with.
Sarah: lol
me: It's tru.
3:54 PM Sarah: I believe you.
me: Then she pulled out my wisdom teeth. And they weren't cooperating because I'm old and the roots go down to my ankles. I had to go to a dental surgeon because "As we get older..."
I hate that.
3:55 PM Enuff of that.
Sarah: Yes I hear you.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Writing and Perception

Here is a recent gmail chat with Sarah. I am seeking support and typing too quickly: the digital equivalent of being a bad listener.

me: You could tell me if the blog is bad. I am so self-conscious about writing.
Sarah: No it's good.
me: Then tell your friends to read it.
4:06 PM Sarah: I now just have to be careful re: what I write.
me: Careful in what way? I would NEVER identify -- oic...just got it...Forget about telling your friends.
Mebbe you should be on my blog team.
4:07 PM Whatever that is.
Or guest blog.
I wouldn't choose topics that would make u or your friends look bad.
Sarah: I am a follower.
me: Mainly it's about me.
4:08 PMU not really a follower.
This is like David [Sarah's younger brother] saying he was a crybaby.
Just doesn't match the truth of who you are.
Self perception is fucked up.
Here was poor old David thinking he was a crybaby when he got hisself broken up in so many ways when he was just a little baby, little like the twins.
4:09 PMSarah: Dude... I follow your blog... I'm right there under followers.
me: Sandra [my sister-in-law] and I tried very hard at Heather's wedding to disabuse him of this idea he had about himself.
Oh yeah...follower. lolololol
I am seriously laughing my ass off.
Right off.
Maybe we should send this chat to David.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Mad Ad World

Last night I was watching American Idol and I got so excited by the
final performance of the evening, a song done by this kid who sometimes looks a little goth and/or what is being called emo, I think (Adam Lambert). Anyway all of the other contestants predictably choose total CRUD and he miraculously chooses Tears for Fears "Mad World" and I'm thinking, "Holy shit; this guy's the real deal. Someone has finally chosen something worthy, something indicative of artistry, context and talent." They had to select a song from the year of their birth. I was so excited. And naive. Still.

Here is part of my (very necessary) cultural debriefing yahoo chat with Cinderelli (a.k.a Sarah my niece in Toronto):

merrianne(1:14 PM): Okay. So. I gotta talk about American Idol because
in the years of that stupid show NO ONE has ever picked an excellent
song that was NOT already a commercial hit...someone sang a Tears for
Fears song last night and it really was awesome. They all choose such
effing crap. And this was inspirational.
merrianne(1:16 PM): Really was. I couldn't believe it. I was waiting
for some shitty bon jovi or effing dreck from cold play or other junk
and was so surprised. Well, it wouldn't have been cold play, but some
80s version of anthem rock that is just nauseating.

Sarah(1:16 PM): sorry on the phone...

merrianne(1:17 PM): That's okay. I'm kind of on a rant about Idol and
terrible 80s music...when IN FACT there was a lot of great 80s music.
merrianne(1:18 PM): I always thought that maybe there was some
licensing thing that prevented the contestants from actually choosing
the good stuff. Wrong oh wrong.

Sarah(1:18 PM): They are too young.

merrianne(1:18 PM): Tru dat.

Sarah(1:18 PM): They were born in the 8os if not 90s.

merrianne(1:19 PM): BUT if you were really into music and wanted to
be a singer wouldn't it be your hobby to know a lot about it?
merrianne(1:19 PM): Especially if you were chosen to be on a huge TV
show and know that you're gonna have to choose songs. Why choose all
the shit?

She responds with this by facebook:
"The reason that kid knows the song is because it was re-done
recently... like a year or two ago... and it was in a commercial that
got alot of play for a video game."


I was devastated and wanted to twitter it, but I blogged it here instead. I wanted to be wrong and maybe not so old and I didn't want the video game featured in the youtube video to get free advertising, but I guess it did anyway last night. Media mayhem indeed.

Friday, April 3, 2009

A Bilingual Chat with Sarah

I love Sarah very much. She is my niece. We chat every day, many times a day. She lives in Toronto with her husband and twins. I live in Montreal. Sarah is completely bilingual. Me, not so much. I butcher English too. And Spanish. This is mainly a test blog. Forgive moi.
me: u d'aire?
Sarah: oui allo?
4:28 PM me: j'suis ici...
tete tro occupee?
Sarah: quoi?
un peu... pas vraiment
me: me, I'm am writing in the french. y
4:29 PM or yo yo yo...
Sarah: on vas avoir du gateau dans une couple de minutes
4:30 PM on celebre les enfants nees en fevrier
dans notre bureau
me: u lucky dog.
que bueno!
Sarah: i never eat it though
me: have a good slice...xoxom
why the cake?
Sarah: only on my birthday month
4:31 PM i just have an extra coffee
me: is it someone's bday?
4:32 PM Sarah: every month we celebrate birthdays of the people born in that month
it's cake day
me: kewl.
Sarah: i gatta go sing now
me: okay buh buye.