Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Various afflictions and maladies

I'm starting to long for the good ol' days, when anonymous blog commentors actually had some verifiable grounds for trying to accuse me of being an alcoholic. Oh yes, those were the days. Were they really only two months ago?

Instead, this is what my weekends look like. I'm off the bottle and on to sniffing markers. It's a good high.

It certainly explains why my classmates are so chipper to be at school on a Saturday.

And then there was Canzine, which was actually incredibly fun. Even after my designated shift representing at the McClung's table was over, I kept hanging around and circling the room. I couldn't figure out why I just didn't leave, considering the amount of work I had waiting for me at home. And then it all came together--not only was I avoiding homework, but I was actually in a social atmosphere. It was interesting to discover that I'm still capable of conducting conversations.

But I know what you're all really here for. To hear about my eyes, right? Because who isn't interested in the on-going subject of my various medical maladies? (I mean, this is earth-shattering business here--timely, vaguely interesting, and probably makes you feel a hell of a lot better about your own life.) Well, here's the verdict: those black shoes there are my official re-entry to society shoes. I planned my debut, as Natty calls it, for November 6th.

However, according to the eye doctor, the official re-entry to may not actually occur until 2 more weeks from now. It's a virus, and I have to let it runs its course.

My face got pretty mangled with eczema for a while.

But that's gone and I'm nearly ready for action (two weeks from now). "You look really good," people kept commenting today. I figure this has something to do with the fact that I was wearing makeup for the first time in a month (for my grad pictures). And I can't help but think that when people went out of their way to comment on my appearance today, what they were really saying was, "You look way better with makeup on."

Sigh. We can't win all the time.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Kant's Bingo

In the false hope of saving money, we haven't turned on our heat yet.

So when a nightmare wakes me at 2:30 in the morning, I'm not drenched in sweat, but shivering instead. I put on my pajama pants and pull my duvet and afghan around me tighter. I knew I would have a bad dream tonight--Natty is staying at a friend's house, and our own apartment is empty, dark, cold and still.

I had been dreaming that I was playing Scrabulous, and each tile placement was marred with the necessity to weigh the ethical consequences. Would Kant approve if I place this Q beside the I, even though it's not even on a double-letter score? How would teologists feel about only playing the word UH in an effort to dispose of a U? Would this achieve the greatest happiness for everyone involved? How do we measure this happiness? And how is this going to help me beat my prof?

I tossed and turned and sat straight up in bed, groping the the dark for my beside light switch. This is the punishment I get for spending the evening playing Scrabulous when I should have been writing a media ethics paper. (Well, that and the letter grade I'll inevitably recieve.)

I need to develop other interests. I'm even boring myself, now.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Modern Medicine

So, this one time I shared my bed, dirty pillowcases and wet tears with Alex Dodd while I was at the peak of my third pink eye infection. (But he mysteriously didn't get pink eye.) And then there was this other time that I threw out all my eye makeup, contact solution, contact cases, contacts and washed my duvet covers and face cloths every other day, and used antibiotics for over a month. (But the pink eye mysteriously didn't go away.) And then there was this other time, about a month ago, when I told my classmates that there was no way I had simple good ol' pink eye because that was too easy and I exclusively contract unidentifiable illnesses. (Case in point: the time I coughed up blood for a month, and that other time I was dizzy for six weeks straight.)

And then there was today when I went to the doctor again and she told me that it's probably not pink eye.

A month later.

After 2 antibiotics.

After 3 doctor's appointments.

After 5 (roughly) tearfests at school.

After 20 (roughly) of people not wanting to touch anything that I've touched for fear of infection.

But she doesn't know what it is.

But hey, at least she gave me some prescription cream for the eczema! Now maybe my eyelids will stop bleeding!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

This is the life

I'm in the lab right now. Twelve hours later. It's 9 p.m. Mystery eye infection/allergic reaction (which is my new assessment of the situation) still intact. Chloe is massaging Canice.

"I want to have sex in the lab at least one before the end of the year."

"Why are you saying this while you're rubbing my arm?"

(I got my massage earlier. It distracted me while we tried to discuss McClung's story ideas.)

Alina's working on an essay. Nina's staring at values on advertising contracts. Rebecca is telling us a story about her mom while she works on a prototype.

"I was telling her about how we spend all day in the lab and have mini-breakdowns and at least one of us cries every day. But then any time anybody tries to open the door and let the outside world in, we yell at them and slam it shut. We're pretty much hermits."

And now I'm going home. By the time I get home, it will have been a 13 hour day.

And then there's homework to do.

The weird thing is, I'm having fun.

"We're not a family. We're more like a support group. . .and a cess pool of germs."

Friday, October 19, 2007

Dear Aerosmith: Pink is not the love you discover.

To all those assholes with smirks on their faces who keep asking me, "You know where pink eye comes from, don't you?" I challenge you to:

a) find me proof from a source other than a summer blockbuster that pink eye has anything to do with fecal matter and

b) come up with a more creative joke. Because I've had pink eye for nearly a month now, so even though I humoured you and laughed the first six times, it wasn't funny then, and it certainly isn't funny now.

I think this picture was taken when round 2 of the pink eye was starting to clear up. I was angry because my eyelids were still swollen and covered in eczema, and the D. Dodd was on his way to visit.

After over a year of dating (yes, to all the digital friends--I'm still dating Alex Dodd--our relationship just now consists of Scrabulous and 3000 kilometers of sheer land mass between us) I was finally going to meet Alex's mom. We rented a car from National Car Rental, who boast on their wall that they are "ready when you're ready." That's funny, considering that we had to wait 3 hours to get the economy car that we had reserved. (And we didn't even get that--we ended up driving away in a Ford Ranger. I had never driven in Toronto before. It's a good thing that I'm a typical Albertan and learned how to drive in a half ton truck. )

The wait nearly caused us to break up. But only because it gave me more time to stare at Alex Dodd's shoes.

Finally, much later than ancitipated, we started the drive to Owen Sound.

And I took the time to admire my crystal clear eyes. (If only I was to know it wouldn't last.)

Alex Dodd's mom was very much your typical mom. When we went to bed on Saturday night, Alex said to me, "I'm surprised she didn't pull out the baby pictures." However, his mom made up for lost time by pulling them out first thing on Sunday morning. I obligingly flipped through it in the quickest manner possible while his mom made cooing noises. Alex saved me by telling her, "Jess really doesn't like babies." It's true. And really, do I want to think of my boyfriend as a baby? Not exactly a turn-on.

I dropped Alex off in London and started the drive back to Toronto on the 401 alone. It was a route I've been on a dozen times before, but never behind the wheel. Foot on the pedal, weaving through the lanes with ease, I had a distinct moment of feeling like and Ontarion. That is, until I realized I was driving a pickup truck in a sea of minivans and economy cars. It's hard to let go.

The pink eye officially came back full-force on Wednesday night for a third round, complete with oozing and swelling. I went to a doctor again yesterday and she was shocked by the original date for pink eye on my file: September 22nd. Apparently it might be a pink eye superbug, so she took a swab of my eye and sent me off running with a new antibotic.

This can't last forever, right?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Pink Eye in Perspective

I'm going to try and stop bemoaning the pus that keeps oozing from my eyes because as it turns out, pink eye ain't so bad.

Six hours of sitting in the magazine lab revealed symptoms ranging from two potentially serious fevers, to at least five run-on-the-mill colds, a urinary tract infection, panic attacks, yeast infections, and best of all, a case of scabies.

Ah, journalism school. It's the stuff dreams are made of.

(RRJ is the watchdog on the watchdog. Premature Nostalgia is officially turning into the watchdog on the watchdog on the watchdog.)

with hugs and kisses

I had this hilarious dream last night. I was emailing my fellow masthead members, as well as sending interview requests to prominent journalists via email. However, instead of ending each email with a regular salutation, I made the error of signing each email, "Love lots, Jessica."

I wonder that if I did this in real life, would sources actually reply to my phone messages and emails in a timely manner?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Sexy Time at the Pity Party

The first official breakdown allowing me to rank on Carla's RRJ breakdown meter occurred around noon today.

I cried.

Then I ate a falafel pita, drank some sweetened peppermint tea and disrupted masthead by replacing words like "gum" with "game," using politically incorrect phrases, and telling everyone that after three years, I no longer feel shame when they think I'm an idiot for not knowing who some retired Ontarion journalist is.

(This last one was spurred when a classmate asked, complete with interrobang and a look of slight disgust and disbelief on her face; "You don't know who [input name of former journalist turned Ontario policitian] is?!" I don't want to play the 'woe is me, I come from a random small town' card again, but in this case it applies. Let's face it--I grew up in an isolated Albertan town where we only had regular access to one newspaper for the first 14 odd years of my life, and that paper was the Edmonton Journal. Occassionally after returning from a business trip, my dad would bring home the Globe and Mail, but that was a special and foreign treat.

Three years of sometimes living in Toronto can never compare with their 21 years of growing up in a media-saturated hyper environment. I've spent the last 3 years feeling guilty for not knowing who these "obvious" people are, and I'm sick of it. If they were in my situation--"they" being both professors and fellow students--they would feel the same way and would be wondering who Fish Griwkowsky or Todd Babiak or even Lois Hole is. I'm done with the guilt and the shame and the franctically trying to read every news source I can lay my hands on just so I can catch up with my peers.*)

I spent 6 hours sitting in the same chair, in the same room. Three different meetings.

Eleven hours later, I got to go home.

Oh, and I think I have pink eye again. Round 3?

It's definitely sexy time at the pity party.


*This is the first time in three years I've ever said this, and I hope it's the last time I'll ever say it. But it's true: Toronto really does think it's the centre of the universe. This isn't western alienation speaking here. This is the rest of Canada. We exist, and we don't care who your lieutenant governor is, nor do we memorize his name just because he works for the province of Ontario and once wrote for an Ontario paper that I had never even heard the name of prior to 2004.** (I'm in a bad mood and probably will regret writing this. But I'm basically saying that people who have never left their homes, regardless of whether their home is Vancouver or Edmonton or Toronto or Cold Lake, seem to think their home and their politics is the only system of existance. It just seems to be that it's a little more extreme here. But then again, I'm writing this as an outsider.)

**Yes, that's right. I didn't know the Toronto Star existed until 2004. This doesn't make me a bad person. I mean, I knew Toronto would have a paper, but I didn't know what it was called, and I obviously didn't read it. This also totally legitimizes why I thought Guelph was a fictional place like Narnia for the first three months that I lived in Ontario.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Consolation Prize

This should make me feel better, but it doesn't.

In fact, it just reminds me that right now, I'm sharing an ailment with the laughingstock of the continent.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Proof of Residency

I voted in the Ontario election today.

Does this mean I'm officially an Ontarion?

Well, according to Elections Canada, apparently not. Not only did they fail to send me a voter registration card, despite the fact that I registered to vote over a month ago, they also didn't bother to put me on the voter list. It turns out that being an Albertan trying to vote in Ontario is more complicated than trying to get into a bar in London with an out-of-province ID. (Which trust me, is a near impossible feat.)

"Do you have any proof of residency?"

"Well, I just moved, so this is the only piece of mail I've recieved," I said, handing over a letter from the university. Well, the only piece of mail that doesn't have my mom's handwriting on the envelope.

"Usually we won't accept this. Don't you have a bank statement or ID card or phone bill?"

"No. I just moved."

"How about ID?" I handed over my Alberta driver's liscense.

"What's this?" the woman asked me, confused. "What does operator's liscense mean?

"It's my driver's liscense. I don't have Ontario identification."

"So, what kind of liscense?"

"My driver's liscense." I know perfectly well she was trying to get me to say G1 or G2 or G19 or however the hell the liscensing system here works, which I still have yet to figure it, but I chose to ignore her question.

"Okay," she said, brow furrowed, trying to figure out what to put in the little G_ box.

And so on and so on.

All in all, it took me nearly 40 minutes to convince the poll workers that they should let me perform my civic duty. (It also took me 40 minutes to conclude that it would be soooo easy to scam the poll people into letting me vote multiple times. After this incident, and that one time Elections Canada sent me a voter card for the federal election when I was only 16, my faith in the electoral system, MMP or not, is weakening.)

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Making the parents proud.

Brooke has left for Hong Kong, and Natty's mom and little brother have finally departed so I figured it was time to take much overdue pictures of my new place. This is the kitchen. Small, but it works when there's just the two of us living here.

And here's our ridiculously sparse living room. (Spareness is the product of two people from western Canada, who could only bring two suitcases on the plane, living together.) It leads into a solarium, which Natty is currently using as her office. It's comparable in size to Brie's room at China, and we could legimately have a third roomate if it wasn't for the fact that the sunroom reaches subzero temperatures in the winter. (All I want in life right now is a big comfy, overstuffed armchair to put in the solarium. I'd live in it, with a cup of coffee in hand and a thick book for company.)

This is on the main level, where we also have a half bathroom. On the right are stairs leading to the second level, where we have a full bathroom, our bedrooms, a washer & dryer and a balcony off of Natty's room.

I spent all weekend in bed with pink eye, interspered by leaning off the balcony and gazing at passerbys with their clean, white eyeballs. Lucky devils.

On Monday, after baking pumpkin pie and preparing a raspberry blueberry crisp, fall favourites sure to fill you up and warm your insides on a cool autumn day, we headed over to Carla & Gill's for Thanksgiving dinner.

It's too bad it was far from a cool autumn day, with the temperatures hitting nearly 40 degrees on the humidex. Cooking in the heat was unbearable. (Dear Toronto, here's a memo for you: It's October. We can't complain about the heat wave, but this is a little excessive, don't you think?)

It was a Thanksgiving potluck. Adding to my desserts, Natty made mashed potatoes and carrots, and everyone else brought the sweet potatoes, rice, salad and wine. For the meat lovers, Gill and Carla cooked up what I'm sure was a delicious turkey. Unfortunately, out of the roughly 10 attendees, no one had ever carved a turkey before. Jesse valiently made the first attempt.

And failed miserably.

Which is when Carla stepped in and took care of business. That's why she's Editor. (For real. Can you put that in your RRJ bio Carla?)

The night was blissfully free of journalism shop-talk. Instead, we focused on food, Lord David Attenborough, etymology, international development agencies and whether being obsessed with the weather is a product of growing up in Western Canada. It was, after all, an orphan dinner, with most of the attendees hailing from west of the Saskatchewan border (plus one token guest from Brazil). However, I think we concluded that talking about the weather is something we all do obsessively, irregardless of gender, age, or geographical location. In fact, after watching the interactions with the Brazilian, it seems that cross-cultural exchanges always focus on either food or weather.

And there's nothing wrong with that. Although, I'd rather discuss the former.

Natty, ready for action. "How many rounds do you think I'll do?" Nat asked, in reference to how many helpings she could eat. In the end, I think she managed about three helpings plus dessert. Pro.

Gill even made brussel sprouts. Our moms would be proud.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Sing with me now! The pink eye came back, the very next day. . .

After a full week of my classmates complimenting me on my clear, white, infection-free eyes, I woke up this morning to discover that my eyelashes were crusted together with a thick adhesive film.

I'm almost embarassed to admit this, but I have pink eye--AGAIN.

No joke.

But don't worry, I'm not going to post more pictures. I think you all have a pretty good idea of what it looks like (except this time is definitely worse than the last. My right eye is so swollen it's ridiculous.)

I followed all the protocal. I washed all my sheets and linens in hot water. I threw out my contacts. So I was completely baffled about why I once again look like I should be an extra in Dawn of the Dead.

Conclusion: I have no idea how to take antibotics (because I never take them--and usually refuse antibotic prescriptions when doctors try to give them to me) so once my eyes cleared up and looked healthy, I stopped using my eyedrops. However, the bacteria was still thriving, alive and well, waiting for the most opportune time to make their move--which of course, falls on the token day that I actually have enough time to go to the reference library to do some necessary research.

Instead, it looks like I'm going to have to kick back with Capote and transcribe some interviews instead. Happy Thanksgiving.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Weekend Reviews

I think Kaydi put it best when she said that Nuit Blanche, the Scotiabank sponsored free all-night contemporary art thing (their phraseology, not mine), is "just a city-wide, corporation-endorsed pub crawl."

I'd have to agree. I'm sorry, but a yarn shop teaching people to make yarn pom-poms for a massive "pom-pom exchange" is not art. And I don't do line-ups. End of story.

The Clothing Show was also a bust, apart from this silk-screened t-shirt featuring my house! (For real. That's the eaves of my new place in the upper right hand corner above the streetcar.) It was basically a bunch of designers who figured it was a good opportunity to get rid of last season's stock. Annoying. It's a good thing I used my student press pass to get in for free. (I pay $6000 in tuition fees a year for this press pass. I might as well put it to good use.)

In other news, Carla (our loyal and hard-working EIC) informed us today that she has created an "RRJ* Breakdown Meter." I didn't get to grill her for details about what warrants a code red on the meter, because immediately after this annoucement, everyone started trying to one-up each other on how many times in a period of one day they had cried at school so far this year. (I think Rebecca took the prize because she has already cried 3 times in one day.)

It's only October 1st.

I, on the otherhand, am basing my RRJ/McClung's Breakdown Meter on my health. Pinkeye is only like a code yellow. I'm scared to find out what code red is.

Because I know you guys can't get enough of the pink eye photos. (Check out how swollen my right eye was--you can tell because it's waaaaay smaller than my left eye in this photo. Hilarious. But only in retrospect.)

Due to the pink eye, I also had to wear my glasses out for the first time in 5 and 1/2 years of bar-going activities. It's a good thing that the sexy secretary look never goes out of style.


*RRJ=Ryerson Review of Journalism. We live, breathe and eat this magazine. Well, maybe not eat. In fact, most of us are currently in the development stages of our eating disorders; some are subsisting solely off muffins and pizza buns from Dominion, while others are on a strict coffee-only diet.