aderam: (Feed Scotty)
So I have failed at Mac and Cheese?

I don't really understand what happened. This is not the first time that I've made Mac and Cheese from scratch. I've done it twice in the last few months at least. And I'm pretty sure that I followed the same basic steps in order to make the cheese sauce. But this time it did not work out.

The cheese would not join with it's milk brethren to make sauce.

So now I have Mac and Cheese with bacon and onions and not so much a sauce as a slightly more liquidy cheese that I tried to spread as evenly as possible throughout the pasta.

Part of me feels like maybe I added too much cheese... but that can't be because it goes against the most basic tenets of my faith: when in doubt, add more cheese. In fact most of the time when I actually write down a recipe for someone (rare occurrence that it is) if there's cheese involved I always say: "Add lots of cheese. When you think you've got enough then add some more and you'll be golden."

Does Monterey Jack have some weird melting qualities I was unaware of? 'Cause I think that was the only difference between what I'd done before. Teach me to try to use more than just the massive block of No Name Old Cheddar. Clearly I should stick to known cheeses.

It still tastes alright, but it's harder to eat a whole lot because of the solidity of the cheese in places. I think I'll have to get my roommate to help me finish it. Le sigh.
aderam: (Sailor!Data)
Still haven't heard from the job. During the interview she'd said I would hear confirmation sometime "around the 20th". I'm trying not to feel disheartened. I'm not sure it's working.

I had the day off today so I've spent it knitting, watching TV, not bothering to get out of my pyjamas, and freaking out every time I get a new email.

I'm watching Deep Space Nine, because Star Trek is beautiful and optimistic and I love it.

There's an awesome episode at the end of Season 3 called Explorers where Sisko recreates a ship with solar sails that had been invented by the Ancient Bajorans. There's this story that the ancient Bajoran starfarers went all the way to Cardassia - vehemently denied by the Cardassians naturally - but there's no proof. It's an awesome episode. Because Sisko is doing experimental archaeology (which is the most fun kind of archaeology) and all of the conversations are questions that people keep saying about all sorts of things in the history of Earth. And there're sails! And Jake being cool. And the B plot involves O'Brien and Bashir being space bros and getting drunk together.

Star Trek is the best.

Important life questions: if you lived in the 23rd century and had the option of joining Star Fleet, would you?

I totally would.

Secondary important life question: What colour do you think the archaeology department would be?

I feel like it would fall under the Sciences - so Blue. But communications is Red.

Or do you think that Starfleet wouldn't take archaeologists on their exploration missions? If the Federation has a version of Inter-Planetary Expeditions (like in Babylon 5) I would be cool with that too.
aderam: (Smiley Allison)
Some friends recently told me that I should watch The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, and since I'd already heard the name bouncing around the internet I got curious.

What are The Lizzie Bennet Diaries? you ask. (Or maybe you don't, because unlike me you actually manage to keep up with the cool things that are happening on the internet.) - Well. It's a modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice (as you might expect) that is being told on the internet through Elizabeth Bennet's video blog (and some sidebar video blogs by other characters).

And it shows exactly why I tend to like modern retellings of classic stories, sometimes better than the original.

Classic stories are classic for a reason. They're really good. And usually they're also really old. The really old part is where problems come in. Because writing styles, and laws, and values change a lot over time. So P&P is a great story but when I read (or watch a good historical adaptation - like the BBC mini series) it's also a mental exercise - like reading tough Sci Fi - because I have to try and understand what the fuck the characters are thinking. When you read P&P you have to remember that women are not as important as men, that there aren't that many men around because there's a war on (this is the hardest to remember because Austen doesn't really mention it), and that Mrs. Bennet is not as crazy as you think - sure she's weird, but she's putting all her efforts into making sure her daughters are alright, which is quite noble even if her methods are suspect. (This is a point I have a hard time remembering.)

But modern retellings, when done well, take all the good story bits and make them easier to understand. And you can wallow in the characters and the plot without having to stop and retrospectively seethe for all the women in that time period who weren't allowed to be people.

But I digress.

The point of this post is that The Lizzie Bennet Diaries is AWESOME. And I love the way they tell the story because I feel like it shows off the characters better. I mainlined all the episodes they have so far yesterday, they're not quite done the story yet but they've gotten to the story equivalent of Lydia living unwed with Wickham (I won't tell you how they do it for modern day - spoilers!). And here are the things that I liked:

- Even though they're Lizzie's video blogs her faults and the narrowness of her views and opinions are extremely clear. Her portrayals of the other characters are so hilarious and over the top and the way that the other characters actually appear occasionally on the blog makes so much sense.
- Charlotte has real character development and is awesome! - And the way they do the Mr. Collins storyline is brilliant. BRILLIANT.
- Darcy is a Hipster!
- Everything about Lydia is amazing. Her whole storyline is so well done, with a great hint of meta. Because Lydia is awesome and she's talking about how she deserves what is happening to her ("and that's what everyone's saying, right?") which I think is how Lydia the character in the book is treated. Hell, that's kinda how I felt about her. It's so awesome to be called out about your opinions about a character!
- Lizzie is a Grad Student. Of course she is!
- Somehow this weird format went from hilarious joking into deep emotional stuff without skipping a beat. My Heart!
- Bingley is actually a Med Student named Bing Lee. Which means that he's Asian. But also that his first name is Bing. Which is phenomenal for making jokes.

I feel like this only works in part because we know the story so well. Classics are classic for a reason and being able to have a whole video of Lizzie ranting mostly incoherently about what a dick Darcy is with very little hints to the context is a luxury that the producers can afford because we already know what happened at the ball when the Bennets first meet Bingley and Darcy. Instead of being confusing it's amusing and tantalizing because we want to know more about how it turned out in this version.

So yeah. It's weird because I'm pretty sure I like this better than I do P&P, but The Lizzie Bennet Diaries couldn't exist without P&P. I think this is part of why I like fanfic and comic book movies and rebooting franchises (although I generally prefer new stories to retelling the same one over again). Because all of the story and tradition behind the new work helps shape it and make it bigger and more substantial. It's like how every retelling of the Iliad says more about the time of the retelling than it does about the fall of Troy or the Dark Ages of Greece when Homer wrote down the story.

This got thinky. Sorry. I haven't been a Grad Student in over a semester - I think my analytical brain has recovered.

BUT the point is that if you like P&P and modern stories told in new and fun ways then you should watch The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. You can find the videos here.

(That link has all the videos in chronological order. I've only watched the youtube playlist with just Lizzie's videos so far because the biggest problem with this series is that through striving for verisimilitude it took me a while to find where to watch everything and not just Lizzie's perspective. To be fair I was also distracted.)

Episode 1!
aderam: (Canadian Rink)
Hockey is filled with woe for me right now - and the worst part is that it's not just the NHL and the NHLPA with their lockout bullshit (although they did just cancel the first two weeks of the season FML).

We're having issues with my hockey team. The Ice Birds. Or rather, not with the Ice Birds (we're still awesome) but with our league.

Last year we had four teams. But the fourth team often had problems getting enough players. So this year it looked like it was going to be just three teams: us, the Likastix, and the Pirates. Then about a week ago or so we heard from the league manager that the Pirates were falling apart. They didn't have enough players and their team organizer wanted to go down to part-time and so there wasn't really a driving organizational force. This meant that there were only two teams committed, and you can't have a league with only two teams. :(

So a bunch of the pro-active and awesome women on my team were brainstorming and coming up with various possible solutions. The League manager had offered that we could join the lowest level of the mens leagues. But somebody looked at the scores online and the one team in that league that has three female players was at the bottom of the league and the goal differential was frankly staggering. We were already out-shot and out-scored by a lot in all of our games in our league, so I can only imagine what would've happened to us in that league. So we're not doing that.

In the meantime while players from our team are trying to recruit women to come and help save our league, the Likastix buggered off and joined another women's league. So that pretty much canned that idea.

What we're thinking of doing for this year anyway (because naturally we should have heard about this in August so we could actually do something productive), is to grab one of our regular ice time slots and hold it for drop in hockey with the Ice Birds and whoever else wants to show up. It's affordable if we can get about twenty people, which seems doable.

I feel like I'm in a weird spot though, because I'm the goalie and as part of the league I haven't been paying fees (I'm not sure if it's a league policy or if it's a team policy - but either way it's great for me). Because frankly I can't afford to play if I have to pay fees. But if it's just drop-in hockey then goalies aren't really necessary, and I already feel a little weird about not paying when everyone else has to. Although just about everyone has said quite clearly that they'd much rather I be there so they don't have to play in net.

Plus I've also been (thinking about) looking into campwork in northern Alberta, which would take me away from home (and therefore hockey) for weeks at a time. If it's just drop in hockey then that's also pretty good for me because I don't have to feel guilty about putting them in a goaltender-needing spot. But real games and real hockey is better than drop-in by a lot.

I really love playing in net and honestly I wouldn't be able to afford to play at all if I didn't have the goalies-don't-pay-fees thing. But sometimes I wish I didn't have to have the responsibility along with it. I know in the end that for work and everything I need to make decisions that are best for me, but I also really don't want to have to reneg on my hockey commitments.

Photo only sort of related:
Photobucket

The Sun

Jun. 9th, 2012 09:09 pm
aderam: (Atlantis)
Every now and then it really gets to me how much further North I'm living than I ever have before. I'm still pretty damn close to the US boarder, but when I lived in Ontario I was well below the 49th (if I remember correctly from the charts and things when sailing we were around the 44th or 45th), and I think that Halifax was even further South, although not by a whole lot.

When I was in Undergrad I sailed from Halifax to Kingston one summer, going up around the outer bit of Cape Breton and through the Gulf into the St. Lawrence River. The sun set on my watch throughout that trip and every day as we got further north into the Gulf you could see it setting later and later. And then it did the opposite once we started heading south again up the river. That was so cool.

The Northyness (technical term) of Vancouver is really noticeable with the sun and all. In the Winter around the Solstice the sun would set shortly after four, and depending on how overcast it was that day sometimes it would start to get dark around 3:30 or earlier. Now that we're heading towards the Summer Solstice the days are getting really long. It's 9:15 and the sun is only just starting to set. It feels like at least an hour different from what I remember in Ontario and Nova Scotia - probably more.

I remember last year I went down to Wreck Beach with a bunch of the Greenies and built sandcastles while avoiding the awkward naked people (for the record, it's a nudist beach, and I have no problems with the naked people, just the creepy ones - and it's always the creepy ones who decide to talk to you). When the sun started to set we just started yelling at it until it was all the way down. It was almost 10pm at that point.

I like it.

It's really cool to be able to see so clearly the movement of our tiny planet around the sun. Especially since the change in the weather isn't so much to show off the change in seasons here in Vancouver.

But it's also weird. I was thinking about curling up in bed and reading until I was ready to sleep. 9pm is in no way too early for that to be a reasonable choice - but it just seems odd when I could still see the sunlight from my dark basement window.

:)

When does the sun go down where you are these days?
aderam: (Reality)
One of the other students in my residence was talking about this the other day so I watched it. It's all things that I knew already, but it's still quite overwhelming to have it laid out so clearly in one place like this. She's very well spoken. Actually I think one of the saddest things about this phenomenon is that the number of views on YouTube are in the low 200s. And actually, when I first saw it it was around 100. I strongly believe that the majority of that extra hundred are a direct result of T telling us about it. So, in an effort to up the view-count and share the word, I'm spreading the link.

The description from YouTube:
In this new, highly anticipated update of her pioneering Killing Us Softly series, the first in more than a decade, Jean Kilbourne takes a fresh look at how advertising traffics in distorted and destructive ideals of femininity. The film marshals a range of new print and television advertisements to lay bare a stunning pattern of damaging gender stereotypes -- images and messages that too often reinforce unrealistic, and unhealthy, perceptions of beauty, perfection, and sexuality. By bringing Kilbourne's groundbreaking analysis up to date, Killing Us Softly 4 stands to challenge a new generation of students to take advertising seriously, and to think critically about popular culture and its relationship to sexism, eating disorders, and gender violence.



Parts 2 through 4 )

This sort of thing strikes a cord with me because I'm a size 20 and almost certainly couldn't be smaller than a 14 even if I didn't have any fat on me at all. I am not represented in media. Anyone who's my size is black (this is another problem).

Anyway, to avoid complete depression here's a link to a Catherine Tate Picspam, which I found using google-fu to combat negativity with the awesomeness of a "plus-sized", firey red-head, beautiful companion to the Doctor.

Also I recently started watching Misfits (AWESOME) and Kelly is another good example of a woman who is not super skinny and gets to have sex with her boyfriend on screen and be shown changing and just generally being awesome.

(North American Television industry - will you please learn something from the UK!?!)

In conclusion, Pink is awesome:
aderam: (I Hate Everything)
I'm totally procrastinating from life right now.

Everything is changing so avoidance is my middle name!

But things are changing for the good really. I got my first choice of Masters program, I'm moving to Beautiful British Columbia (where I can stalk my favourite TV actors), and I'm going to Italy again to do archaeology - although this time it's a different dig.

I've got questions I need answered, housing applications to get done, crap that needs to be organized.

But right now... Right now I'm procrastinating life. Life - I've put you on hold. I need some me time. And I'll deal with you later.

In the mean time I'll gladly accept any fun things on the internet you might like to point me towards. :)
aderam: (Default)
Today is December 6th. I don't always remember the day, but I always remember that this time of year is anniversary of the Montréal Massacre. For those of you who haven't heard of it (I have no idea if anyone in the States ever remembers it), twenty years ago today 14 female engineering students were murdered by some insane jealous guy who thought that they were stopping him from being able to go forward in Engineering. He walked into a classroom, told all the men to leave and then shot the women and himself. I don't know if this is standard, but in my tradition of commemorating this terrible event no one ever mentions his name (in fact when someone in my class asked, our teacher refused to say - good on her, I say), I don't know it, and I don't want to know it. Instead we remember the names of the women. I remember when I first heard about the Massacre (or at least when I was first able to understand about it) my grade seven teacher told us that she had been in University when the attack took place. And one of her teachables was science. Afterwards she took up Tai Kwon Do and by the time she was my teacher she'd reached either brown or black belt (something really high up anyway) and she gave us a demonstration several weeks later. (This is the same teacher who dressed as Trinty from the Matrix for Hallowe'en, she's really cool.)

I'm not in engineering, but I know lots of women who are. And it's the same principle in Classics, it's only fairly recently that there are female professors and most of them aren't high ranking yet. But there are more and more female grad students going into the field. Classics has been an old boys club for about 300 years and we're learning about old boys clubs in the ancient world. and it's often assumed that just because I'm female I'll want to learn about women in ancient society - I hate that. So it still really hits close to home for me. And somehow it's worse that it happened in Canada. I know that in some ways it's irrational, but I just don't associate gun violence with my country.

[personal profile] hobbitbabe, who is actually the first woman in North America to have her PhD in Welding Engineering (go her), wrote up some good stuff about her feelings here. And she names the fallen.

A lot of this commemoration has been sublimated into awareness of violence against women in general, but although I agree with that it also bugs me that no one ever mentions the men who were forced to leave. I don't even know how many of them there were, but I can't imagine how these students would feel. And I don't want to take anything away from the women who were killed, but it always bothers me that no one wants to talk about their plight. Violence against women effects men too, and not just the men who are perpetrating the act. I'm not sure if I can think of many things that are more psychologically scarring than being helpless in the face of violence aimed at your friends.

In Halifax there's a walk to raise awareness about violence against women and at the end of it either in addition to or instead of a moment of silence the crowd has a moment of screaming and yelling, because silence is kind of the problem. That often made me tempted to go, but I never did because while I agree with what is being said I hate how often these things go to extremes. And blanket ideas like "all men are evil" bother me and get in the way of my own observance even when they are only implied.

I have more things I could say that are controversial and explain my views about how gender issues are complicated. But I think that debate would somehow debase the point of this entry.

Twenty years ago today fourteen women were killed because they wanted to learn and be a part of a field of study which is still male-dominated today. It is my greatest hope that things have changed.
aderam: (Merlin Stairs - ultimate_trick)
"Each person has his own custom, his own practice; the Divine Mind has distributed various guardians to the various cities; as particular souls are given to mortals at birth, so, too, are heavenly geniuses divided among peoples. Utility, which is the clearest proof of the existence of the gods to mortals, adds to this argument. For as all human reason moves about in the dark, whence can knowledge of the gods come better than from the memory and documents of favours done in the past? If the long passage of time lends authority to religion, faith must be kept with so many centuties, and out parents must be followed by us, as they so fortunately followed theirs. ... What does it matter by what rational system the truth is sought? It is not possible to come by one path to so great a truth." (On the Altar of Victory 3.8-9)
- Senator Symmachus in AD 384 writing to ask that Augustus' Altar of Victory (Actium) not be removed.
aderam: (The Hat - _silent_rage_)
Did you know that the number of people who go to the University's counseling services increases by 150% (or some such large number) in the month of February?

I still haven't found my motivation for schoolwork yet. Which is kinda sucky because I do actually like my classes and my profs. Although I seriously suspect that being able to scrape by without terrible consequences hasn't helped.

Sometimes I wish that I could just Hibernate throughout the month of February. Just curl up in my room with tv on DVD/the internets, and interesting books with little to no thought requirement. Make full use of my amorphous blob comforter and the sweatpants with King's written on the Bum. Emerging only for food and hot showers and Hockey Night in Canada.

The Bears have totally got it right.

Although I totally wouldn't want to wake up to two hungry cubs and the Arctic Tundra.

The agenda for tonight: Screw "Two Years Before the Mast" and Hesiod, I'm going to watch more Six Feet Under.

I am such a bad student right now.
aderam: (Marvin - awakencordy)
I, like everyone else, am in love with this man, and every time he says things like this I love him all the more. This link is to a Blog which has made Joss the first recipient of the "Sexy Brain" Award, and it's worth reading if only because of the way they describe the brain as a sexual object, but what you should really look at is the video clip of Joss talking at this Equality Now thingy. Normally I'm not a huge fan of the "women are so great!" stuff, not because women aren't great, but because I think their gender has little to do with their greatness. However that video clip almost made me cry (which may have been because it was about 4 in the morning and I was really tired). Go Joss.

http://someofnothing.blogspot.com/2007/11/joss-whedon-sexy-brain.html

Added bonus: this link is from [livejournal.com profile] therealjae and it's Joss talking about the Writer's Strike. Very much awesomeness.

Joss' Whedonesque Post (Yeah, I realize you've probably already read it, but it is made of win.)
aderam: (Default)
Pardon my French.

I realize that as a university student in North America I'm in the vast minority because of this view, and let me tell you, it really sucks. In this Wikipedia-centered culture every time there's a question about any kind of fact whatsoever, the answer has become "Wikipedia!" And every time that happens I have to explain why I refuse to go to that site in order to find something out that can just as easily be found through Google. In the end it's this attitude with which I have a problem.

I've heard all the arguments in favour of Wikipedia, and I've found that I hate debating the topic because I always end up feeling like an asshole. For example: Argument in Favour #1 - Freedom of Information. Honestly, how the hell am I supposed to argue against that without seeming like an elitist bastard? Well, maybe I am an elitist bastard, but I'm not sitting here and complaining about Wikipedia because it annoys me that the masses (and isn't that a lovely derogatory word?) have access to information. I hate Wikipedia because it is a part of this culture of entitlement that has developed because of the internet.

Wikipedia is part of the greater system of disrespect for intellectual property that has become so widespread in my generation. I have actually had people tell me that it was dumb to rent movies when you could download them off the internet for free (tell me I don't have to explain how wrong that is). Call me old fashioned, but I've always believed in paying for something that is of worth to me. And intellectual property is no different. Just because it doesn't have any packaging or material substance doesn't mean that it didn't take a lot of work to make, and isn't worth a lot of money. And yeah okay, most of the stuff on Wikipedia can be found on the internet in general and we're not paying for that per se, but that's not the problem. The problem is that people think that Wikipedia is a real Encyclopedia. And now one of you is going to jump down my throat and point out that they've done studies and Wikipedia is actually almost as accurate as the Encyclopedia Britannica, but that's not the POINT. The point is that people should get paid for their work, and when Wikipedia becomes The Source of information it cheapens the achievements of people who are doing this for a living.

Think about textbooks for a second. Everyone complains about how much we have to spend on textbooks (Hell, I've even complained a little bit about it when I have to buy small hardcovers that are $50 - the works of Virgil), but when you really think about it, about all the work and time and effort that has culminated in that text (imagine the number of times that the works of Virgil had to be copied by hand in order for it to survive for us to read, not to mention the more recent work of reconciling the discrepancies in the manuscripts and punctuating the entire blasted thing), the amount you're paying is quite reasonable. And if you can't afford it, there's always the library. (And Wikipedia is not the solution to underfunded libraries. Also I maintain that if you don't have the time to go to the library then you don't really need to know that piece of information, yeah sure, it'd been nice, but it would be nice if I had a million dollars too.)

Information and education is a privilege. In a perfect world would have unlimited access to both, but I think that we can all agree that this isn't a perfect world.

And it really sucks because there are a lot of things about Wikipedia that I would love if they we're trying to be "the free encyclopedia". The software is great for posting up information on TV shows and books, sports, and other cultural phenomena that aren't covered in normal encyclopedias. But I also feel like I have to be all or nothing. If I use Wikipedia suddenly my arguments against it are undermined [kinda like how guilty I feel every time I actually think about what it means that I download episodes of TV off the internet (I am so pissed off that iTunes doesn't sell them in Canada. So. Pissed. Off)].

So I won't ever use Wikipedia. Please stop asking me to. You can use it if you like, I won't hate you just because I hate it.

Sorry this ended up coming out; it's been bubbling beneath the surface for quite some time now. I think I even have a word file somewhere which is entitled "Rant - the evils of an internet society", in which I was feeling angry and pompous apparently. But this is the one aspect of the internet that I hate, which makes me feel very unhappy because I love the internet.

Feel free to tell me how wrong I am, but I might not respond. I'm generally not a big fan of these kinds of debates because they never change my mind, and they only ever end with me being really upset and rehearsing points I should have made while being an insomniac (not my favourite state of being, I'm sure you understand).

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