Curriculum Meme Updates! 

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Three of the curriculum meme taggees have published their curriculums.

David added four courses to the curriculum. The courses I could also use are:
British Columbia Geography 399
Clueless about where all of those places in the Lower Mainland are? Can’t tell Nootka from Bella Coola (or even Bela Lugosi?) This course will get you straightened out, with numerous field trips to various BC geological and cultural landmarks. Students will compare topological maps to actual terrain via helicopter and float-plane fly-overs, and at the end of the semester, the class will pool their newly gained knowledge at a Spa retreat in Tofino.
Prerequisite: None, except for a hefty tuition fee
A course that requires helicopter and float-plane trips? A spa retreat? In Tofino? I like this!

And then there's:
Speed Reading 205
Using a variety of techniques, students will endeavor to double, triple, and eventually quintuple their reading speed while gaining comprehension and retention of material, with the ultimate goal of ingesting Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov in 23 minutes.
Prerequisite: Reading Glasses for those who are losing their vision. That means you, Drucker.
I've always wanted to read The Brothers Karamazov and the rest of Dostoevsky's oeuvre. With the teetering pile of books beside my bedside, followed by the floor-to-ceiling shelf, plus a list of hundreds of other books waiting for me, I thought Dostoevsky had to wait until I was 75.

Next, Ryan responded to the meme with five extremely practical courses. The most useful for me was (italics are mine):
Silence 101
Knowing when to shut up
A brief history of silence, techniques for keeping quiet, how to hold one's tongue, tact tactics, and the delicate art of being thought a fool rather than confirming it. No lecture: course is offered by correspondence and an in-person lab component.
Finally, Matt responds with five more courses, including:
LIT1105 – Reading the Books that You Buy
One hour weekly discussion group aimed at encouraging students to manage their priorities in order to read the steadily increasing stack of books which their unquenchable love of fiction drives them to purchase. Each week, students will bring to class a book already in their possession which they have completed reading during that week, convincing any other students who own but haven't read the same book why they should make time for it as well.
See Speed Reading 205 above.

Another course in the Matt curriculum that I would take is:
CINE2313 – Film Name-Dropping for the Cinematically Challenged
Survey course for students who desire to extend their repertoire of film actors, directors, writers and other cast and crew in order to speak intelligently about cinema in mixed company. No films will be viewed during the course, as it is presumed that students have already viewed most of them, but simply cannot recall the individuals who contributed to each work. Upon course completion students will be able to give a convincing diatribe contrasting Hal P. Warren's use of frontier imagery with that of Sergio Leone's, and will be able to connect Toshiro Mifune to Kevin Bacon in only three degrees.
Looking forward to reading other curriculum memes!


Imaginary Curriculum Meme 

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

I'm just waiting for myself to stop posting here, to let this blog drift off into obscurity. Too many people know me now and I can't bear to shock them or make them not like me by posting how anti-baby or how pro-piranha I really am. I think the best thing to do is switch back to handwritten diaries and turn my back onto the online world.

Then, after many years, I get tagged by a meme! And it's a brilliant one!

It's from Bluewyvern, a smart cookie I met in New York (and I am still honoured that you went hours out of your way to meet me, dear Blue).

The premise of this new meme goes like this:

1. Make up with 5-6 courses you'd like to take in order to fix up something in your life.

2. Use at least one course from the tagger as it's more fun to take a course with a friend.

3. Tag five others.

My courses with Bluewyvern? They are:
Dance 102: Social Dance for Non-Dancers
A primer in basic moves for a number of popular and iconic dance styles. You will also work towards developing your own personal, portable freestyle. Comfortably own the dance floor at any social venue. Prerequisite: Posture, Poise, Personality.
Because I am a hopeless dancer. You would never know I was a hot-blooded Latina if you only saw my hopeless dancing. I have less rhythm than the pastiest of white people.
Small Talk Workshop: Advanced Techniques and Topics for Social Mastery
This practical course focuses primarily on in-class practice sessions guided by the instructor. Learn how to keep a conversation flowing seamlessly, ways to move beyond the weather, dealing with unpleasant people, social conventions, appropriate formulas for a variety of situations (polite refusal, soliciting favors, disengagement, etc.), networking, and more.
Hoo boy, would this ever help me out in situations when I am not public speaking. In a blog post I wrote yesterday but will never publish, I rather like public speaking (sometimes I speak to thousands), but I dread talking around the water cooler. Ask the other person questions about themselves, I mutter to myself. Usually by the time I think of anything, the conversation partner is across the office chatting up about the cookies-and-broccoli centrepiece.

The rest of my curriculum:

Arachnid Wrangling 102
On successful completion of the course you will be able to undergo successful removal of spiders and scorpions from your environment, both with utensils and bare hands. Prerequisite: Insect Squashing 101.

History of the Modern Board Game 200
A survey course of board games from 1995 to the present, with special emphasis on award-winning German games. Students will be graded on the creation of a strategic board game with lots of stuff to buy.

Advanced Hair Tweaking for Tomboys 215
From braids to 8os style side ponytails and pigtails, students will learn the methodology behind complex hairstyles, in this hands-on course. Successful students will be able to plait their hair painlessly and without a hair out of place. Prerequisite: Ponytails 100.

The Graphic Novel as History 301
Learn about modern and contemporary history through Herge's Tintin, Goscinny and Uderzo's Asterix, Barks' Donald Duck, Spiegelman's Maus, Nakazawa's Barefoot Gen, Satrapi's Persepolis, Sacco's Safe Area Goražde, Brown's Louis Riel and more.

Intermediate Cuy Divining 302
This course teaches potential fortune-tellers humane techniques of foretelling the future via guinea pig entrails. By the end of the course, students should predict their own deaths and pick out winning lottery tickets. Extra fee for supplies (portable ultrasounds) $26,000.

Intensive Novel-Writing 400
Why settle for writing a novel in 30 days with the temptation of television, internet and house-cleaning? Let us lock you up in a sparse dungeon from September until April, or whenever you have a novel fit for submission to a publishing house. Novel completion guaranteed with our patented "no food after April 30" technique.

Massage Collection Techniques 450
Ever wish you could effortlessly maneuver your shoulders under someone's fingers after a hard day's work? This course will teach you how to elicit sympathy massages from friends, family, even strangers on your commute. Learn how expert massage-getters groom themselves to invite shiatsu, hot stone, deep tissue and even aromatherapy massages from those who never considered themselves masseuses before. Taught by the Swedish prime minister.

Decorative Flourishes 499
Impress potential lovers and intimidate your minions with a mere pen! This studio course is for anyone who needs a dramatic signature. Using Elizabethan and Medieval European sources, students will learn develop their own exaggerated handwriting through the study of Celtic crosses, curlicues, flourishes and twisty things. Assignments include signing credit cards and spray can tagging. Prerequisite: Scribbling 100.

I pass on the torch to Matt, Maikopunk, David, Rurality, Oana, that Raspberry chick, Miss 604, the Drunken Monk, and Ryan. That's more than five taggees, but I think these people can come up with brilliant stuff.


Lucian's Funeral 

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

This morning at 10:30 am, after procrastinating for a long time, I buried Lucian in a corner of our neighbourhood park:

Lucian's Gravesite

With my new trowel, I managed to get only about 5 cm into the ground below a blackberry bush:

Lucian in Grave

The plaid thing is his shroud. A pair of Matt's boxers collapsed recently and this morning Matt asked me where the clothing recycling bag is - after Matt left for work, I cut the butt part off to make the shroud. Don't worry: the boxers were freshly laundered.

I collected dirt from around the park to augment the mound on the grave.

I took one last photograph of Lucian in the sunshine. It was, I realized, the only time he ever had the sun on his face.

Shrouded Lucian

A friend reminded me about Lucian a few months ago and then I cried.

Matt wondered if Ivan the cat knew all along that Lucian was sick. In the last month, Ivan would lay in front of the cage and watch Lucian for hours at a time. Why did the cat suddenly take in interest in the hamster?

I worried all day that his grave would not protect him from raccoons or coyotes, so I got a flashlight tonight to examine it. So far, so good.

Tomorrow I will buy some bleach to disinfect his cage and personal effects.

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The Waning of Lucian 

Monday, September 10, 2007

I took this photo of Lucian on Friday night:

Lucian's Eye Infection

It was only on Saturday night when I edited it, when I could enlarge his eye, that I saw that there was something wrong with it. Hamsters, for you non-hamster owners out there, are very fidgety. You can never get a really good look at them unless they are asleep, dead or caught on film after many, many blurred shots. This is why it took me twenty-four hours to figure out that something was wrong.

I immediately looked up vets open on Sundays. One was.

When I phoned up the vet the next morning, they warned me that they were full that day and gave me an 11 am appointment for Monday morning. Yesterday Lucian was still his usual run-around self.

This morning, he got up as usual to go for a drink and a morning snack. Then he collapsed on his food dish.

The vet wanted me to wait until my appointment, but I told him this hamster was awfully sick. So in I went with Lucian, an hour earlier than scheduled.

Well, Lucian is a very sick hamster and has been for a while. He has lost far too much weight, though his fluffy fur made him bigger than he really was. He is cold to the touch and incontinent. His once-mighty testicles have shrivelled up and disappeared within his emaciated frame. His teeth have become loose and an abcess is forming below his chin. The vet said he cannot remove the teeth at this point. The verdict is that he has liver or kidney failure.

I bought a round of antibiotics - two drops a day for ten days - but it's probably too late. The vet suggested I use a syringe to give him water and to keep him warm.

Poor little Lucian.

Lucian Sleeping

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The Hamster Tippler 

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Lucian the Hamster is always curious about what we're up to, er, he's interested in what we're eating.

For example, on Friday night we were drinking juice in his vicinity. He has to go check it out.

Lucian Tipping Over

He struggles a bit.

Lucian Getting Out

Once he gets inside, he laps up the remaining juice.

Lucian in a Glass

(To the friends that visit us: don't worry. We thoroughly wash everything.)

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