Dream of the Dolphin
a.k.a.
Confessions of a Post-Graduate Pity Whore

Free Story!

Tuesday, August 30, 2005
 

Head Go Azkabam...

The government, in its infinite wisdom, has decided that I'm not poor enough yet, and is challenging my claim of interest payments on my student loan. It means that if they do discount them from my T1, I have to pay the government about $1,500 (note to the unwary: if you're working multiple part-time jobs, for the love of God, get them to take more interest off your paycheques). Which, you know, I'm just rolling in. Especially with World Fantasy this year, the now-$3,600-Russia-Tour with choir next July, and a graduate degree beginning next September.

And I'm sitting here trying to collate the statements on two years worth of interest payments on 3 different loans (half of which are currently with my parents and need to be couriered over), as I can't afford the $75 the bank is demanding before they'll do it for me and send a letter. And it's all due on September 5.

Oy.

( 12:56 PM ) Sarah Jane ~





Sunday, August 28, 2005
 

Of Renfaires and Grimm

Karina and I went to the Renfaire yesterday, which was a day of great nostalgia, regret, and glee.

After the demise of Trillingham, Ontario's previous Renfaire, the regulars decided to start their own at the Royal Botanical Gardens. It was very different -- it showed great evidence of being thrown together on short notice, most noticeably in the stages and in the lack of many of the regular artisans and actors. It was very empty because of it, and at times a little sad. But the grounds are much larger than the Trillingham grounds were, they consist of meadows and forests rather than wood chips and a few scattered trees, and Karina and I both agreed that the faire has the potential to grow into something great in the new location.

Though we could do with a little less goose poop.

I was also quite delighted to discover that my bodice, which closed with about an inch-and-a-half of laces visible last year, closed completely this year. With room to spare. Such was my glee that I'm not really that put out with the fact that, at this rate I'll have to drop another close-to-$200 on a new bodice next year.

Then today Chris and I went to see The Brothers' Grimm, and had a thoroughly wonderful time, despite the fact that I wanted to turn around and jam my coke bottle down the throats of the idiots behind us.

The movie is definitely not for everyone. And as Chris pointed out afterward, between the two of us, we had about ten times the knowledge of folkloric mythos than the rest of our particular theatre combined. But I swear, if I'd had to listen to exclamations of "this is so GAAAAY" one more time, heads were going to roll. And not in the figurative sense.

Okay, so the movie is not for everyone. And you really must bear in mind the following:

ONE: This is a TERRY GILLIAM movie. So do not go into it expecting light Tenth Kingdom-type fare. As it is a Terry Gilliam movie, it will be dark, it will force you to use your brain at least once, there will be weird-ass trippy shit and random freakiness of the kitten-shredding persuasion, which will definitely sour the movie for some people. Also, there will probably be a thorough exploration of the themes of deep remorse and atonement.

TWO: It is not, contrary to what the advertising would have you believe, a comedy. But the advertising people couldn't figure out quite how to sell a Terry Gilliam movie, so that's what they made it out to be. Oh, there are some funny bits (Chris and I loved Will's steadfast refusal to back down from the insistence that there was a rational explanation behind the fact that the trees were moving) because it's Terry Gilliam, who used to be a Python and has that sort of sense of humour. But the subject matter is very dark, leading to my next point...

THREE: Which is part of why Chris and I took so much delight in it. Because these are fairy tales, which were not, as Disney would have you believe, light candy-coated fluff with guaranteed happy endings. They were dark and they were frightening. And Gilliam does an absolutely brilliant job of taking the archetypes and distorting them, creating a clever and intriguing deconstruction of said archetypes while at the same time paying homage to their enduring power and appeal.

It's a fine line, which Gilliam gets. Part of the reason we loved Levine's ELLA ENCHANTED while hating the Ella movie is that Levine takes the archetype and distorts it in an unexpected way while still honouring it, whereas the movie just mocks it and thus destroys the magic.

People with a thorough understanding of the folk tale archetypes will likely take as much delight in the movie as Chris and I did. Those without one, like the people behind us, will probably just think it's "gay".

True, the movie was not without its problems. The French scenes -- while providing an interesting contrast between the fairy-tale nightmares of the enchantments haunting the dark forest, and the real-life nightmare of Bonepartism the Germans actually faced when the Grimms were collecting their stories, as well as nudging the audience with questions of whether an invading force occupying a country is really doing more harm than good (it's a Gilliam film, I told you you'd have to use your brain) -- did tend to drag on long enough at times to have me wishing they'd get back to the forest already. And a couple of the fairy-tale references (most noteably the Gingerbread Man) seemed a bit crammed in. Which combine to make the script and pacing a bit uneven.

But despite that, the messing with mythos combined with some stunning visuals and really great acting from the two leads won both of us over, and it's a movie I'd definitely see again.

And a note to the folks behind us: You can fail to understand a movie. That's okay. You can dislike a movie. That's perfectly fine. You can even mock the movie you dislike and/or don't comprehend. I really couldn't care less. As long as you do it after the movie. Outside. Because I paid good money to see this, too, and when I'm enjoying a movie, the last thing I want to hear is you behind me being an idiot, because really, all you're doing is ruining it for other people and making yourself look ignorant in the process. You may think the movie is boring and gay, but that doesn't necessarily mean you're right. So in future, either stick to watching movies on DVD in the privacy of your own home where you can mock them to your heart's content, or shut the hell up when you're in the movie theatre.

Thank you.

( 11:54 PM ) Sarah Jane ~





Friday, August 26, 2005
 

Yay Me... er, Us!

Dear Contributors,

I'm proud to inform you that your book, ODYSSEY has been selected for the prestigious "Our Choice 2005" catalogue by The Canadian Children's Book Centre.
Sometimes my inbox contains good things. :o)

( 2:34 PM ) Sarah Jane ~


 

Funny Sort of Thing...

See, I told you the universe laughs at me. Last nigh Chris (lovely Chris) took pity on me and came over to help me do prep. With two people it goes not twice as fast, but four times as fast. Odd thing, that.

So, of course, on the first night in the past month that I've managed to get to bed by 11 (there's a reason I've been averaging 5.5 hours of sleep), the moment I turned out the light and lay my head down, they began ripping up the street in front of my house.

As I've said before, the universe thinks I'm funny.

So the Summer Ordeal is over. And I don't mean ordeal in a bad way. More of a trial-by-fire way. It has been, without a doubt, the most intense, difficult, harrowing, and frightening experience of my life, to be thrown into the deep end with no training and basically told to start swimming. But it has also been the most educational, rewarding, exciting, and enjoyable summers of my life.

It's an odd dichotomy, but it works.

But it has also been exhausting. And I saw my assistants' reviews of my performance today. I got very high marks for Naturequest. The sessions with the 5-year-olds were not quite as successful. They said I was good (I don't know how good, because there were no evaluation forms for me for session 3, which in and of itself says a lot, and the evaluation forms for this session aren't in yet), but needed improvement, especially when it comes to entertaining the children, communicating with assistants, and establishing a classroom presence.

Fair enough. Teaching the 5-year-olds was more difficult than anything I've ever had to do, and with no real preparation, I was really learning on the fly. They did, apparently, say I got better as I went, so at least I know I'm capable of learning and adapting. But my perfectionist roots run deep (I used to cry if I got anything lower than an A on my report cards), and it grates on me that I wasn't as good at teaching the 5 year olds as I think I should have been.

Which is yet another reason why I've pretty much decided I'm going to teacher's college. Perhaps not next year (finances are still tight), but very soon. Not because I want to teach classes, but because I want to continue teaching at the ROM. And I want to teach better. Teacher's college will give me the classroom management training and skills that I'm going to need in order to succeed.

Because no matter what else happens in my life, I want to stay with the ROM. I've truly found a place there where I belong.

( 2:26 PM ) Sarah Jane ~





Wednesday, August 24, 2005
 

Ups and Downs

It's been an odd month. Teaching 5-year-olds, I have discovered, is hard. And yes, I can hear all you teachers laughing at me. It's not that I didn't believe it before, but it really is something that has to be experienced.

And I only have them for half a day.

I got roped into supply teaching a class on 20-minutes notice, too, which was one of the scariest experiences of my life thus far. But it went pretty well, and I will always adore Austin, one of my Naturequest kids and the only one to have carried over into the group I was supply teaching, who responded to the announcement that I'd be taking over for the day with: "YEEEEEEEEEEAAAAHHH!!!!!!!"

I love my Naturequest kids.

Today was pyjama day at Summer Club, and it's always nice to have an excuse to wear bunny slippers and my bunny pigtails to work, even if people kept laughing at me whenever I walked around without my campers.

But in the not-so-nice category, I've also managed to piss off several people over the last couple of days, from my neighbour (who is upset that I moved her clothes from the washing machine to the top of the dryer so I could wash mine) to Maren, who I've talked to and who was gracious enough, after some correspondence, to let me share part of her e-mail ::waves hello::.

I'm really sick of people making me feel like some evil bitch-queen just because I'm naturally skinny. What, does that mean I'm not a real woman?


No. Not at all. Because I've seen Maren's picture, and there are some very important differences between her and the women I was referring to in my Dove post (who, I might add, are not evil and I never claimed they were. They're just unhealthy).

Maren (much like one of my best friends, who does not have my problem with weight, to the point at which when she wears her comfortably-laced corset to the renfaire, she gets stopped by well-meaning passers-by who are concerned that she's about to asphyxiate herself), has curves. They're not the same curves I have or the Dove women have, but honey, you curve.

You also menstruate. My whole point is that half the runway models out there have starved themselves to the point at which their bodies have stopped menstruating in order to conserve much-needed body mass. When you have a lower BMI than a starving third-world child, you're not just skinny, you're in need of serious medical help.

People who are naturally extremely skinny may be perfectly healthy. I'm not saying they aren't. Nor are they "bad", just as people with birthmarks, cleft palates, albinism, club feet, wheelchairs, blindness, deafness, excessive curves, lazy eyes, mismatched eyes, etc. are not bad. There's nothing wrong with being any of those things naturally, unless it's adversely affecting your health, in which case you can take steps to remedy them. But none of them, except extremely low weight, are things women (and men, to an extent) are encouraged to achieve by whatever means necessary.

But bear in mind, those naturally skinny people are usually not skinny enough to be models either. For that, you need to go even farther.

The thing is, most people are physically incapable of being taller than six feet and weighing under a hundred pounds without radical alteration, or as Chris pointed out, the removal of something heavy like, oh, a femur. Runway models are not a normal body shape, nor is it a shape most women can ever achieve. Most print models aren't anywhere close to it -- but through the magic of airbrushing, some of their curves are removed, and others are added (what, you think those extremely skinny models really have breasts that big?), until you have a radically altered and completely imaginary ideal of female beauty that is physically impossible to achieve without either radical surgery or your own personal airbrush artist.

And while I feel genuine sympathy anyone who's been teased about their body image, whatever it may be, the fact remains that generally, far more cruelty is reserved for the fat kid, and it's going to require more effort to get kids to accept others (and themselves) who are overweight. Because the teasing you get when you're fat is vicious. And it stays with you. I don't remember much about grade four, but I will always remember the day that Katie Weeks, during one of our frequent arguments, ended it by responding to my: "at least I'm not the mean one" with "at least I'm not the FAT one!" It's a special kind of pain that digs in deep and never lets go. You can leave it behind, you can let it go, you can come to accept yourself, but it's almost impossible to forget entirely.

Kids need the positive reinforcement of the Dove ad body image. Because when asked to rank who they like best, it's not the skinny person that kids rank last. And if there are people out there who consider the Dove women obese, it's getting worse.

And now for something completely different: Kittens!

( 2:27 PM ) Sarah Jane ~





Tuesday, August 23, 2005
 

Into the Woods… Again

I went with my aunt and grandfather to the Stratford Festival's production of Into the Woods on the weekend, and the comparison to the Randolph Academy's production is… interesting.

I vastly preferred the Randolph Academy.

Perhaps my view will always be coloured by the stunning Broadway production (which I own on DVD and watch often, especially while cleaning my room or doing prep, it's that comforting). But the Randolph Academy went at it as a fairy tale. There were large storybooks piled across the stage upon which they walked, book pages flanking the wings, and when one can't build actual trees on a school production budget, it was incredibly effective. Because it is a collection of fairy tales, and it needs the colour and vibrancy of fairy tale illustrations to bring it to life.

The Stratford production, make no mistake, was superior in the acting and singing departments. The cast was all wonderful, Bruce Dow made a great baker, and to see the tears in his eyes in the second act brought tears to mind. Susan Gilmour was also wonderful performing the Witch's songs with a grace and subtlety that one simply cannot get without having her years and experience, but I missed the dry humour of the witch from the Broadway (and Randolph) productions. She's usually my favourite character, because despite being, well, a bitch, she's extremely likeable. Gilmour's witch was a lot colder and harder to like.

But the thing I really hated was the design of the production. The problem with Stratford, as Erin pointed out, is they are too often trying to infuse their shows with a gimmick, regardless of whether or not the show will be helped or hindered by it. Sometimes it helps. The Resurgence productions of Midsummer Night's Dream on a country club golf course, or the 1920's Twelfth night, were wonderful.

This was not one of those times.

They set it some time in the 1930's, for reasons that are never explained. The costume designs reflect this. The set doesn't, because it was all stark, blocky setting. The trees were rectangular black pillars. There were red leaves for act one that went away in act two (which was winter). The only colours were red, black, and white (with a green tree during the finale). The characters all wore either black or white. Their hair was black or white, except for Jack's and Red's, which were… red. Red's was literally so (well, red with black roots), Jack's actually stuck to the book's "carrot-top hair". Jack and his mother, incidentally, were newfies.

Our production takes place in what could be described as a "dreamscape." Its design is inspired by early 20th-century Canadian imagery and by the paintings of Newfoundland artist David Blackwood and French surrealist René Magritte.

Director Peter Hinton also cites the influence of the medieval and Renaissance Germanic folk tales published in the early 19th century by the Brothers' Grimm. "We're in the Black Forest," he says. "It will be just as colourful and fanciful -- I think of our design as Pieter Bruegel meets Maurice Sendak -- and it's a place of great magic."


I still haven't figured out why everyone's suitcases in act two were tiny buildings.

The "good" characters started out dressed entirely in white. The "bad" characters wore black (except for the witch's, in the only actual fairy-tale costume, which was made entirely out of vegetables. In act two she wore a black shirt and jodhpurs. ::sigh::) In act two, they began wearing articles in shades of black and grey.

Yes, yes. Symbolism. We get it! Enough already! The thing is, Sondheim and Lapine are good enough that it's in the text, and all this to-do and colour-coding just starts whacking you over the head with it.

The problem is, all this over-and-under production is rather pointless and only detracts from the fairy-tale aspects of the story. Oh, some bits were kind of interesting -- Rapunzel was pretty neat -- but not interesting enough to fix the problems.

By attempting to ground it in a specific time-period rather than the nebulous fairy-tale time, the production gets lost as we try to figure out what the heck is going on. And it just seems rather pretentious. In the same way that I haaaaaaaaaaaated Resurgence's production of Much Ado About Nothing, which was set during the Spanish Civil War, made the huge mistake of rewriting massive blocks of Shakespeare's text to make it fit the context (there is almost always trouble when someone thinks he's good enough Shakespeare, unless you're, oh, Tom Stoppard), and made everyone dress in black at the end, Hero an unwilling bride, and everyone dies in a bombing raid.

Not. Helping. It's changing things, adding a gimmick, simply for the sake of adding a gimmick, and not because it actually does anything for the play.

And that was my problem with Into the Woods. I had a much better time at the Randolph Academy production. Even with the frigid exhaust fumes blowing in my face. In the Stratford production, the magic was missing.

The music, though, was excellent. My aunt hated it, calling it atonal and untuneful, even though I disagree vehemently. I don't find it untuneful at all, but I wonder how much of that is because of my choral training. I adore the score of Into the Woods (given the choice of being in any musical in all the world, I'd pick Into the Woods any day. Iolanthe is my second choice), and love its complexity and unpredictability. But that's Sondheim for you, who is not kind to the actors performing it, and perhaps one requires some degree of musical training to appreciate it.

Or, given how often I see Into the Woods is being performed, perhaps not.

( 2:29 PM ) Sarah Jane ~





Saturday, August 20, 2005
 

Godzilla vs. MegaMom

Occasionally we get MegaMoms into the museum. MegaMoms are those parents who only seem to be happy when they are (loudly and aggressively) protecting their children from something. Like the woman who demanded warning signs be posted after her son lifted one of the doors at the rubbing table, leaned in close to see what was under it, and dropped it on his head.

I was attacked by a MegaMom last night. Oh, the battle was epic.

MEGAMOM: (aggressively) Excuse me, why are there no exit signs?

ME: (somewhat taken aback by the confontational woman appearing out of nowhere) Oh, did it fall off the wall again? (checks the wall) Nope, it's right over there and there's another one right on the other side of the pillar. (big happy customer service smile)

MEGAMOM: But I was down by the bat cave.

ME: (Who knows full well there's another map/sign by the bat cave, and large red letters labelling the emergency exits in Bio) That's what we're here for, ma'am. If you're lost, we can help you out.

MEGAMOM: But I was down by the bat cave. There are no exit signs. You don't think you should do something about this? (the "you idiot" is not spoken, but clearly implied).

ME: (floundering, and having been there for 12 hours of my 14-hour day, not at the top of my mental game, but still attempting to maintain Perky Sarah) Nope. Anywhere there are no exit signs, there are staff to guide you in an emergency. (knowing full well that at closing, hardly an emergency, security can clear the building in under 5 minutes).

MEGAMOM: But what if there's a fire?

ME: Then we're here to guide you to the exits.

ME & MEGAMOM: (another 5 minutes of this, repeated with some sentence variation)

MEGAMOM: So if there's a fire, you'll come get us? (Words cannot capture the venon in her voice at this point)

ME: (as fire evacuation procedures are clearly outlined in our training manual) Yes.

MEGAMOM: DON'T YOU ROLL YOUR EYES AT ME! You have a serious attitude! This is not over, your manager will be hearing about this... (fade out as she drags her two children away, leaving me staring dumbfounded after her).

RICHARD: (my supervisor, after hearing about this incident) Yeah, cause I know from talking to you that you have such a terrible mean attitude.


Honestly, I love my job, but sometimes certain visitors make me want to hit myself in the head with a hammer just to end the pain. ::sigh::

( 12:44 PM ) Sarah Jane ~





Friday, August 19, 2005
 

...and the Horse You Rode In On

So the people at Dove, in their infinite wisdom (and desire to sell products to the vast majority of women in the world today), launched the campaign for real beauty, which features "real women" (i.e. women with curves rather than the figures of pre-pubescent boys) posing in their underwear.

I love the campaign. I have absolutely no desire whatsoever to run out and buy their firming cream, but I love that someone is finally designing advertising with women I can relate to, rather than women who look so inhuman that I'd never buy the product anyway because the models call serious doubt into my mind that their product is actually designed for my species.

Well, apparently Richard Roeper doesn't agree. Nor does Lucio Guerrero, also of the Sun-Times. Or CBS Chicago's Entertainment reporter.

Jaquandor, Lynn, and Wendy have already weighed in (no pun intended) on the matter. And they all make wonderfully valid points. Some of which I may be repeating, because now it's my turn.

To begin with, from comments like Guerrero's (and to second Jaquandor, if you have to point out your wittiness with a rimshot, you're not as funny as you think you are):

Really, the only time I want to see a thigh that big is in a bucket with bread crumbs on it (rim shot here)

you'd think we're talking about a bevy of morbidly obese individuals. But we're not. So let me state for the record right now, there is nothing wrong with these women. People like Bill-the-Entertainment-guy would have you believe that their displeasure with this ads is because they dislike the promotion of the idea that it's okay, health-wise, to be obese, but that, if I may be blunt, is complete bullshit. These women are not obese. They're not even fat. They can barely be called plump. No, they are of a nicely rounded weight that will in all likelihood have no deleterious effect on their health at all.

Try again.

These men don't like the ads -- find them "frightening" or "disturbing" or "unsettling" -- because if they want to see "real" women they'll go to Taste of Chicago or whatever. They're mad that their fantasy women have been taken away. Now, without venturing into the territory of what it says about men whose fantasy women have the bodies of preteen boys, they're angry because dove has taken away their fantasy women and replaced them with the sort of woman they can see every day.

Well, yes. This is a good thing.
See, ads should be about the beautiful people. They should include the unrealistic, the ideal or the unattainable look for which so many people strive. That's why models make so much money. They are freaks -- human anomalies -- who need to be paid to get photographed so we can gawk at them.

Ummm... no. That is not what ads should be about, nor is it what they are about. Ads are about providing an example -- use our product, and you too can look like this. And the problem with most ads today is that "this" is completely unattainable to the average person -- particularly women. Even the models don't actually look like "this" -- read up on the befores and afters of airbrushing sometime. But "this" is the example provided, so girls and women across the western world (and as my friend pointed out to me yesterday, it's very much a cultural thing) do serious harm to their bodies in an attempt to reach it.

Perhaps the larger problem with "this" is that, as Mr. Guerrero has so aptly demonstrated, it has shifted the norm for "what beauty is" from the healthy and attainable (see the old Pear's Soap women) to the skeletal and prepubescent. This is not healthy, and it's not even particularly attractive. When you get too skinny, you just start looking old. Compare Sarah Michelle Gellar or Jennifer Aniston in the early seasons of their shows versus the latter. They both lost a lot of weight. And they both ended up looking much, much older than just the passage of time should account for. For that matter, compare that Olsen twin pre- and post- hospitalization. Or the anorexic Olsen to the healthier one. Or Lindsay Lohan, who used to be full-figured and attractive, but now just looks like a drug addict (okay, yeah, she probably is...). But hey, at least they're skinny! ::headdesk::
I see "real people" all the time. I don't need "real people" to sell me things. I'm a "real person" and I don't want to see me on the side of a bus -- and trust me, in my underwear neither do you. (And speaking of underwear, what's with the lingerie these women are wearing? It's like Sears catalog, circa 1983.)

Hopefully, Dove will come back to its senses and make my morning commute -- and Phil's and Kevin's and that of countless other men -- a little more pleasing to the eyes.

I think it's pretty obvious that these men are completely missing the point.

Fellas, this is not about you. The products are not catered to you, and they sure as hell have no obligation to cater to your unrealistic ideals of beauty while they attempt to sell a product to women who are actually in need of it. And who the hell are you to decide that only people who fit your own narrow standard of beauty are fit to be seen in public?

I don't care if you need to see real people or not, Mr. Guerrero. Because I need to see real people, and so do the countless other girls who are or have been struggling with eating disorders in vain attempts to reach a standard of beauty that most people are not actually physically capable of reaching. We need positive examples of beauty that teach us that healthy is beautiful, and that teach men what beauty actually should be.

Mr. Guerrero, Phil, Kevin -- you boys are not exactly doing your part to dispel that whole "men are pigs" stereotype, by the way.

And perhaps the biggest fountain of excrement coming out of the backlash to the campaign is the claim that they're hypocritical, attempting to say "real is beautiful" and then selling firming cream.

Again, no. Because there is a huge difference between using a product to get rid of a little cellulite, and starving yourself to the point at which your body is no longer capable of menstruation. Firming cream, moisturizer, lipstick, foundation, hairspray -- these are little things, not radical alterations. We all do little things to look our best. We brush our hair. We wash our faces. We put on make-up. We dress in nice clothes. We use firming cream. Little things to make ourselves feel better about ourselves. And what these ads are doing is saying "yes, beauty does not mean being able to count your ribs. You can be perfectly lovely without radically altering the way you look".

"But Sarah, aren't you a hypocrite yourself? You've been posting about your weight loss."

No. Because even though I've lost twenty-one pounds so far (yay!) my current weight, still, actually is unhealthy. I wasn't moderately plump when I started, I actually was obese. The more weight I lose, the less I'm troubled by heart murmuring, knee, and foot problems.

But these women -- these beautiful women -- are the weight I'm trying to reach.

So I'm sorry boys, but I for one want these ad campaigns to stay. You're just going to have to find something else to look at on your morning commute. Like, oh, the road ahead of you. And for the love of God, get your hand away from your crotch and back on the wheel where it belongs.

After all, it was a soap company that established one standard of beauty over a century ago. It's more than past time for another soap company to establish a new one.

( 2:20 PM ) Sarah Jane ~





Friday, August 12, 2005
 

Woot!

Today's the last day of session 3 of Summer Club. And I'm about ready to fall over. And while part of me is a bit sorry to see Animal Antics come to an end, a much greater part of me is dancing in glee.

It's odd, really. I'm so glad I got the chance to do this. I've learned so much. I love working with the kids, and I get this warm fuzzy glow whenever one of them runs up and hugs me. And the money is way better than any of my other jobs. But I think about session 4 ahead, another two weeks of doing this with five year olds, and I just want to curl up into a hole and not come out.

I'm telling you, kindergarten teachers do not get paid enough.

It's completely and utterly exhausting, which is strange, because you're not really doing much, physically. But you're ON, so much, trying to come up with things for them to do when they inevitably finish early. Trying to stay one step ahead of them. Trying to keep them from jumping up on the railing with a 40-foot-drop below it. And then there's the hours and hours and hours of prep for an activity they whip off in minutes. I mean, Naturequest was also draining -- there was a lot of running around out doors -- but at least most of my Naturequest kids were capable of entertaining themselves for 5 minutes. The five year olds are not. The minute they're idle, they start running around and yelling, which you can't have in a classroom because it makes it impossible for the class to function.

I miss the 8-10 year olds.

But things are going relatively well. And I've reached a new landmark today -- I've now lost 20 pounds. The last time I was this weight, it was because I'd had mono and been eating nothing but white rice and soup for the previous six months, followed by a two-week stint of not being able to eat anything but juice and the occasional saltine.

All in all, I'm much happier this time around.

( 8:56 AM ) Sarah Jane ~





Tuesday, August 09, 2005
 

Movie Rec

I haven't been to many movies lately, as Summer Club has all but consumed my life (I thought 8-10 year olds were hard, but they're nothing compared to 5-year-olds), but Chris and I recently went to see Sky High. And we both loved it.

It's not deathless prose. It's not Lord of the Rings, or Labyrinth, or X-Men, or even The Incredibles. It's a little like The Incredibles crossed with Mean Girls, and it does for the superhero genre what Galaxy Quest did for SF/F, and if you go see it in that frame of mind, you'll have a great time. Chris and I spent most of the movie howling with laughter -- when you have great elements like two Kids in the Hall, Kurt Russell playing Kurt-Russell-in-a-Disney-movie, questions like the sidekicks' homework ("If your hero flies north out of the city at 80 miles per hour, and the villain is tunneling south at 50 miles per hour, and assuming your hero has x-ray vision, how long before he realizes he's going the wrong way?"), and one extremely age-inappropriate crush on the part of both me and Chris, it just works.

( 8:07 PM ) Sarah Jane ~





Tuesday, August 02, 2005
 

Been Rambling All the Night

So I have discovered that the best way to see Loreena McKennitt perform is from 10 feet away.

That was one of the greatest experiences I've had in a good long while. Despite a few minor crises (Chris broke her toe and was unable to go, so I contacted my Dad, as he took me to see her last time and it seemed only right), we made it there in time, and were immediately struck by how intimate it was. Massey Hall was one thing, but this was, essentially, 50 chairs set up in a converted garage. We ended up in the second row, so she really was ten feet away the whole time. And what a time it was.

She started out with the Mystic's Dream, and rocked straight into the Mummer's Dance (there was this massively idiotic grin plastered on my face that didn't go away for the whole concert/rehearsal). And kept on rocking with Tango to Evora, which had all of us cheering. And let me tell you, with nine musicians (they've recently added a kit drum to the mix) who are all masters of their field, when I say rocked, I mean it. The energy is electric, and there's something truly remarkable that happens when you can feel the bass. If her music on CD saunters up to you and politely pokes you until you just can ignore it, her music live saunters up to you and kicks you into the gut. It's incredibly powerful stuff, and there's something almost hypnotic about the way it draws you in and won't let go.

It also struck me how much of a difference it makes, in this day of pre-fab, cookie-cutter pop stars, to hear someone with real talent. Because it's not something you can fake. It's responsible for the spell Loreena casts when her music plays, and it's truly breathtaking.

Anyway, as cool as it was to hear new arrangements of old favourites (such as The Old Ways, Bonny Swans, and All Soul's Night to name a few), we also got a sneak peek (or sneak listen, as the case may be) of two songs from the new album. One was a slow, ballady-type piece, but the one that really got me was -- well, I don't know what it was called. Possibly "The Silk Road", because that's what it's about, and the lyrics are taken from Buddhist scripture. But it's absolutely incredible (and apparently the album cut will feature seven Greek musicians, who taught the band to dance), and if it's any indication, the new album is going to be great.

But then, it's Loreena. Who shook my hand afterward. And oh, was it ever a moment of fangirlish squee.

( 11:53 PM ) Sarah Jane ~


 

Oy.

So I start Animal Antics today. It's an afternoon course (there's a morning course with the same name for 6-7 year olds as well), and I spent most of last night and this morning terrified I was going to get a frantic phone call informing me that I'd been planning for the wrong session and where the hell was I to pick up the kids?

Yeah. This is gonna be SO much easier next year.

But it's done, for the most part, which is good. I'm going to see Loreena McKennitt tonight, which is good. There are two new trailers for Serenity, a music video (slightly different from the trailer) for Rent, and another Narnia featurette, which is good.

So why do I feel like my head is about to go azcabam?

( 10:56 AM ) Sarah Jane ~





Sarah Jane Elliott
The often frustrating progress of my life and writing...

(Once known as "The Mystic's Dream", now known as "Dream of the Dolphin", but inclined to change title depending on what's stuck in my head)

Okay, I liked "Confessions of a Post Graduate Pity Whore" a lot more than I thought I would. That line is still hilarious. But I've started writing again, so it's time to go back to before. :o)





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