'Tis the Season

In typical fashion my mom calls me yesterday to unload yet another massive amount of bad news. I answer the phone and hear, “I have news.” Being me, I come back with, “Good?” You think I’d learn by now. The good stuff she usually doesn’t want to talk about. The only way you get to know that stuff is if you’re there when it happens, or you force it out of her before she realizes. It’s the reason why I may seem overly optimistic if you don’t spend much time around me. I’m hoping for the best, but there’s a jaded cynical layer under that just waiting for things to come crashing down on my head.

I will admit, once she told me, I was actually in a better mood than when the conversation started. Yes, it’s a terrible thing that my uncle Johnny had a stroke and that he was driving and hit a little girl. It’s bad that my cousin Mark, who’s a paraplegic, is refusing his medication and treatment. It’s disappointing that his sister Donna’s spine is deteriorating and they can’t operate. But there’s a good side to all of this, and I think it’s better than the bad.

My uncle is alive. He’s on blood thinners and it’s highly possible that the blockage will clear up and he’ll be fine. The girl he hit is okay. She’s got two broken legs but no other injuries. My cousin is the only responsible person in his family, and it’s very unfortunate that he has to rely on the rest of them when they neglect him and view him as an unneccessary burden. He’s almost 18, and by getting the doctors’ attention this way they’re considering drawing up papers that put him in charge of his health, rather than leaving it up to my aunt. I love her, but she’s irresponsible and her children can take care of themselves. If Donna ends up in a wheelchair like her brother that is also unfortunate, but I can’t feel too sorry for her since it will be her own fault. Her condition was diagnosed two years ago, but the doctors couldn’t operate because she was too skinny. She’s 18 years old and weighs around 95lbs. She’s had two years to change, but she’d rather eat barely anything and do drugs all the time than bother to get healthy.

The other fun part about all this is that I can’t be entirely sure how much of it is true. The stuff about my uncle is. My dad got to talk to him yesterday. But the rest comes through the family grapevine and since my aunt moved to Ottawa none of the relatives will give my parents her address or phone number. My dad has eight siblings and they like warring amonst each other. Keeping control of important information is just one of the many ways they do things.

Since Mark is one of the few cousins I have that I really care about (seeing as he’s the decent one and had nothing to do with what happened to him) I played internet-phone-search and got my mom their number. I’m hoping that will stop a lot of the bullshit, since my aunt seems to feel guilty when talking to my parents and will probably be a mother and tell the truth for a change. I’m hoping she feels bad enough to actually let Mark on the phone. None of us have seen or talked to him in three years, and I’m sure he needs friends or someone to talk to. He can’t really go anywhere without one of the others driving him, and no one will come over because of what his family is like.

Now that I have an address I want to make him something, but seeing as I don’t know what he’d need I’m at a loss. I don’t want to give him something that would just sit around in a closet somewhere. I’m sure he gets lots of useless trinkets and crap from my aunts as it is. Maybe I’ll corner Bones into giving me some ideas.

On an other-side-of-the-family note, we get to help my grandma with Christmas dinner this year because she fell two weeks ago and broke her wrist. It’s healing well, but she can’t really do much in the kitchen. Emile (her boyfriend) is a great cook, and diabetic so he makes really healthy stuff too. But I still want to help. I hope he doesn’t take over and boot us out of the kitchen.

My parents are considering coming this year. They haven’t done that in at least 15 years that I recall. Probably even more than that. It would be great if they go. It’s a lot more fun when they do. My dad is a riot at family dinners.

It’s all a big secret for now though. My mom isn’t positive yet, and I’m not allowed to tell her mother. Which I see as a problem since if she waits until the last minute there isn’t going to be enough food. If my brother and sister decide to go, and Bones, that adds up to an extra five people. Two of which will eat half the house if we let them.

All in all, the usual fun mess that happens at the end of the year. Complete with the usual dose of drama.

No Worries

I got my invoice in the mail yesterday. This is usually a pretty worrisome happenstance for me, since I never have money and have to wait to get my OSAP in January in order to get the Business Office off my back.

This year, however, is different.

I’ve been hoarding money like crazy since last January, hoping one of these days to have enough to handle paying the school for something on time for once. I paid them as soon as I got the bill, and I still have money left to continue hoarding for next year’s new computer purchase. Yay!

Of course, it’s just more of a reminder of how broke I really am. All my money is not mine at all, but a government loaner which they are going to want back with a vengeance. Let’s just hope all this school pays off and I can get rid of the debt in pretty short order. One can always hope.

P.S. New computer next year! Whoohoo!

P.P.S. I really need to make a new theme for this site. Suggestions?

Everything Is Breaking Down

Things have been pretty normal lately in the school sense. Midterms and papers abound, and stress levels are rising. So far it’s fine, manageable and not heart-attack inducing. But I still find myself too stressed to really sleep, which makes it harder to critically think and thus to do very well on any of my assignments. A lot of the problem is that one of my profs is marks incredibly hard, but he didn’t tell us this until right before he was about to hand our first two papers back. It wouldn’t be so bad except those are two-page “comment sheets” which we were lead to believe would be informal and relatively easy. Lo and behold, he’s marking them as if they were submissions to a journal or something. Scary. Now that he’s handed out the 10-page paper assignment I’m not sure what to think. The standards for it are so high. It’s not that it can’t be done, it’s that with the other three papers I’m supposed to be working on at the same time, I worry that I’ll neglect the others or not do as well as I should on his.

I haven’t been working on Blueprint as much as I should be, and that’s also getting frustrating. The Mambo template system is outdated and cluttered, which means a complete overhaul of any template I want to use, or making my own complete from scratch every time the content changes. It’s really making me think I should uninstall Mambo and use WordPress or something like that instead. Considering most of the features of Mambo aren’t necessary for the site and that a blogging software would be much more efficient it seems the better course.

I’ve said it before, I’m sure I’ll whine and say it again: I need more things to do. I really want to get a job at the library, though volunteering there would also be a huge help. Having less free time to waste would certainly mean that I would be more productive and probably have much more rewarding days. I hate feeling like I’ve just wasted the hours away. That’s fine for weekends or the occasionaly school day, but not right now when I should be getting stuff done but am too tired or bored to really be motivated. The knowledge that I have time to waste certainly means that I waste much more of it than I should.

Plus, when I am around Dean, I find I’ve wasted so much time during the week that I have to spend at least half of the weekend doing things I could have finished up before. It’s disappointing. Though my weekends are much better even so, just because he’s around. What a sweetheart.

Before I waste any more time, I should see if there are any positions open at the library and then sleep so I can get an early start on papers tomorrow morning.

Damn Computer

I finally found a copy of Beyond Good and Evil. The only problem is it’s a PC version. It’s supposed to be able to play on my computer, but the driver I need messes up my screen resolutions and crashes the program. It won’t run. Very frustrating. In the last week I’ve reinstalled both Windows XP and Ubuntu twice on this machine because of the screw-ups trying to play this game. I wish I could find it for PS2 or GameCube, but for as great a game it is there’s not many copies around.

Since reinstalling I’ve been having problems with the integrated XP SP2 networking. It constantly says “acquiring network address” even though I have an IP and am obviously connected to the router. It’s not just a wireless problem, because it did the same thing when I plugged in with my LAN connection. But it’s not the router because everyone else’s computers are fine. There’s a fix for this from microsoft.com, which I installed, but that didn’t change anything. I am at a loss for what to do.

I still need to find out why Linux won’t give me all my possible screen resolutions. Apparently that’s another problem that comes with my video card. Crappy Intel integrated crap that needs weird drivers and messes with things!

Edit: My computer is now dead. Wonderful.

April's Fool…(me)

While poking around the ‘net the other day, I came across a press release for a new handheld gaming device Apple was developing (with pictures):

Apple Announces The gPod® Handheld Gaming System

Cupertino, CA (AP) April 1, 2005 — Apple® Computer, Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) today unveiled plans for a first-generation handheld gaming system, dubbed gPod®. Combining the best features of the iPod® with cutting-edge gaming technology and a full color wide-screen, the gPod is expected to be available in early 2006.

“The gPod will be the next must-have consumer electronics device,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “It has enormous appeal for music lovers, movie lovers and gamers alike. And with wireless integration, it can surf the Internet from thousands of wireless hotspots around the world.”

gPod is based on iPod’s pioneering design and interface, and will run on a optimized version of the Mac OS called “Cheshire.” Featuring a 300MHz G4 processor, 512 MB of RAM, 32 MB of dedicated video RAM and a 2 GB hard drive, gPod will have more than enough power to run the latest in contemporary video games. Integrated 802.11b/g wireless will allow multiplayer gaming between gPods or over the Internet.

gPod will work effortlessly with Apple’s iTunes®, providing music lovers with access to the iTunes Music Store, the world’s leading digital music service. Additionally, the gPod will have the ability to download movies and games on demand from Apple’s new Internet Movie and Video Game services. gPod will use Apple’s patent-pending Auto-Sync, which works seamlessly with iTunes to automatically download an entire digital library onto gPod with just one click, keeping it up-to-date whenever gPod is plugged into a Mac® or Windows computer using USB 2.0. Plugging directly into the USB 2.0 port will also conveniently charge the gPod. One connection does it all.*

“The video game business has grown to $10 billion, eclipsing the Hollywood box-office” says Apple spokesman Sal Pagicmants, “Now, Apple will revolutionize gaming the same way it revolutionized the music industry. Truly, we are on the verge of a Game Revolution.”

Pricing & Availability
The 2GB and 4GB models of gPod for Mac or Windows are expected to be available worldwide in Q1 2006. Pricing has not yet been determined, but gPod will be “very competitively” priced against current portable gaming systems.

All gPods will include rechargeable batteries with a limited number of charge cycles and may eventually need to be replaced. Battery life and number of charge cycles vary by use and settings. See www.apple.com/batteries for more information.

*Firewire options require an optional cable adapter, sold separately.

I thought, “This has got to be the coolest thing ever!” Later, after thinking it over, it sounded to me a little off. If you read it not-so-carefully, there are many clues that such a thing is not real. The date of the release being a big one. I’m not even embarassed for believing it though, since if it were real I’d get one in a second.

So, my question to you is this: What April Fool’s gags have you come across that you wish were real?

There and Back Again

School is coming up fast (ending fast, for that matter) and as usual I’m undecided as to what I want to do. I’m two classes ahead, and I already have pretty much every elective I can count. I randomly picked a couple of philosophy courses that I can substitute for other required ones, bringing me up to 10 courses. But there is still the possibility of getting enough math classes to be able to apply to teacher’s college. I can see this turning into one of those important decisions that I make on instinct alone, because my attempts at rationalization in the last couple of months have led me in circles.

Before I can decide for sure, there are a lot of people I need to talk to. I need more information. I need to know if getting those extra classes is necessary for the teaching requirements. I need to find out exactly which third and fourth year courses I’ll need since they were changed last year. I need to see which math classes are offered that I have prerequisites for, and if I’ll need to take more first year courses.

It’s kind of a mess. Especially since I could just decide not to worry about it. That would mean taking less courses during the year, and maybe grabbing a couple in the summer again so I won’t have many to take in fourth year. The plus there would be that I could spend more time with the courses I do have and get better marks for admission to the M.L.I.S. I’m a little anxious on that front. I’ve done alright, but nowhere near as good as I’d like. I guess I can wait and get my last mark for the summer and see what my GPA is then.

I should return the DE tape and pay the business office on Friday. At least that’s something easy.


It was nice to visit with my family, though the more I do, the more I wish they lived closer. The weather down there is icky. I hate humidity, and we were pretty much stuck with nothing else all week. High temperatures, humity, smog. The only break was Sunday, our last day there. It makes me glad I don’t live there anymore and can come back up here to more bearable weather.

We went boating/fishing last Saturday, which was quite nice. No one thought to bring bathing suits so we all ended up swimming in the river in our jeans. I stole people’s clothes. Me and Dean have fishing licenses now. I’m glad about that. It’s much easier to renew these than getting day passes everytime we want to go fishing. As well, we can go fishing here and anywhere else in Ontario. Pretty sweet.

I didn’t drive the entire time. My parents cars are either off-limits or scary. But it did give me a chance to see how much better I am compared to when I moved out. The roads around here are a lot more challenging than those. For one they are less linear, plus there is a tonne more traffic and many more lanes to worry about. It seems that almost anyone can get a license. I should be in good shape compared to quite a few of the people at home whom already have licenses. They can’t drive very well. It’s a wonder they passed road tests. There was a lady driving in the Tim Horton’s parking lot across from the train station when we left. She backed up over a curb and scraped the exhaust system. There was a huge scratch on the door of her van too. I think it’s safe to assume that it was probably her own fault as well.

I got to visit with my friends this time, which was really nice. Dean amused them by doing my hair while we watched movies. We mostly talked about crap we got up to in school. I forgot that Amanda moved away for 8th grade. They found out I used to cheat at heads-up 7-up in 5th grade.

I saw my 8th-grade teacher. Pete told him I failed a class. The look on his face was priceless. That was so great. I always liked that teacher. He seemed to have a more realistic take on things than the others. Plus he’s pretty much the only one that didn’t assume my brother would fail from the start.

As usual, my grandma tried to sugar-high me by giving us half the treat-box when we left. I gave most of it to Pete and his friends. Considering she worries about being healthy so much and has a diabetic boyfriend, you’d think she’d realise that there’s no way it could be good for us to eat that much candy in a week. She made us a cake too. It was good, but also really sweet.

It seems that Buster has finally forgiven me for moving out and leaving him behind. I’m glad. I wasn’t sure if he’d ever get over that, considering. Poor cat. He’s still pretty much distrustful of everyone and doesn’t come out much.

Overall it was a good week.

Racing the Clock

I’m in the process of converting and burning six seasons and two movies of InuYasha for a friend. Most of which has been done in the last week. I need to finish by Friday, and man is it getting close. I still have most of season five and all of season three to go. This last has been causing me some problems because of using strange new surround-sound versions of .aac and the fact that the files were saved in .mkv containers. I should be able to finish before we leave, unless anything goes wrong. We shall see.


Since the midterm, I’ve been working on my cross-stitch and sweater quite a bit. I now have one sleeve and the hood to go before finishing, and have started an entirely new area of the cross-stitch. I did break a needle, and another is almost broken. I need more, but everything closed early yesterday and I missed out.

Soon I get to go venturing for The Art of Breaking and see if there’s more needles at Zellers so I won’t have to go all the way down to Michael’s. Lazy, I know.

I want to read Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. We’ll see if that happens before Friday.

We had sushi yesterday, but it wasn’t as good as it usually is. Weird. Wasabi is goood.

I’m hungry and I sleep too much. I want cheese.

Kitty loves me. All it takes is for me to look at him and he starts purring. He’s going to be lonely as hell when I move back to Waterloo.

I need to start packing. I don’t feel like scrambling trying to decide what to bring home.

Stupid senseless stress

I need to learn to lighten up. I tend to do pretty well with morning exams or afternoon ones, but when it comes to evening ones I drive myself crazy all day worrying about them. Most people say they get nervous during exams. For me that’s not the case. Once I’m in there I’m perfectly calm. It’s the anticipation that I can’t take very well. At all.

Today I have managed to give myself a nasty headache which so far has only gotten worse. The closer it gets to 7pm, the more upset my stomach gets. Pretty sad really.