Posted by: Kaitlin | November 22, 2009

Is anyone tired because it’s 3 am and I’m wired!

How to pull an all-nighter!

Ah how well known this unfortunate experience is to many students. And not all “students of life,” but specifically those who are of the tuition paying variety. And all-nighters are just part of the package. So you may be wondering, “how exactly do I go about achieving not only staying up ALL night, but also accomplishing something for school? And maybe even functioning the day after?” Well, I am going to tell you, with photos and a video!

Step One: Put off an assignment for several weeks. Realize what you have done and that it is now due in the next few days. Panic.

Step Two: Drink lots of coffee (for me that was two cups in the afternoon) and drink some water. Vitamin water is especially helpful. Also eat some brain food, such as tuna, eggs, bananas…I don’t know if these foods help brains, but I feel like they could. Do some research.

Step Three: Try to write most of your essay/assignment etc on paper, not on your computer. Yes, close your laptop, turn off your desktop. This is useful for two reasons. One- You won’t go on facebook instead of writing, hence, you will write much faster, and two- When you do type it up, it’s built in proofreading, and saves more time! If you feel that you NEED the computer on for when you have to look things up, then keep a dictionary on hand.

Books, a pencil and some honey. All you really need. A cute picture of a dog always helps too.

Step Four: Keep drinking something. I chose to have both water and green tea on hand. Contrary to popular belief (I thought it was common knowledge) green tea IS caffeinated unless it is decaffeinated. Amazing, really. Also, green tea has all kinds of other good stuff in it, so it helps your brain work while you are not meant to be awake at this hour, and ideally, it will help you tomorrow when you still have to function! Because, I’m sorry, you just cannot become nocturnal. I have considered it.

Step Five: If you’re fading, create some excitement. You can’t do anything wild and crazy, because at 3 am, all your roommates/family are sleeping. This is what I did:

Yes, you guessed it. (Did you?) Blooming flower tea! They start out as little balls, and when you pour hot water on them, they BLOOM! These are the sorts of activities that are very exciting when you really want to sleep. You could also do some silent stretching.

Step Six: Print your assignment and congratulate yourself. When you hear your roommates or family stirring, you can go and tell them all about your late night adventures. They will think you are crazed, and you will look it, so don’t take it personally.

Step Seven: Drink coffee before your classes. Don’t complain to your classmates because everyone thinks that their own late night escapades are the worst. They will never say what you want them to. Sad, I know.

Step Eight: The next chance you get, sleep for upwards of ten hours.

In case you are wondering, the title reference is to Crossroads, Britney Spears’ first and only film.

Posted by: Kaitlin | November 17, 2009

sleepy book friends.

I read a book a few weeks ago called The Lit Report, by Sarah N. Harvey. It was a young adult novel and I read it in about two nights, but it was very entertaining and well written etc.

About a month ago, I moved into a new house. I have five roommates, and our kitchen has two fridges. One is covered in magnetic poetry, and I have started writing haikus, with great success. Here are some of my recent poetry experiments.

First.
Would you love my heart?
You are a piece of heaven.
Your heart is lava.

Deux.
blossom of concrete
journey of astronaut pants
grass will freeze early

Three.
almost satisfy
the passion in your dreams
sleeping cicada

Quatre.
do you believe in
the sunshine? listen for the spring,
wander through morning.

Then I began to think of haikus all the time, composing them even not on the fridge, but out of my own head!

One.
Almond in my teeth.
Empty wallet, empty brain
Pen poised, blank pages.

Second.
Rhythm of your voice
cadence of your song- they stir
me to inquire.

Trois.
Comfy bed, rain falls.
Bed filled with sleepy book friends
keeping company.

Well, I hope you have enjoyed experiencing with me my first foray in writing my own poetry.
Good night, sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite!
Love.

Posted by: Kaitlin | September 21, 2009

Acorns

For the past few days, whenever I am in my house, all I have been able to hear is the acorns falling off of the oak tree onto the path, the stairs, and the plexiglass roof over my doorway. The presence of these little guys in my life right now is sort of like going back to school. Acorns contain the seeds of oak trees, and they only grow on adult trees, meaning that before the tree can produce a seed, they have to go through many years of hard labour. This is almost just like university!

This year, I have begun to actually sort of care about looking presentable when I leave the house. I never looked gross before I decided this, but I didn’t ever wear interesting clothes, or makeup. Now I actually do these things. It’s a new beginning. Anyway, for some reason I decided to paint my nails today. I have not painted my nails for over a year. After I finished the first coat, I remembered why I never paint my nails. These are the reasons:
A) My left hand is useless, causing there to be more nail polish on my right hand’s fingers than nails,
B) I have very little patience. Perhaps this would be a smaller problem if I bought nail polish from this century (there are tons of fancy quick drying polishes available these days), but I am fairly certain that all of my nail polish dates back to the nineties.
C) I have a short term memory. Despite spending over an hour in the painting process, which involved two coats plus use of the hair dryer, I totally forgot that I was wearing wet nail polish and so I have a yellow mark on my black jeans.

Well, time to go back to my reading for school.

Posted by: Kaitlin | June 21, 2009

Exceeding Expectations

I have read three more Canlit books, which brings my count to fourteen! Yay, I’m done! Chariots of fire is playing in my head.
#12 and #13 Emily Climbs and Emily’s Quest
These books became to me like the Twilight series is to most teenage girls. Except only in the way that I was addicted to reading them and was frustrated when the characters did not listen to me. On the other hand, I was depressed because Emily had a novel published when she was twenty. I am twenty, and there are no novels on the horizon. But I’m okay with that.

#14 A Complicated Kindness, by Miriam Toews
This book was amazing and I cannot believe I only just read it now. I’ve owned it for a while. I enjoyed it because it was funny and clever and I like the religious theme because that is a topic that will always make me think more than many topics do.
Well, I am not feeling very literate right now, so I am just going to go keep reading!

Posted by: Kaitlin | June 16, 2009

Adventures

Well, I had a lovely book filled day today! While eating breakfast I was thoroughly engrossed in the second volume of the Emily series by L.M. Montgomery, Emily Climbs. My plan was to sell some books which I have acquired from various sources- book sales, my friends, free boxes, dumpsters- to used book stores. I sold several of these last week to my favourite book store, but they refused some (most) of them, so now I am visiting all the used book stores in my city.
My first stop was Smart Books. I had never been to this store before, so I was excited. The woman in the store accepted two of my paperbacks, and gave me a credit for $5.50. Not bad, I thought, for two paperbacks. So I decided to spend it immediately. I finally chose Revolutionary Road, by Richard Yates. I am very excited about this book because I have not seen the movie yet, and I do not like to spoil the book with the movie.
I have always felt this way about book to movie adaptations, even when I enjoyed the film more. Books are…almost sacred. Even if they are not very good and the film adaptation is better, I am still partial to the book. I cannot explain this, it is a strange feeling that I have always had.
My next stop was James Bay Coffee and Books, one of my favourite places in the city. James Bay is the most idyllic area of town, filled with history, heritage houses, and beauty. On the way, I was reading Miriam Toews’ a complicated kindness on the bus. All of the houses in that area are so beautiful and old and they are all known as ‘character houses’. I know that I will one day live in a character house. I already have it all planned out in my head. Did you know that you can buy swivelling secret book case doors? Oh yes.
I finally arrived at the book store, (I rambled a bit on the way) but the book lady was not in, so I was instructed to fill out a form and leave my books there, which I did of course, and was very happy not to be carrying three hardcover books anymore. Hopefully I will get money for them.
After this I caught the bus to the university to take a scholarship form to the registrar’s office. On the bus there was a girl two seats in front of me, and she had really big gauges in her ears, African style. Probably about two inches wide. I hated looking at them, but I could hardly look at anything else. Then I felt sick, which I’m sure has nothing to do with having ridden the bus for several hours today, but it might have some relation to all the university students I saw getting convocated.
There were graduates everywhere, because all of the convocations are this week. It was mildly depressing for a student who feels as though she will never graduate.
But there was comedy in this. This was the scene in the registrar’s office:
Me, confused about where to go, and thinking why are there robes everywhere? What do all of the colours mean? Where is the line?!
Me, to woman at a desk: Hi, I have this education plan…
WaaD: I can only help with graduate things.
Me: ahh, okay.
I moved back, and lurked awkwardly. There was some kind of a line. Is that a line? I recalled the countless times I have spent hours in line for something, only to find out that it was the wrong line.
Me, rather loudly, to anyone in general: Is this the registrar’s office?!
Different woman at desk: Yes.
Recent Graduate beside me: laughs! He laughed! He laughed at me! Just because he is all “I just graduated”. Anyway, I only had to wait for another two minutes and was quickly gone.
Then I went to the bookstore and pored over the calendar. Only sixteen days until registration! Yay!

Posted by: Kaitlin | June 12, 2009

Moving Along

Two new reads for my CanLit challenge.
#10: Emily of New Moon, by L.M. Montgomery
I LOVED these books so much when I was about eleven and twelve, and I loved this one just as much the second time around. I have to admit, I shed tears when Emily’s father died and when the maid was so mean to her. I was also very sad when Emily was not allowed to take both of her cats with her to New Moon. I am so excited to read the next book because I am waiting with bated breath to see who Emily will marry! I have forgotten these details because they were not the details that I was most interested in when I was younger.

#11: Unless, by Carol Shields
This book took me a long time to read. I don’t really know why, but I guess I was just not really interested, and I found it to be a bit of a ramble. Also I found it to be very unbelievable. I can read the book, and picture the characters as they are described, but I cannot relate them to other people that I know, and picture them as real people with lives.

So, I only have to read two more books to complete my challenge! Yay! But I am already reading three more, and I still have several more books from the library, so I will probably still read those.
These include some of the following:
The Origin of Species, Nino Ricci
Exile, Ann Ireland
A Complicated Kindness, Miriam Toews
A Sunday at the pool in Kigali, Gil Courtemanche
your mouth is lovely, Nancy Richler

In other book news, David Sedaris, author of hilarious books such as Naked, Dress your family in corduroy and denim, Me talk pretty one day, and the new When you are engulfed in flames was reading at my local independant bookstore yesterday! This was a very exciting event because he does not often come to Canada. After the reading, I bought his new book and waited in line with a friend for about three hours- the line was three laps of the store- to get the new book signed. I also stole a poster and had that signed.

The highlight of the night, after hearing Sedaris read and having my paraphernalia signed of course,  occurred at around midnight. We were near the table where Sedaris was sitting- we could actually hear his voice- when a frazzled young person of university age came barreling into the store and ran to her friend several spots behind us in the line. She had the look of someone who is overtired, yet hysterical.

She said to her friend, “oh my god, I just biked here as fast as I could as soon as I got your text message!”

This was evident; she was wearing very large pyjamas, slippers, and a long pale green housecoat with pink flowers. Her hair was ‘windswept’ at best. My immediate thought was an image of this person flying down the road on a bike with her housecoat waving behind her like a cape and her large pyjamas blowing at her sides. I pictured her face as someone both determined and deranged.  I imagine the bike that Alan White rides in the tv show Freaks and Geeks.

Posted by: Kaitlin | June 3, 2009

Fourty four days

I finished my ninth book for the Canadian book challenge and it was Life of Pi, by Yann Martel. (Spoilers Ahead!) I loved this book. I purposely did not read it when it was just released because it was very popular. I don’t like to read popular books because then I hear too much about them before I have finished reading. All I knew about this book was that a boy gets stuck on a lifeboat with a bunch of animals, so obviously for the whole beginning of the book I was expecting this to happen. Fortunately Martel’s writing is so skillful that by the time Pi did get shipwrecked, I had forgotten my expectations and was still just as surprised as I would have been if I had known nothing! Which was very exciting.

In other book news, the high school is having Harry Potter day today. Each grade is a different house, with Gryffindor being the grade twelves because they organized it. I am going at lunch as Hedwig. Festivities include quidditch in the gym. It’s BYOB- Bring your own broom. It should be fun. Well, I’m off to ‘feather’ my hair.
In case you were wondering, only 44 days remain until The Half Blood Prince is released. As soon as the Canadian book challenge is over, the Harry Potter challenge will begin- read books one through six by July 17.

Posted by: Kaitlin | May 29, 2009

Who is Charlotte Greene?

Who is Charlotte Greene?
She likes the colour blue because her eyes usually appear gray, but when she wears a blue sweater, or a blue dress, her eyes suddenly become a beautifully deep blue. But she cannot imagine why this matters to her. Some people say that the first feature they notice upon meeting a new acquaintance is the colours and details of the person’s eyes. Charlotte does not know what colour eyes her closest friends have, or any acquaintances, nor can she imagine a person’s eyes being the first notable attribute.
What does Charlotte look like?
She has copper hair. Or perhaps brass. That’s what she has heard anyway, but neither of these are very accurate descriptions because Charlotte’s hair bears no resemblance to any type of metal. Her hair is red. Predictably, due to the colour of her hair, Charlotte’s skin is pale. Charlotte is generally thought of as attractive in the classical sense.
What does Charlotte like to do?
She likes to eat tasty food cooked by her similarly attractive boyfriend, or at least, she imagines she would. Instead, she eats at restaurants where a similarly attractive and single young man might be employed as the chef. Or even a prep cook would suffice. Charlotte is somewhat of a romantic and she credits this attribute to the origin of her name. Charlotte is the name of one of the Bronte sisters, and is also a character in at least one Jane Austen novel.
Charlotte also enjoys reading. She enjoys novels that are often described as large ‘tomes’. Leo Tolstoy has written at least one novel that fits into this category. The Bible also belongs with these novels, depending on how your bookshelf is arranged. Charlotte has read many parts of the Bible, although she is not sure how she feels about its doctrine.
Previously mentioned was Charlotte’s ill knowledge of the colours of her closest friends’ eyes. In fact, this is not a great feat because Charlotte has few close friends, nor does she have any siblings. Charlotte often wishes that she had siblings because she believes that growing up with someone is beneficial to social aptitude later in life. Charlotte has often heard from female friends who have sisters but no brothers that girls who do have brothers can talk to boys easier. Charlotte does not know if this is true, but it seems to apply in her situation because she has siblings of neither gender, and she experiences difficulty talking to most people.
Charlotte works as an archives research assistant, although assistant she is not. She works for the city and her ‘boss’ is the man who is in charge of all of the city’s administrative positions. Charlotte’s boss’s name is Walter Gray, and Charlotte feels that he is a particularly foul creature. Charlotte has been doing her job longer than Mr. Gray. Indeed, he has never done her job. Mr. Gray’s job involves only the most asinine and painfully easy tasks, yet he often does it wrong. He processes the payroll every two weeks, conducts interviews as necessary, and in his ample spare time, feels the need to roam the floors of the building full of his minions.

Posted by: Kaitlin | May 29, 2009

Reading Backwards

Well, I finished three more books for my Canadian book challenge in the last week, and here they are:

Baroque-a-nova, by Kevin Chong: A pretty good example of Canadian fiction, especially considering I just browsed the shelves looking for the ones with the maple leaf stickers. I thought the setting in the Canadian music industry was great. It’s almost like a sarcastic comment about the Canadian music scene, although it is so much different now compared with how it was when this book was written and set. I loved the descriptions of Ladner, because I have driven through there about 80 million times.

A video by ‘Robin Sparkles’ from How I met your Mother, also a comment on the Canadian music scene.

The Case of Lena S., by David Bergen: After I finished Baroque-a-nova, it was getting difficult to find good Canlit books by just browsing, so I decided to look up books which have won, or been nominated for, the Governor General’s award. Apparently it worked well because this book was excellent. It was a little too detailed in the descriptions of what teenagers do in their spare time. I know that I was not like that. Terrifying.

In the skin of a lion, by Michael Ondaatje: When I started this book, I thought that it was the sequel to The English Patient, but I realized that it is actually the prequel, and so I was all frustrated because I read The English Patient last semester for school, and I like to read books in order. Anyway, Ondaatje’s writing is so poetic that I always feel that I need to reread the book again later. I loved this book because it was beautiful, but it’s unfortunate that sometimes some of the details get lost somewhere in my brain. Fortunately, the reading order for these two books is not necessary.

What am I reading now, you ask? Ahh, let me tell you.
Life of Pi, Yann Martel
Unless, Carol Shields
Emily of New Moon, L.M. Montgomery (he-llo childhood)
Exile, Ann Ireland

Posted by: Kaitlin | April 30, 2009

A Forgotten Read

#5 The View from Castle Rock, Alice Munro

A beautiful book. I love Scotland, and history and family histories. A very interesting and inspiring book. It made me want to research my own family history.
I love Alice Munro’s writing because I can sense how much of her heart and her life she pours into her stories. Sometimes people say how Margaret Atwood’s writing is so amazing, and I believe that it is, I love her novels also. But I think that Atwood’s novels are good because she knows how to write, and use words. She knows what people will like. And obviously Munro writes beautifully too, but I like her writing better because it feels more real, I can sense more of herself and her life in her stories.

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