Tuesday, 29 March 2011


So I just spent the last hour redoing my final exams for a class because university students are stupid-at least, that's what I should gather form the instructions. I had to include instructions on how to fill out a scantron and also put at the bottom continued on page... even though it is stated on the front page how many pages their on AND I have put THE END at the end of the exam. Oh yes, and I' ve already told them how many questions there are on the test, But this is not good enough. And you know that they've done this because some idiot shithead has complained. Yeesh, no wonder we have a conservative government. And speaking of which, one of my usual mark grubbers is coming to complain about the ONE question he got wrong. As usual, sometimes you are just WRONG!!!!!
On top of this, some bimbo from Hamilton is vying to be Charlie Sheen's intern. Oh well, she will fit in with the rest of his harem of idiots.

Monday, 28 March 2011

Wait, what happened?

So it's April already (well almost) WTF? Inasmuch as I'm relieved that this term is almost over, I'm also feeling rather panicky that the term is almost over. All the shit that I said I would do is not done. deadlines are looming and I feel like an absolute failure. I'm really not liking teaching, I feel like trying to get an academic career is going to be a future of eternal post-docs and crappy sessional contracts. Is this how I want to spend the rest of my life? I'm almost 40 for crying out loud. There 's a potential job opportunity for me in Nunavut-yeah, its cold, has no housing and there's no sunlight for half the year-but it's a job with regular hours and a real paycheck. Very tempting.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Celebrity Snow Day

Well not exactly-we are having a rather nasty late winter icy snowfest at the moment-the city is shut down except of course for the university. I could really use a day off actually-get some work done, not have to deal with students. And they are watching a movie today-seems like a total waste to have students come in for a frickin movie. Whatever.
So William Shatner is 80 today. Normally, I don't give celebrities much thought-they don't deserve it for the most part-but hey, Shatner is a) Canadian and b) pretty cool so I will say, Happy Birthday. I love how older celebrities are finally getting their due. Betty White is 90 (or at least damn close ) and still has impeccable comedic timing. Do you think any of the schlubs for the current cast of SNL will be that admired when they are that age (as much as I do like Lonely Island)?

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Addicted to the weed

No, I'm not addicted to THAT weed...the insidious legal weed called tobacco. I hate that it has this hold over me-it's just a plant after all. I can beat a plant, can't I? I don't know what's more frustrating-trying to quit, or starting up again after quitting. I feel like a failure, so I say to myself, 'what the hell? I suck anyway' and the cycle continues.
Well, the pack I had is finished, and there is nicorette on my counter. Time to get on the wagon once more

Wednesday, 16 March 2011


Once upon a time, a former professor told me that they teach to the first two rows. I always thought that this was  the result of being jaded and bitter. I guess I can now be called jaded and bitter.
I have one of my classes where it seems that most of the students just don't give a crap, and then wonder why they do poorly. They talk in class, and then complain. They make out in class, and complain. And those are the ones who show up. I give them notes, I tell them what's on their tests-all they have to do is show up to class , pay attention and review their notes. Apparently, this is too much to ask of people. People complain that tests are too hard, 'it's not fair' blah, blah blah blah. I just have to remember that I do have good students, ones that care-in my case, the ones in the first four rows. Those are the students worth going the extra mile for. The rest can just bite me.

Monday, 14 March 2011

Putting it all in perspective

While I was grousing at the end of last week worried about the extra hour of sleep I would be missing because of Daylight Savings Time, a giant tsunami crashed into the coast of Japan, likely killing thousands of people. Perspective gained.
What is truly frightening about the situation in Japan is that they are the best prepared, most technically advanced (in terms of earthquake and tsunami preparedness) country in the world. The earthquake in Haiti last year killed 300,000 people. While the damage in Japan is devastating, it actually could have been a lot worse. In Indonesia in 2004, where a similar earthquake and tsunami devastated the area, the death toll was much higher as well. However, no matter how well prepared you are, no matter how well-built your buildings are, how many evacuation routes you plan, the forces of nature will run right over you.

Thursday, 10 March 2011

When the bar is the quietest place on campus

I'm sitting in the undergraduate student pub listening to crummy hip-hop during lunch-hour. But this is one of the better places to get work done on campus-why? Because amidst all of the 'improvements' to the university, one of the things they forgot was having spots for students to work. A recent poll of the student body here overwhelmingly requested more study space. Our libraries have been turned into electronic mecca with lots of hardware-but they are overcrowded and a better place to get a date than do studying. One of the libraries just had an overhaul, where they decided to get rid of the books in favour of 30 inch screens (I wish I was kidding). Places for students (or anybody for that matter) on campus to go to a place with adequate seating, a wireless internet connection are pretty slim. So here I am, working in the student pub, and despite the noise, I realize this is about as good as it's going to get.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Boobs and Mining

So I went to the conference I was alluding to last post. I guess it's a good sign that there were lots of 'booth bunnies'-attractive women in skimpy clothing who are hired to attract business. This has always been a part of the conference-much to the chagrin of the increasing number of women in the industry. I kind of take it with a grain of salt. No one is forcing these women to be a part of this-and the companies who do it are obviously not ones who are into corporate social responsibility. So the message is simple-booth bunnies will become a thing of the past when people stop investing in companies that promote style over substance-or boobs over rocks.
On the upside, for any young wannabe or current geologists the market is improving. Companies are hiring again, and even with my rather odd-albeit diverse- background, I had more than a few interested companies.So at least if my academic career goes down in flames, at least I won't have to sling burgers to make ends meet.

Saturday, 5 March 2011

On the hunt

Well, my attempt to take charge of my health backfired- I spent the week in pain and soothed said pain with junk food and cigarettes. I'm not very good at this.
Tomorrow I head to a major conference which is known to be a good place to get a job. It is in industry however-not really my first choice. But, like many new grads, I am worried about being able to feed myself and the government (my student loans are pretty epic), so perhaps working for the man for a few years is necessary. The only problem is that everyone I know in industry hates their job. So the question becomes- do I take any decent paying job, even if I hate it? Do I be a bit picky in who I decide to apply to? I'm not exactly in demand, and the economy still sucks, so do I have the right to be choosy? Do I accept a job (providing I'm even offered one) with a company that has a terrible human rights and environmental record to pay the bills? Or should I just try and hold out for one of those oh-so-few academic jobs that I already been rejected for on several occasions already?

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Pain and Prejudice

So, I decided to start a new workout routine yesterday-and my muscles are letting me know that I am really out of shape. However, I got my pancakes yesterday after the gym, so it was worth it.

Apparently, most Canadians acknowledge that poverty is an issue but mhave misconceptions about it. Anyone who reads the comments in any newspaper story about welfare, First nations or halfway houses knows this. My favourite comment was from a young man I meet at a conference in the US who identified as Republican. I got into a conversation with him because a) I had never met a 'real live' Republican before (Conservatives here still have nothing on them no matter how hard they try) and b) he didn't like George Bush (he wasn't a 'real' republican because he spent too much money). I mentioned having seen a 'tent city' in a park just outside the downtown core and he said 'Well, they like the lifestyle'. Huh? Really? I pointed out to him that in Toronto that a) the homeless population skyrocketed when they closed down the mental hospitals (Thank you Mike Harris) and b) people generally do not 'choose' to be homeless in January when it's minus 20 outside.
I've noticed that those living in poverty always get a bad rap. Technically, I'm barely above the poverty line myself, but that is because I was student for many years-I at least have an education that will eventually get me a job that will pay more than minimum wage (noticed I said eventually). But whenever budgets are cut, it is always the poor and vulnerable who get the shaft-it is the people with the least power who are most affected by government decisions, and yet we blame them when things go wrong. I'm pretty sure the amount of tax fraud and corporate welfare by the wealthiest people far outstrips similar fraud of welfare or even dollar going to reserves (another favourite-they-don't-pay-taxes-so-why-should-they-get-anything target). European countries I think may have a better attitude towards helping the less fortunate perhaps because of their lack of social manoeuverability.There is an understanding that it hard to climb out of poverty. In North America we have this notion that if you work hard enough, you will be successful (and there certainly lots of people who embodied that notion). However, it is getting much harder to do that-real wages haven't increased, and we are actually working harder-the rich are getting richer and they don't want to pay taxes (given how many millionaires live in California, there should be no reason it is bankrupt-except that no one can raise taxes). So yes, while I am sure there are 'lazy' poor people, as someone teaching in a university where the majority of students are middle and upper-class, I can assure you, that there are plenty of lazy people out there who aren't poor.