radfrac_archive_full: (dichotomy)
I'm on the movie medical plan.

People think if you live in Canada you have free medical care, which is sort of true. I mean -- it's true in some pretty spectacular ways, like I've been in hospital for surgery twice and paid not one obsolete penny for anything except the TV. It's also a system that every year is quietly whittled away at, so that -- for example -- in BC, covered eye exams have gone from yearly, to every two years, to only for those under 18 and over 65. (I just discovered that in checking the site.)

I have benefited a great deal from this system over my lifetime, and taken it for granted in many many ways. Yet this system (at least as it operates in BC, since medical coverage is provincial, not federal) is not designed for people like me in two significant ways.

1. It is not designed for people whose income fluctuates from year to year, since your payment is based on your previous year's tax return.

2. It is not designed for transgendered people, as hormones for transition/maintenance are not eligible for coverage.

Technically MSP (the Medical Services Plan) doesn't cover any medications; that's covered by "Fair Pharmacare." And because you know what ideology is, you know that the only time anything has to be named "Fair" is when it is not fair.

I had coverage under my old job, but that ended when I left; I had coverage at school, but that ended when I graduated, Without coverage, my T costs about $225 a month. (Note: this is unusually expensive because I'm using topical T right now for a variety of reasons. Injectable T is about 1/3 the price, or was last time I used it.)

I'm not saying that this is a fair or an unfair price, or that it's a lot of money or a little money. It is just money I don't have or expect to have any time soon. It is just a price I cannot afford for a thing I need.

Fortunately, I thought to check whether I could opt in to the medical plan at UVic if I were taking only one course -- and I can. The course plus fees and bus pass (another advantage) is about $700, and the medical plus dental and some eye care (my glasses are a ruin) is about $300. That's still cheaper than paying for the T -- plus I get a bus pass and a film course.

A film course is what I'm taking -- Intro to Film Analysis. It seemed in keeping with the theme of the summer: volunteering at the indie theatre, going to the free movies in the park, using my free passes to buy friends. Furthermore, a friend of mine is doing her MA in film studies, so I'm also just sort of copying her. (I copy her often. She has good ideas. The Hermitage -- the Beautiful Shed? She used to rent it before she got married.)

So I'm on the movie medical plan. I get partial medical coverage (I still have to pay a portion of the T price), and I get to watch a free movie every week. I don't precisely have the money for the course at the moment -- I'll have to pay late and incur a small interest charge. (I checked to see if there was an installment play for undergrads like there is for graduate students, but I couldn't find one.)

But even with all of this extra expense -- including advancing myself the money for the medical coverage on my credit card just to get it paid as soon as possible (because I'm almost out of T) -- still cheaper.

It's that classic bind, right? Are you or aren't you worthy of assistance? Are you Working Poor or Unworthy Poor? (Currently Working, though once and for a long while Unworthy.) Are your medical needs too weird to count as real medical needs? (Yes.) Are there enough of you to make a fuss? (Not yet.)

If you have some money, or can scrape it together somehow -- like me -- you can have the top-up to get the things you need. If you don't have money, you can't have what you need -- or you have to pay extra, in the guise of fines and fees.

I believe they call that adding insult to injury.



(Re: Point #1 - of course one could argue that I should have anticipated the rise in the cost of my monthly fees, or at least put some money aside for such eventualities, and that is true. So maybe I mean that the system is not designed for people with a damaged sense of futurity.)

(Re: Point #2 - this is of course only the relevant way, in terms of this post, that the system is not designed for trans people, many of whom never transition. Whoo boy are there some other ways.)
radfrac_archive_full: (dichotomy)
I hear about books on podcasts, or I think about them in passing, or suddenly stop dead on the sidewalk remembering how compelled I felt by the very idea of them: then I put these books on hold at the library. The books arrive, and either I have forgotten why I wanted to read them, or I've lost the urge, or -- if it really is something I definitely want to read or to have read -- I'm too intimidated to begin*. They sit on my counter for three weeks; I renew them; three weeks later I renew them again; then I return them, usually a day or two late, having read a couple of pages on the way to the library and thought some variant of "Hey, this is kind of interesting." Sometimes I put them on hold again.

I've been through this cycle with Infinite Jest once before. This time, when the book came in (I forget what inspired the hold), I thought I'd actually have a go at it, since it is certainly a Want to Have Read. So I am now approximately 7% of the way through IJ, though if I want to read it all before the hold runs out, I'll have to consume a cramming-level number of pages per day (ppd).

It helps that I'm already three books deep in the stack of butterflied current reading, meaning that starting IJ is a kind of special procrastination, though not of anything imposed on me from outside, except maybe that I'm joining the classics reading group in August and am supposed to have finished The Guermantes Way by then and instead of beginning with GW since I have audiobooked both Swann's Way and In a Budding Grove, I am re-reading (or anyway re-consuming) IaBG on paper, and I'm only 33% through Part I.

I may yet close the circuit. I hope so. Some of the books are short and it would really take only an afternoon's push to finish each one.

Reading for school choked my external reading urge -- I felt too much anxiety to read anything for pleasure when I could/should be running over once again the thought-loops in my head that I was trying to translate into a readable master's paper -- and too anxious to do that either. Now I can read what I like, and I miss having an external force determining my path through language. I mean, an additional external force. Or maybe I mean externalized.

Anyway. Infinite Jest: so far pretty good. There's a story I want to tell about it and podcasts, later.


*I've only heard one writer talk about this kind of reading anxiety, on the BBC, and I've forgotten her name, though she's the only person who ever expressed this kind of secret shame-thing of mine, that sometimes I am too anxious even to read the thing I want to read, although I have been supposed, on various occasions by various people, to be Clever.

Although, or you know, perhaps because: but that seems facile. It seems like there has to be More to It than that, though the More is maybe just chronic anxiety about everything ever, or else deep-seated issues that can't be resolved except with more therapy than I can currently afford. If therapy is even still a thing people do.
radfrac_archive_full: (writing)
So I defended my master's paper. That happened. And now I've signed up for a spring course because I missed being out of classes so much. It's just an undergrad course -- second year, which is almost embarrassing.

I have to stop myself from speaking up too much because, you know, probably in this case it's not my job to compete with people half my age to Impress the Teacher. Especially since he knows me.

Anyway, here's a 100-word story. I used to do things like that.

I am waiting for a blizzard so that I can kiss you. No blizzards are predicted for this year. In fact, it has been unseasonably warm since Christmas, probably due to changes in global climate patterns. We're unlikely even to get a good hard frost. I may have to wait a year or two or more until I can kiss you, since the climate here is so temperate, but I know I'm in the right place. You told me that you would kiss me when hell froze over. This is certainly hell. Therefore, all I need to do is wait.
radfrac_archive_full: (green grid)
Hullo all.

It's a grey last day of work for me, but I feel a lightness, the way air will sometimes seem to lift just before rain. I like the way that sometimes before you feel the rain you see the marks appear on the road, and for a moment you're waiting, expecting the soft clatter and cool contacts on your face and arms.

I walked a slightly different way to work this morning. There's a new little deli on the way, and I looked in at the door, though I didn't buy anything. (If they had had muffins, I probably would have succumbed.)

There was also some kind of burning tar smell for a couple of blocks, which was not as delightful.

Just over two weeks until school starts. No idea how that came around so fast.

radfrac_archive_full: (Default)
Help me out, here, kids. The feds want to repurpose the SSHRC grants to make them business-oriented.

The SSHRC is the only grant of any size I've found that's available to me as a grad student in English. It already covers all of the social sciences and all of the humanities (the NSERC covers natural sciences and engineering.) Economics is in there as a perfectly respectable segment of the population. It's just not King of All the Money.

Please go here and sign this: SSHRC petition.

If you don't like me, do it for the sociologists. If you don't like them, do it for the historians.

Perhaps you support the study of languages. Theology? Psychology?

Teachers? Maybe you like teachers? Anthropologists? Philosophers? No, me neither. But political scientists. I know you like them. I've seen you at parties.

Really, though, do it for me.

This feels like when we all worked for That Place and they could not understand that not every employee has to be in sales.


* I know this isn' exactly the most pressing issue of our time, but it is DEEPLY ANNOYING TO THE SPIRIT.
radfrac_archive_full: (Default)
Took the day off work because it's my day off. Despite being my day off, I haven't had it off for two weeks. I've also been in on bits of my Sundays, all to deal with the Project of Doom (bad) and the new hires (good) -- my Coding Team, as I like to think of them. Team Code. The Codery.

At ten o'clock, just as I'm thinking, right, better get to work on... something... having finished hanging the laundry (dryer definitely broken, am down two gold coins to prove it) -- phone rings

[livejournal.com profile] inlandsea answers. Says it's for me.

I told them at work that they could call me today *in an emergency* so my voice was rather wary. "Frac here," I barked.

The low and lovely tones of the graduate adviser, 'twas.

To say.
We            would like

(if we may)

to take you
    on a strange    journey               (HOW STRANGE WAS IT?)

to graduate school AND
(to GRADuate school!)                            (TELL US ABOUT IT JANET)
    to offer you
       a t.a. ship
(Then a bunch of logistical stuff I can't remember because I was SHOUTING HUZZAH IN MY HEAD)
And If possible, we would like to hear back as soon as--
                                                     "I'LL TAKE IT." I said.

radfrac_archive_full: (And you wonder...)
It's like this.

Here was my plan for the day:
Go to class
Study all afternoon
Proceed to that-which-might-be-a-date* from campus

Here is what has complicated this plan.

Remember Drunk Skinhead Guy (DSG)? The one who did the presentation on early skinheads and slammed two cans of Guinness in the process?

The Byzantine assignment structure of our course had us turn in a draft of our final paper early and submit it to a peer for review. This was done in-class via mass scrum popularity contest.

I stuck up my head to see if I could catch the eye of either of the people I knew from the Gothic course, both dead clever -- when Glam Guy called me by name, "Frac!" -- but then, seeing my eyes on another, said, "Ah, damn," and immediately hooked up with DSG instead.

I was startled to be known and even desired academically, and so lost my original chance of a nice clean paper hookup. I also didn't catch the eye of the Gothic woman. So boldly (well, boldly for me) I got up, crossed over to the group, and negotiated.

And when I say negotiated, I mean "Stood about for a bit, then thrust my paper at Glam Guy and mumbled urgently."

Result was that Glam Guy got my paper, DSG got Glam Guy's paper, and I (Punk, if you recall) got Drunk Skinhead's paper.

There's an interesting musico-historical intertextuality to all that.

Anyway, all pleasingly arranged. Or So It Would Seem.

DSG looked shifty and said he'd have to email me his paper. I said sure, giving myself points for flexibility. I reasoned he'd probably get it to me late -- Saturday, maybe -- but that I had the time, what with being a Person of Such Massive Cleverness that He Was Very Nearly Chosen by Glam Guy.

Nothing Friday. Nothing Saturday. Nothing Sunday. By Nothing Monday, my cool was badly dented, but I figured he'd bring it to me in class.

Then DSG didn't turn up for class.

I wasn't going to say anything in class -- maybe go ask the prof afterwards what to do -- but the prof kept asking if we had any more questions about the reviews, and finally I admitted, in some embarrassment, that I hadn't received mine yet. Naming no names.

He boggled a bit, overtly at the other student, possibly at my stupidity. Two other people volunteered to let me do reviews for them instead. So that was all right.

Then, Tuesday morning, DSG emails me his paper.

I ended up reviewing that, because everyone is supposed to have one done or they can't finish the course, and I'm just that beautiful a soul.

First I let him sweat for a while by not answering his email or indicating that I'd received the paper.

I guess it worked. Today in class he brought me a plastic bag, containing:

1. A miniature keg of Heineken (8L)
2. Four cans of Guinness

To show there were no hard feelings, I cracked two of them and we toasted.

That left me, post-class, with two unopened cans of Guinness, one mostly full open can, and a keg. I have no car.

I put the keg and the unopened cans into the plastic bag. The opened can I carried in my hand, the foaming gap concealed. I slung my backpack over the opposite shoulder. I carried this lot to the bookstore, where I wrapped the keg and unopened cans in my coat and stuffed the whole bundle into a storage cubby. The keg just fit in upright. I shoved it to the back.

Then I had to find somewhere on campus you could pour out a can of Guinness without evoking outrage. The idea of drinking before noon has a pleasing decadence, and on any other day I might have gone ahead, but QED, today I was planning a day of sober studying followed by my maybedate, and the last thing I want is a beer. I haven't even had coffee yet.

The question now, sitting in the university library, is: do I ask the date if he minds driving my keg home first? It might break the ice.


*Or not a date. This will pivot on whether he also turns up in a sweatervest.
radfrac_archive_full: (hunnybear)
Two different guys came into the bathroom while I was doing my makeup.

Liquid eyeliner is a sonofabitch. )



(1) Yes, I wanted to look bad, but even the punks knew good bad from bad bad.

(2) I suppose what odds me is that I did what I thought was a truly dreadful, lifeless presentation for my theory course last spring and got an A- from a fairly rigorous professor. So I rather thought this ought to be an improvement.

(3) No particular location for this footnote: university classes are a brutal crowd.
radfrac_archive_full: (And you wonder...)
But first: On the dangers of drinking and learning. )

* * * *

Academic update: This whole making an effort thing--it seems to work. Who knew? I was sure that brooding self-pity was the way to go. I may have to rethink my entire personality.

Cautious optimism begins to seep in around the edges.

Both emails answered, both positively. One a kind offer of grad support letter, the other a remarkably tolerant offer to discuss SSHRC proposal.

Essay also went well, he said casually, as though he hadn't been rending his clothes about it two days before.

Note to self: am infant. Treat as such.

radfrac_archive_full: (Harold Ross of the New Yorker)
Ten minutes into the count and the election already looks like I need a drink. I keep alternating between hitting refresh on the Elections Canada page and on my D&D Tiny Adventure (tm).

Yesterday: one more in this series of near-daily crises of confidence about school. This after finally having a good day of studying.

Today: emailed the relevant professors one more round. I may be a failure, but I will be a failure who did his legwork.

Now I'm looking for points just for coping.

I keep choking. Not, you know, come here and hit me on the back choking.(1) Choking in the moment of decisive action. This life. It's like learning to drive standard. Forever. Stall. Stall. Stall. Grind the gears. Stall.


(1)Although I appear to have been having an asthma attack since about two this afternoon. Is there an inversion or something? It has been Misty.(2)

(2)My tactic for coping with the attacks is to create resistance by forcing my breath through a narrow gap between my lips. Is that actually useful? I believe I got the idea from Lost.
radfrac_archive_full: (bat signifier)
Let's see, uh...

That, you know, is the beginning to the Laurie Anderson piece about the Garden of Eden and nameless Eve falling in love with the snake.

I feel like there are stories to tell, so many that I can't start.

So instead I will talk about school. )

I've made some sort of progress on my ungainly first paper. I started trying to do excessive research again (convincing myself that the history of the sociology of deviance will fit into a 2000 word paper), which is why on the whole it's good that I was kicked out of the library.

radfrac_archive_full: (Ben Butley)
Further launch trivia: there will be a book launch in Vancouver as well. I'm definitely coming over if I can manage it, because my family will be there --

Pause for anecdote. --

Remember that I said my mother was giving a sermon with me as a story in it? She did; it was v. good. I said to her -- that's the danger in our family. Other people, they write about their families, their families just get mad. I write about my family -- they write about me.

No control of the discourse.

-- End anecdote. Anyway, depending on the day, maybe I can make a weekend of it and see Vancouver folks. Yes? Maybe?

Speaking of those elusive creatures, tonight, of course, is dinner with [livejournal.com profile] foxymuffins and [livejournal.com profile] onlynarisse at 5th Street. Tomorrow, B's sister is auditioning for local theatre, and I am going along for moral support. I would audition myself if I had any time whatever. It looks to be a very silly murder mystery. Where would local theatre be without murder mysteries? And I think somehow I have to get in to work for as much as I can manage.

My point, I think, is: busy weekend.

I happen to be posting at all, and from the coffee shop in particular, because I had a feeling I ought to check my waitlist status. I was right -- there's only a 24-hour window to register, and there was my Offer, with only 3 more hours until it expired. Mind, I expect there were other spaces, but I felt vindicated.

They gave me a free dry-erase calendar at UVic, so I have written on it all of the various seminars I am supposed to go to on how to apply for SSHRC, and one on PhDs, just because (green ink). Also assignment deadlines, etc. (black). And of course the MA deadlines (red).

I always feel like I am missing some very obvious point in all of these processes. Experience has not contradicted this impression.

Took myself to the Superior for lunch in order to get myself to read Molloy. I find this method works quite well provided the lunch is very good, which it was. (Spinach, goat cheese, proscuttio & crunchy onion salad; yam-coconut-chipotle soup, abuse of VISA as am cash-poor, well, cash-absent, just now. Stupidly paid my bills on a rent paycheque.)

Now: more reading, with only Knowledge as my reward.

Here is the reading list:

Absolute Beginners
Saturday Night and Sunday Morning
The Rachel Papers
A Clockwork Orange
The Buddha of Suburbia
Brixton Rock

radfrac_archive_full: (green grid)
Theory exam Monday.

I wish for the sake of my ambitions that this class had been slightly less of a thrilling challenge and slightly more of a walk in the park (up the merry path to grad school).

Dentist Tuesday.

I'm not in much pain from my neck, but the weakness is strange. I don't really feel different, but even a half-ramble becomes, by the end, a kind of Heave to, left leg lads! up that last hill home.

The odd thing is, the yoga made me feel better. Yet the neurologist was alarmed at the idea of my doing anything assertive with my neck.

Such as, for example, lying in a dentist's chair for 2.5 hours with my head canted back like a pez dispenser.

The story of some teeth )

Weary Wednesday.
Today Thursday.

And like that.

radfrac_archive_full: (Default)
The essay is Not Done. It is only even sort of making sense. Night is falling in my brain and in the city, and I have at least a full redraft and much waxing and polishing to do.

Most of the Gethenian psychoanalysis will probably have to come out as irrelevant, which is too bad, because it makes me so happy. You should see the things I did with the phallus. Really.

radfrac_archive_full: (bat signifier)
If you have to kill time before an anxiety-producing medical procedure, I have to say that writing an essay applying Lacanian psychoanalysis to Gethenian sexuality is not a bad way to go.



Mar. 16th, 2008 11:47 am
radfrac_archive_full: (Ben Butley)
Having seen it twice now, once in period costume in Vancouver and once set in contemporary Hollywood here at the Phoenix, I may be forced to conclude that I find "The School for Scandal"... kind of boring.

I know how that sounds, but there it is.

radfrac_archive_full: (hunnybear)
I will be reading at this:

This Side of West Launch
March 27, 7:30 pm
Open Space Gallery (510 Fort St)
Admittance: $5

Since my piece ("Prank") is about 300 words long, my part will be brief.

I would be happy to pay the $5 admittance fee of anyone who would volunteer to pick me up at UVic around 7:15 and whisk me downtown to the reading. Technically I am in class until 7:30, but we shorted our breaks, so that theoretically (ho!) we end at 7:10 - 7:15. I've asked to read late in the program to accommodate a late arrival.

I'd even buy you a non-alcoholic beverage once there. Actually, hell, an alcoholic one. I can walk home.

radfrac_archive_full: (Harold Ross of the New Yorker)
The talk is DONE.

Would that I could say it were done well. It was all right. I think that's the best that can be said for it. I don't think I connected with them. I felt like they were expecting what I had to say and it wasn't interesting.

The prof is right; you can see everything from up front. It's vile. A semicircle of bowed heads and bored expressions. I just couldn't get them. The one really engaged guy left early to see Madama Butterfly, or I think I might have been able to scrape some reciprocal energy out of him at least. And the sole person I know from outside wasn't there.

When you're projecting and emoting and no one's responding it's like they walked in on you talking to your mirror. You feel stupid instead of exciting.

I will have to give up this idea of being better than other people at things.


Not that I'm competitive.

I know it was part of the problem. Wanting to be the Best One. And I wasn't, and I was only the second speaker. He was much more engaging than I (was).

Howwwever. It is good practise. The debate about the article at the end was the best part. I think I at least held some good ground there. I really didn't let go even though the prof and I were in a pretty intense ideological struggle over gender position.

That bit was quite fun really. I will perhaps post about it.

radfrac_archive_full: (Harold Ross of the New Yorker)
You don't have a laptop I could borrow for a few days, do you?

I need to have it long enough to get comfortable running a PowerPoint presentation on it.

Or I need to get talked out of the PowerPoint aspect. Whichever.

Right now I am not at all keen to be trying a new format for the first time whilst being graded, but I see the use of it as a graphic aid. I'm giving a presentation on Parveen Adams' essay about gender division versus gender differentiation models. You can see how pictures would help.

Since the talk is on Valentine's Day I'm thinking of giving out valentines with key psychoanalytic positions on them. Or I suppose we could just circulate the phallus.

Speaking of: There will be no Weird Hearts party this season. The aforementioned presentation trumps it, I'm afraid. It is Ace of my Heart just now. Dagger in. Etc.

But if you ask nicely I'll mail you a phallus.

radfrac_archive_full: (bat signifier)
I've actually managed to finish the readings before Day Of this week. I would feel excellent about this if I had also understood them.

Actually, I didn't have much trouble with "Structure, Sign and Play", but "The Law of Genre" refuses to yield.

I explained it like this to Gay Men Read Books Exclamation Mark prof:

Here's me and Derrida (or, as S. calls him, Didi -- I don't know who Gogo would be. In this case maybe me.)

Didi: The genre has a marker which marks it as part of the genre.
Me: Yes, I see.
Didi: The genre is always too large and too small for the texts that belong to it.
Me: Right with you.
Didi: Thus the marker unmarks the text.
Me: Whurf?

I notice my reaction to a text is combative. I run at it, head down, as it were, and my first reaction is: You're wrong and you make no sense.

Then: You're a genius!

Then: Your basic postulates are sound but your examples are flawed.

Consistently. It must be In Me rather than in the text.



radfrac_archive_full: (Default)

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