October 17th, 2002

Language as a Virus: An Example

Ten things I value in myself

1) My intelligence. I have an ability to zoom in on a problem and find an elegant solution in relatively short order.
2) My conscience I care about what I do; if anything, I care too much.
3) My skill with language I can write quite well, and when I can overcome my fear of speaking, I can also give excellent presentations.
4) My ability to research I can find all manner of interesting and useful facts in a short amount of time.
5) My endurance I can last a long time in a difficult situation.
6) My politeness I've got excellent manners.
7) My work ethic I might be a sloth too often, but when I'm inspired I can turn out excellent work.
8) My open-mindedness I will usually change my mind on a subject if someone can convince me of their position's merits.
9) My broad knowledge I know a lot of stuff about lots of subjects.
10) My self-consciousness For good or for ill, I know a fair bit about myself.

To Date

I had a 10:30 appointment with Dr. MacLaine, to discuss his bibliography for his research article (now sadly postponed) and my Honours. I submitted what I found--some book reviews I'd downloaded form the web, a three-page electronic bibliography, three useful books I'd found in the Robertson Library--and hopefully it's enough. I was really much too lackadaisical.

After I passed him the folder, we went on to talk for another hour about various things. John Ibbotson recently wrote an article in the The Globe and Mail about Atlantic Canada's time-bound parochialism, its dependency, and the need for Atlantic Canada to be changed like Toronto by mass immigration. We initially found ourselves on opposite sides of the debate--me supporting, Dr. MacLaine defending--but we came towards a common assumption that immigration is good, but tokenizing immigrants and condemning them to serve as examples of "Diversity" for the benefit of a grateful Anglo-Canadian population (pace Neil Bissoondath's argument on multiculturalism) is offensive and needs to be rethought. We'd also chatted more about my Honours--I can expand it to 40 or so pages, which is good since my thesis does need the breathing room, so to speak.

Then came a British history midterm, but I finished it in 30 minutes (out of 50). Just five simple definitions; I was the first one in the class to finish.

Afterwards, I went down to Dr. MacLaine, ostensibly to give him a book--Steve Szilyagi's Photographing Fairies, based on the Cottingley fairy photographs and hence relevant to his research topic. After I outed myself to him, he said that he'd considered it as a possibility, but I'd been wondering why. Eventually I asked him, and he simply said that it was one of the possibilities that came to mind; and no, that there wasn't anything apart from that speculation, which is good to know. I admit it: My perceived credibility is important to me, I have to admit, and I'm still--even after the events of the past eight months--afraid that I might lose it. We talked briefly about my situation, and I mentioned that I didn't really feel anything for my parents; he suggested that time apart from them would be good, and I agree.

Afterwards, I popped over to Anne Furlong's office--an English professor, an excellent linguist and wonderful with accents--and talked about Buffy and Angel for the best part of an hour. It was nice to talk with someone in real life about affairs Buffyesque, just like it was to chat with Naomi on the subject (hi you two! how's Wisconsin!). We'd managed to segue into a mini-talk on sexual orientation, on the subject of whether Willow was bi or gay; Dr. Furlong felt Willow was gay, based on her experience talking to gay women, at least inasmuch as sexual orientation was concerned. She made an interesting distinction between sexual orientation and sexual attraction--the one's basic, the other's extraneous and could happen to anyone. (Say, a gay guy could sleep with a woman and like it, or vice versa.) Interesting.

So. That's my day to date.