Punda Malidadi

Saturday, January 29, 2005

More about life and math

...or how to get the most change when going grocery shopping.

I happen to live right nearby the wonderful family foods grocery store on Jasper Avenue and 117th street. It is a charming little store full of senior citizens and pubescent or retired cashiers, and I appreciate its proximity. Most of the time, however, I go there to get laundry change.

A few weeks ago, they put up a sign:


Who do they think they are? Did they think they could prevent me from getting their change?

Muahaha....(evil laugh, that is)

Here goes:

1. Pick up a basket and select the desired products. Do not forget to memorize their prices.

2. When at the checkout, sort them into two piles. One is, of yourse, "for your roommate".

3. Here is where the math comes in: Sort them in a way that maximizes your quarter and loonie turnout. When calculating, do not forget about the GST. Naturally, the totals should always have a cent amount between 1 and 25( unless you have a few pennies you want to get rid of, then it can be up to 29); the dollar amount depends on which bill you are paying with. For bills other than $5, make it an even number; for $5 bills, it has to be an uneven dollar amount.
This technique provides you with exactly $1.75 in change(the standard price in Edmonton for either a wash/dry load).

4. If you need even more, pay calmly, then exclaim: Oh, no! I forgot the newspaper! The weekend edition of the Edmonton Journal costs 1.07 including tax. Pay with a $5 bill- perfect, there is another three quarters and a loonie.

And don't worry about them catching on. Last time I bought 4 yoghurts, and paid them separately(63 cents each, 1.26 total, I had two spare pennies- perfect). And guess what? I forgot the damn paper too.

Saturday morning

by the Eels.

Saturday Morning
And who's gonna play with me?
Six in the morning, baby
I got a long, long day ahead of me

The parents are sleeping soundly
The neighbors are dead as wood
I'm getting up and coming over
We gotta rock the neighborhood

Nothing's ever gonna happen 'round here
If we don't make it happen
Sleep away the day if you want to
But I got something that I gotta do

This ain't the place for me
I'm giving you warning, baby
We got a whole big, fat world to see
Nothing's ever gonna happen 'round here
If we don't make it happen
Sleep away the day if you want to
But I got something that I gotta do

It's Saturday Morning
And who's gonna play with me?
Six in the morning, baby
I got a long, long day ahead of me

Friday, January 28, 2005


Please come out to Scholar's on Saturday, the 29th, at around 10pm, to celebrate my 24th birthday. Fun will be had, and alcohol will be drunk.

You will be seen by me there.

(Oh, the passive voice is loved by me)

Thursday, January 27, 2005

This will be a long post, and none of it will be about my writing teacher


OK, so I have been thinking about past and present relationships, and in an effort to prove that everything in life can be reduced to logic and mathematical progressions, I have examined differences and similarities, and thus come up with a prediction about the guy I will be dating next(Is it cynical to think about this at this point? Meh. Also, it was just a really long and boring walk home from the LRT station)

So, this will happen in late August of 2007, after a year of singledom:

  • caucasian
  • born on Feb 2nd, 1980
  • blond
  • Canadian or German
  • parents are working class
  • 6 foot or taller
  • hazel eyes
  • last name has five letters and means something tangible
  • first name is rather conventional
  • he will be a virgin
  • good god, he will be a 27 year old virgin. I am not sure I like where this is going. I am going to revisit my rationale for that birth year...
  • Actually, 1982 and 1984 are just as likely. Phew.

2. Ego-boosting moment of the day:

My soc prof admitted that my definition of a concept was much better than the one he had.

3.Ego-bashing moment of the day:

My friend Babil called me a slave driver after seeing me tutor. Are "slave driver" and "awesome teacher" mutually exclusive?

4. Fun moment of the week:

Gordon Lee and a Freudian slip.

"Now, I am going to make your wife a lot harder."

I laughed so hard. Unfortunately, I was the only one who found it hilarious. Oh, what do I care. Somebody had to laugh for all the rest of the 75 people. Really loudly.

5. I revised my men-I-would-marry-even-though-I-don't-believe-in-marriage list

Nowadays, Jeffrey Sachs is where it's at(watch the whole video. If you only have a bit of time, watch the latter half- question period. That's where you will see his idealism and his passion.)

What is it about idealistic, passionate speakers and bagpipes that makes me want to cry? And marry them? Alright, I'll admit, the analogy breaks down at this point.

6. My first ever Gateway Opinion section meeting.

I introduced myself like this: "Hi, I am Catrin, my major is international development; I am also an SU councilor, and Dave, you got that number for the price of the health plan in today's opinion piece wrong. By about thirty percent."

I can tell, he likes me already.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005


1. Random quotes from my writing teacher:

  • "We're going to watch a few clips today. I brought a really obscure documentary about Kennedy during the Cuba crisis, one about Clinton during the Lewinski crisis, and 'Cops- too hot for TV'."

  • "My theory is that Peter Mansbridge has been dead for years. They just keep wheeling him in there."

  • "I like it how Clinton said 'inappropriate relationship'. I mean, say, if I came to class with a T-shirt saying Porn Star every day, that would be inappropriate. But try and stop me."

2. My health.

I must be allergic to something. Or, I have a brain tumor. Or, I'm a hypochondriac. I'd say the chances are 60:5:35.

And, don't ever bother to go to the health centre. They will make you wait 2 hours and 15 minutes, then listen to your symptoms, then say: "I have no idea what's wrong with you. Let's wait and see if it doesn't go away on its own."

Well, thank you very much.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Essay # 4

Creative Non-Fiction

Dr. Michael Lahey
Advisor: Sean Penn

Spring Session
MWF 9:00-9:50 AM

Forecast: Stormy

I kid you not- this was the header of my fourth essay assignment. It is: PLACE.

I think I might write about this bar I used to go to- an extremely tight-knit, incestuous community, kind of like the SU, just with more drinking.

He also went off on a rant about people calling themselves "pre-med".

"There is no such thing at this university. You- what do you want to be- a professor maybe?"

(points at random student)

"Uh. Yeah, sure, whatever. Why not."

"So, next time someone asks you what you are studying, say: pre-prof."

Then, he makes us do another inkshedding.

The instructions:

"Well, I guess they blew up the chicken man in Philly last night."

A photograph.

A historical reference.

The colour red.

While we were all busy thinking up a dumb story revolving around the first line of a Bruce Springsteen song, he keeps muttering.

"I'm pre-cynical."

(does a little dance)

"I'm pre-institutionalized."

(smiles proudly)

Then, he gives me back my essay. I got a B. A B!


(somebody stroke my ego. Quick.)

"Catrin, I referred to you again last class. Melissa brought in lyrics from a Corey HArt song to analyze, and they were political. Like you. I told Melissa to stay home more often. Not because she is 9 months pregnant, but on account of her musical tastes."

Friday, January 21, 2005

Here I am...

at 9:09, less than 10 minutes late, and who is not there (question mark)

You guessed it- My writing teacher. I am still waiting to get back my paper where I argued that Casablanca had shit all to do with love, but rather nicely illustrates the devastating effects of rejection on the male psyche and the impressively swift recovery process that follows when the individual in question(Rick) discovers that in fact, Ilsa always *did* love him more than Victor (the incredibly boring guy). I mean, he really seemed rather content after shipping her off on that plane, don(apostrophe)t you think(question mark)
Self-sacrifice, my ass. He simply got over it as soon as she admitted her love. Moral of the story(question mark)

Deny, deny, deny.

But I digress- back to my writing teacher. He finally strolls in at 9:21, then proceeds to talk about his seventh grade math teacher and volleyball coach, who slowly went crazy during that year. It was a bit like group therapy, just that (quotation mark)group(quotation mark) referred to a class that consisted of 18 individuals that had payed $400 something to be here, and that the single individual to be therapized hadn(apostrophe)t- on the contrary.
At the end of the class, I ask for my paper. In the spirit of (quotation mark) The best defense is a good offense(quotation mark), he attacks:

(quotation mark) *You* weren(apostrophe)t here on Wednesday! (quotation mark)

Then, somewhat milder:

(quotation mark) I was in a real rush to get here.(quotation mark)

Uhm. Right. On second thought, he *did* stroll rather hectically into the classroom...

(quotation mark) Also, I am really more into my ENGL 111 class these days...(quotation mark)

He shrugs.

To cut a short story long, he still doesn(apostrophe)t have my paper. I am not too worried about the grade, though, as he was really impressed by my last paper- I argued that Alice Cooper was a better feminist than John Lennon(I liked that, you really took a risk there.-Oh, you think(question mark)).

And for all of you who are wondering why I have replaced certain punctuation with lenghty words, that is because some francophile fuckhead(best alliteration ever. I was going to write jackass, to be somewhat milder and not to insult my francophone readership, but then the three following things occurred to me: 1. That I had a cheap shot at an alliteration, 2. That I do not care about insulting my francophone readership, and 3. That I do not have a francophone readership) seems to have replaced the question mark, the brackets, the apostrophe, the quotation mark, and the backslash on this very work station in Knowledge Common with É , ^ , ç , è , È , é, respectively(I am still looking for the trema, and am a bit concerned as to why it has evaded me so far).

I mean, the question mark(question mark) The apostrophe(question mark) Is nothing sacred any more(question mark)

This is Alberta, for fuck(apostrophe)s sakes!!!

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Enough Already!

Enough already with badly informed jokes about German people! I have had it! In every, single, goddamn movie or TV show that aspires to be funny, there is at least one mandatory Let's-make-fun-of-German people joke. In the spirit of fairness, and realizing that my perception might be skewed and that it might just be that I disproportionately notice jokes about German people, I asked several other people: "Can you name a country that is as frequently, or better yet, more frequently ridiculed in the media than German people?"
Guess what- the answer was a unanimous "no". I might actually feel proud that my country of origin seems to be so prevalent in Hollywood filmmakers' minds, were it not for the fact that the jokes are not funny. For a racial stereotyping joke to be funny, there has to be some truth in it. And, all I can say is this: there just isn't. Believe me. I grew up there. God knows, there are many, many, many weird things German people do, and which they should rightfully be made fun of for, but they are not the following:

1. Speaking in a tone and volume that would put a boot camp captain to shame.

This rumour stems from the fact that most people have only ever heard German people speak in War movies. And they yelled and looked angry BECAUSE IT WAS WAR!!! NOT BECAUSE THEY WERE GERMAN!!!

2. Porn.

Yes, Germany produces Porn. So does every other goddamn frickin' country on this planet. La Di Dah. And no, I have never seen or heard of a German Scheisse-Video before I moved to Canada. Germany might very well produce them, but it sure seems to me it is North Americans who consume them.

3. David Hasselhoff.

Please, pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease, let go of this one. For all that is sacred,
This one is just a plain outright lie...probably invented by David Hasselhoff himself("Germany says I'm cool!").

What triggered this tirade? Oh, it's been long coming, but in particular, a really bad movie called "Dodgeball" gave me the rest. Don't watch it.

Monday, January 17, 2005

You can say what you want....

...about my writing teacher's rather unorthodox personality, but he sure inspires me to write. Let's hope he never stumbles across this blog before, say, April 20th.

Today, he started class with a 2 minute silent whiteboard marker drum solo, face scrunched up with cool concentration, flips and all. The classroom was silent. Then, a minute or so in, somebody dared to venture and ask him about our inksheddings. He continued his drumsolo unabashedly, and replied without breaking his concentration:

"Haven't read them yet."

(particularly complicated flip of one of the markers/drumsticks)

"Know where they are though."

(proud smile on his face)

Apart from that, he once more pointed out that I was the only one who hasn't gotten her essay back yet.

"You've got all your essays now. Except for Catrin. She handed hers in late, you know, so I decided to write a short story instead of marking it. I got almost 4 pages done on the weekend. I won't tell you the idea though. It's really good, and you'll only steal it."


"Alright. I'll tell you. So, there are these two academics, and they go to this conference in Halifax, where they meet a confused old man who kind of looks like Walter Gretzky. They treat him nicely, and explain Faulkner to him. A few weeks later, they each receive a cheque for half a million dollars in the mail from Wayne Gretzky, because you see, it turns out it was Walter Gretzky after all."


Uhm, yeah.

Oh, and a little proof for how incredibly unobservant I am: One of the girls in my class is probably about 8 months pregnant. I noticed today. I have had class with her since September.

Friday, January 14, 2005

More about My Writing Teacher

First day of classes:

I am a fashionable 4 minutes late when I take a right from HUB mall into Humanities. As I glance to my left, I see my teacher casually sitting on a couch chatting with some girl. When he sees me, he casually waves to me, smiling . 5 minutes later and a total of 9 minutes late-that is a frightening 18% of total class time- he casually strolls into the classroom. He scares two lost people out of the room by swivelling around, pointing at them and exclaiming: "Who are *you*?"(It is a two-term course).
After the course, he finds me sitting in HUB Mall and tells me I am the best writer in the course, and asks me whether I would like to tutor people in writing. Which would have been very flattering, had we not had this conversation three times before in the previous term. Talk about Deja-Vu. More like Deja-do.

Second day of classes:

Alright, I didn't go.

Third day of classes:

He makes us do inkshedding because he is unprepared. I know that because he told me he thinks inkshedding is dumb("No one should ever write without thinking about grammar.". Needless to say, I completely agree.)
He makes us title the inksheddings "Inkshedding # 47.3- PLACE". His rationale for that?
"In case I lose them, people will think: Wow, that Michael Lahey guy is really organized."
I will leave it up to you to find the flaw in that argument.
Then, he hands me a picture of what looks like naked feet in dress shoes. I start my inkshedding with "He was dressed like a Buddhist monk, but the dress shoes gave him away".
While we do our thing, he grades our essays which he has had since December 8th. Alright, except for mine, which was a fashionable 4 days late. Not including the extension he gave me. At the end of the class, he hands back all of them except 4, one of them being mine, and proclaims:" One of them was late. It is at the bottom of my pile. The very bottom. As a punishment. Where it gets jelly donut stains on it. And tea. And blood. Puss. Heroin."

Alright, Buddy. At least now I now that I am ill-advised to try to take any of my papers through customs.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Funny Little Story

So, I am walking up the stairs at the University LRT station when I see a homeless guy ask people for change. Quickly taking my path, his body language, and past experience into account, I calculate in a flash that I will be the unlucky person who gets to say "No, sorry." next. Such is is my standard approach, along with making a point to look him/her in the eye, thereby treating him/her like a person.
Now, I realize most of them would rather have some change than my bleeding heart "I am looking you in the eye, therefore I acknowledge your humanity, and now I will go home and maybe pick up a Caramel Latte on the way"- approach, but honestly, I actually never do have change on me(I pay for a muffin with interac).
Anyways, having so nicely prejudged the homeless guy to the point that I was entirely certain to be able to predict what the sentence he would say to me would be("Can you spare some change?"), I am taken by surprise by the ensuing dialogue.

-"I like your hair, lady."

-"No, sorry, I don't have any change on me."

Wait a second....Huh?

-"Would you take me home with you?"

O....kay. Am I hallucinating? Misinterpreting?

-"A little shower, and maybe a little massage?"

Nope. I am not.

-"Oh, come on."

[That is the point where I get my (half)wits back]

-"Sorry, today is not a good day. I am going to have to take a rain check on that one."

In conclusion: Best homeless person *ever*. Too bad he didn't take interac.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Reasons why....

I find it good that the world is engaged in a huge dick measuring contest.

1. The victims don't give a f**k, quite frankly, where the money comes from, much less what motivation was behind it.

2. There is no altruistic act. Donating money is always a feel good act; it just happens on a bigger scale now.

3. Just the simple fact that an amount of donation is considered to be something worthwile of being better at than other countries is a step in the right direction. Think Olympics, Hockey, and their connection to National pride. I'll take this dick measuring contest instead any day.

That being said, I will probably go donate for a different cause, so that those won't be forgotten.

Friday, January 07, 2005

You go, Germany

Now, I am not a big fan of nationalism, which might have to do with the fact that I come from a country where nationalism has been very actively discouraged for about 60 years now, but this needs to be said: Germany pledged 500 Million Euros for the Tsunami victims, and thus is the single biggest donator, beating both other large leading economies (the United States and Japan) by far.

500 million Euros, that is roughly CAD $ 803 million(today's exchange rate): ten times the amount Canada pledged, and about $10 per German citizen, not including the 200 million Euros($CAD 320 million) in private and business donations. Canada gave $ 2.50 per citizen.

German people pledged 40 million Euros during one single fundraiser TV show. German Formula1 race car driver and World champion Michael Schumacher donated 7.5 million Euros of his own money. My mom donated 100 Euros.

Now, let me tell you that I would never have expected to ever feel so proud of my country.

You go, cocitizens! I am going to donate first thing tomorrow.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

My slow descent into alcoholism

Dec 31: the Cuban Revolution party took place(where "Cuban" was Code for "Mike's" and "Revolution" was code for "penis". Do feel free to make up your own jokes about what comstituted the "Zapatista uprising"...).
Mostly, I had fun playing "Things" and "Balderdash" and arguing about grammar. I also drank what qualifies as a very unwise mixture of alcoholic beverages(fruit punch with vodka, jello shooters, gin, champagne) and was mildly disconcerted by the fact that I was not hungover the next day.

January 3rd: with my Mennonite Christian PC voting roomate's return from Manitoba only 1 day away, I was rather anxious to erase all the gay porn that Mike and Steve downloaded at the party from her computer. I didn't exactly know how to do it, so I asked someone to come over that night to help me with that. I went out real quickly to rent a movie, realized I didn't bring a key, but figured that wasn't that big of a deal - someone would let me in the building for sure, and since I didn't have the keys, the apartment door surely had to be unlocked. Right?
Wrong. It was locked, so I figured I'd taken the keys but thrown them in the garbage bin outside together with the party garbage. Naturally, I buzzed my neighbours- I think they're roommates and their names are Cole and Cole, but maybe they were just fucking with me. No, wait, I think they're doing that with each other(Hmmm...which one is written again, libel or slander..?)

But alas, I am straying from my topic. So Cole&Cole gave me a huge maglight, and I went through the garbage for 20 minutes in the dark at -20 degrees, without any success. since I still had no way of getting into my apartment, I called the emergency caretaker of the building, and waited another 30minutes at Cole's&Cole's. When the caretaker arrived, and unlocked the door for me, I walked right into my roommate Courtney. Who had come home a day early. And locked the door behind her, which had been open upon her arrival an hour earlier and barely 10 minutes after I had left the building.

She was next door the whole time, while I had to make small talk with the Coles.

I proceeded to write a $25 cheque for the emergency caretaker's services(which bounced the next day, which led to an unpleasant phone call). Then, I thought about the Windows background consisting of a male face, two hands and two errect penises. Oops. Well, to cut a long story short, I fed her leftover Gin and margarita mix from the party, and we resolved the situation.

Uhm...anyone want to move in with me for March 1?

Jan 4: I got a $1700 settlement check from Air Canada for losing my suitcase back in September. It was a goooooooooooood day.

Jan 5: A girl fainted at the Safeway while shopping. Nobody did a fucking thing. The Safeway flower stand lady actually started wiping up the water the girl spilt when crashing into the fresh cut flower containers before helping her. So I had to abandon my grocery cart and scream at 4 bloody Safeway employees before we could get a bloody glass of water. I couldn't believe it. I am hypoglycemic myself, and faint once in a while.

So, if anyone ever faints:

If they're not horizontal yet, make them lie down.
Get them to put their feet up.
Make them drink water.
Cover them up with a blanket or whatever is handy.
Talk to them reassuringly to see if they are coherent and try to find out if they know the reason for it(sick?pregnant? hypoglycemic? diabetic?).

It's not very hard.

Anyways, eventually the ambulance came and I left. But I am telling you, don't pick the Safeway as a place to faint.

Jan5: I flashed my caretaker. No, I am not kidding. Guess who thought it was a great idea to shower with the door open and the music on really loud after asking the caretaker to come in and check the heating?
Yes, I know it sounds like the beginning of cheap porn. Astonishingly many things in my life do.
It was very humourous nonetheless, and, as Samantha Power so sharply put it:

"At least you're gong to get a really good response time next time something is broken."

Well, let's just say, if not, I will be mildly insulted.

In the evening, I went to Heather Wallace's birthday party, which was lots of fun, where I noticed that I had lost my ability to taste ethannol. Also, the next day, no hangover was to be observed. Cirrhosis, here I come.

Jan6: I got my grade for my women's studies class back, the final of which I wrote while still drunk from a night at the Druid, where Roman Kotovych(whose 25th birthday was to be celebrated), Lisa McLaughlin and Steve Smith can vouch for this. And it is an A-.

What's a girl got to do around here to get a bad grade? I mean, seriously?

Song of the week: The New Pornographers'
"The Slow Descent Into Alcoholism"

I say my, my slow descent into alcoholism went to my head
Where I really need it
With the views that remain untreated
I say my, my, my, my slow descent into alcoholism went something like this.
Salvation holdout central.
I say my ever-loosening grip on the commonest courtesies slipped
From my hands when I really need her,
When I need change for the parking meters.

I said my, my, my, my slow descent into alcoholism went something like this.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

My niece Emma's first attempts at looking at people condescendingly. I am very proud of her. Posted by Hello

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Mike's Penis?

Your mom!